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Posts from the ‘Digital Marketing’ Category

Hashtag Hail Mary: Social Media Blitzes The Super Bowl

January 23, 2012

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On February 5, hundreds of thousands of fans will pack Indianapolis and more than 100 million eyeballs will be glued to Super Bowl XLVI  on television. The Super Bowl isn’t just big business for professional sports; it’s a make-or-break day for advertisers, restaurants, bars, and broadcasters. This year, the Super Bowl will also be big business for social media and mobile app developers.

Chevrolet/General Motors is taking advantage of the Super Bowl to launch an ambitious smartphone and social media crossover app. The Chevy Game Time app, which launched yesterday, allows users to win new cars and other prizes by answering trivia questions in a process that is fully integrated with Facebook and Twitter. During yesterday’s playoff games, a 30-second Chevy spot featuring Tim Allen promoted the newly launched app. Apart from new cars–a total of 20 cars will be given away–more than 6,000 other prizes will be offered, ranging from free pizzas to $50 NFL gift certificates to Droid Razr phones.

 

 

For Chevy, the big challenge is guaranteeing that users will be glued to their iPhones during commercial breaks and gaps in play. Viewers, after all, are (one would think) more interested in watching the game, talking to their friends and family, and checking out commercials than fiddling with their phones. But then, the two-screen era is upon us. Chevy’s hope is that the application will help build relationships with their users and help enhance demographic information. This is believed to be the first time any advertiser has tried a smartphone/social media hybrid project for a sporting event.

Chevy is also sponsoring an official collaborative project between the NFL and Twitter calledRoad to the #Superbowl. “Road,” which is currently in soft launch, lets users browse tweets from players on playoff teams and allows users to browse through tweets with a #superbowl hashtag. The exponential growth of Twitter means that sports events are huge traffic generators news for the microblogging site; according to Twitter, more than 1.5 million users mentioned Bronco quarterback Tim Tebow’s famous pass during this year’s playoff game against the Steelers.

Meanwhile, the NFL has been quietly using a fantasy football, social media hybrid to interact with fans. The NFL’s Fantasy Playoff Challenge, launched several weeks ago, invited users to play in a fantasy football league for prizes including a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The interactive game integrated many elements of social media to attract users.

The NFL Players’ Association, which represents individual pro football players in the media, has a separate social media presence from the NFL. Conduit, an Israeli firm with several prominent sports clients including soccer teams Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Chelsea, launched a series of player-branded apps and toolbars. The apps were announced shortly before the new year by developer Target Entertainment; each app will be dedicated to an individual player. Veterans Takeo Spikes and LeSean McCoy were first up to have custom apps developed for them. The most interesting aspect of the smartphone apps is that they rely heavily on social picture-sharing functionality; a “LiveAlbum” feature allows users to share pictures of themselves watching games or other sports events.

The Super Bowl host city, Indianapolis, is relying on social media and apps to retain football-hungry tourists even after February 5. The Super Bowl Host Committee will be releasing an iPhone and Android-ready travel guide app in the coming days, while Mashable reports that the Host Committee opened a 2800-square-foot “social media command center” staffed by a team who will assist users on Twitter and Facebook. Beyond standard analytics and PR work, the Host Committee will be using social media to help users find parking spots and tourist info in real time.

BY NEAL UNGERLEIDER, via Fast Company

Why monkeys aren’t to blame for all things viral

January 1, 2012

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Having a campaign go viral is widely believed to be the Holy Grail of digital marketing. And while movies have shown that primates have the capacity to spread a virus with incredible speed, we’ve yet to meet a monkey who can single handedly make your video of a kitten-cuddling hippo an overnight success in the fabric softener industry.

So how does a digital campaign gain support and spread? Let’s treat that goal like a virus and work backwards to its origin as we look for clues.

Pandemic?

First, or in this case last, we need to understand that not all people are equally susceptible to the same virus. Do all campaigns spread to millions? No. It’s likely that even a successful campaign won’t go viral. You can’t buy the Holy Grail at Costco or find the formula in a secret manuscript. But whether your goal is to reach 100 people or 10 million, a successful campaign needs a catalyst in order to spread. And unlike diseases, viral campaigns usually start with an element of excitement that stems from brand originality.

Outbreak

The virus goes airborne. The campaign is launched to reach the client’s core audience. These loyal brand ambassadors are exposed first in the hopes they’ll spread the virus within their immediate circles of influence. Their excitement is infectious and spreads through their respective communities online. Soon, those not even familiar with the client are intrigued/infected. New consumers/patients are emerging.

Consumers, new and old, are engaging with the client online. We (the agency) are rolling out new parts of the plan. The idea is evolving based on customer feedback. Everyone involved in the campaign is excited.

Quarantine 

This is the time when the idea, concocted and isolated in a lab to this point, earns its first victims. This is where the idea is pitched to the client. The pitch conveys the enthusiasm and volume of work that has been invested to this point. Like an antibody, the client may initially try to fight off parts of the idea. The plan may be more radical than their usual marketing or it may involve a new communication channel. This is where agency excitement leads to brand buy-in. Without the trust and support of a client, our plan may simply remain an idea.

Our job as the idea host is to infect the client with excitement. At this point, to stay alive, the idea goes through an adaptation process as the client’s feedback is incorporated. Now the idea is stronger. We’re excited. They’re excited.

Patient Zero

As an agency, we’re always excited about our ideas. It’s why we do what we do. When writing a client plan, we tackle the communications challenges from every angle – constantly critiquing and modifying each other’s ideas until we’re satisfied with the solution. We agonize over the wording, strategize how to deploy the message across different media, and project the anticipated audience responses. With each level of refinement, our excitement builds until the final proposal is ready.

Enter Patient Zero. Us. Bridge Nine Interactive. We’re now so excited in this idea that we can’t wait to show our client. And the process begins.

While there’s no surefire way to get your spokeshippo on the evening news, the one important factor in every campaign, viral or otherwise, is to understand that brands succeed online when original ideas lead to excitement among the core audience. Sure, we’re all primates, but we’d like to see a monkey do that.

5 Tech Trends to Watch in 2012

December 27, 2011

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2012 promises to be a very busy year in all things digital, but, as with any annum, there will be just a handful of big, memorable trends. Here, I’ve collected five such movements that are likely to make a big impact in our technologically-enhanced lives.

Augmented Reality

It’s now in games, location apps, business cards and coffee shops and could start showing up in cars and even eyeglassesAugmented Reality, which puts a virtual view on top of your real world, is really just a cool way of saying, “Reality with Style.” Instead of simply viewing your apartment through your phone, you’re playing Star Wars Arcade Falcon Gunner on top of it. Instead looking up a restaurant in your neighborhood, you’re using Yelp to see its location and reviews for it and other restaurants right on top of your on-screen view of the street. 2012 will mark the beginning of exponential growth for Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR).

According to a report from Visiongain, 25% of all app downloads will feature some sort of augmented reality. Though adoption hinges on more powerful, high-speed and camera-ready mobile devices, it’s clear to me that the majority of smartphones and tablets in end-users’ hands next year will be 3G-to-4G-ready, high-def, large-screen devices with not one, but two multi-megapixel cameras. Trust me, by 2013, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t at least tried augmented reality.

The Micro-Payment Economy

App manufacturers are not the only ones who can make money selling tiny wares and incremental upgrades. The barrier to entry for starting your own small business has been effectively knocked down by a variety of online merchants who are willing to hawk your wares for next to nothing. In truth, the merchandise isn’t entirely yours. In fact, these companies are often just selling your idea on top of their wares and you get a tiny slice for each sale, or for when the numbers of sales reaches a certain threshold.

Sites like RedBubble do everything for the artist; all they need to do is upload the content. RedBubble will, for example, make the T-Shirt with your art, sell it for you, manage the distribution and, of course, collect payment. The site lets you set the price above their fixed price. Yes, you could add as much as you want onto a $16 T-shit, but most smart sellers know this means they won’t sell a single garment. Instead, you add 1%-to-5% (maybe 10% if you’re feeling strong) and then promote the dickens out of your product on the site and through various social networks.

RedBubble is just one of many destinations popping up to help the aspiring entrepreneur. They join established platforms like Lulu (self-publish books), and YouTube. YouTube has been inviting videographers into the commerce tent for years, letting them add AdSense accounts to popular videos and then sitting back and watching the pennies roll in.

As the economy sputters along, look for more and more of the sites helping you sell almost anything you can imagine and making you a “fortune”–one micro payment at a time.

The Rise of the UltraBook

Tablets dominate the tech conversation, but that doesn’t mean the PC is dead. No, it’s alive and well, but in a form that will closely mimic some of the best features of tablets. I don’t have numbers yet, but I’m betting Desktop PCs were not big sellers this holiday season. Laptops may have done a little better, but who among you was willing to give junior an end-of-life netbook instead of a sexy, touch-screen tablet? (I’m imagining no one raising their hands).

A term coined by Intel, Ultrabooks describe exquisitely thin and light, yet pleasingly powerful laptops. Think MacBook Air and you get the idea. No, they don’t have touch screens or apps (though that’s changing, too) and Ultrabooks usually have just one HD camera. Still, with just a little more heft and girth than your garden-variety iPad, an Ultrabook adds a full-sized keyboard and far more powerful components. In other words, they’re perfectly designed for getting real work done, but no one will be embarrassed to carry one around. 2012 will witness an explosion of these devices as manufacturers pin on them their last best hopes for regaining consumer computing interest.

Social/Digital Exhaustion

Facebook will break the 1 billion user mark in 2012, but its numbers have flattened out in the U.S. Twitter is growing; it may have as many 450 million users, but no one knows how many people are really active users. Google+ is growing steadily, but is still well behind the two most established networks and much of the public is unaware of its existence. There is the now persistent, with good reason, backlash against mobile phone usage in cars and on streets.

In general, more and more people seem to be reevaluating their social and digital existence. Even the SOPA battle is revealing some unforeseen schisms. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bad idea, not because piracy is good, but because of the plan for enforcement is wrong and dangerous. That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.

Mobile Chip Wars

The tech industry is gearing up for a rather intense battle—on a micro scale. With ARM-based CPUs in virtually all of today’s tablets and handsets, Intel, the dominant system CPU manufacturer, has no presence in the mobile space. It’s a situation the company promises to change in 2012 with Medfield—its rethinking of the Atom CPU (popular in netbooks). Meanwhile a consortium of Pacific Rim manufacturers have just banded together to produce new mobile CPUs for phones and tablets.

These efforts may not mean much, though, as Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Motorola, Marvell, Nvidia and others all license the ARM architecture and show (along with the hardware partners) little interest in switching to a new or once-established platform. Even Microsoft is developing Windows 8 to run on ARM-based CPUs in addition to traditional Wintel machines.

What do you think? Are these the right trends? Will there be other defining movements in 2012? Chose the biggest trend in our poll and then let’s talk about it in the comments.

by , via Mashable

4 Ways To Maximize Your Blog’s ROI

December 8, 2011

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There are more than 178 million blogs on the Internet, with over 7,000 new blogs created each day. These numbers make it difficult for any blog to stand out from the crowd.

We asked Derek Halpern, author of Socialtriggers.com, to share his expert advice on how to design and organize your blog for maximum results. Here’s what he had to say.

1. Differentiate your blog from your competitors’.

Derek HalpernHalpern suggests researching your competitors’ blogs and sites to see what they are doing in terms of layout, design, and color…and then do something different.

“I wanted to make sure that my site looked drastically different,” Halpern says of his company’s site. “Most marketing blogs are running a magazine layout, so I went back to the traditional blog layout. Other marketing blogs are focused on the color red as their main color; I chose purple. Other blogs have really fancy designs; I chose a minimalist design.”

2. Choose photos that help direct your visitor’s gaze.

Research has shown that people will follow the gaze of another person, whether that is on the Internet or in person. Halpern suggests using this to direct your visitor’s attention to key parts of your blog, like an email signup box.

“I’ve done a lot of research about images on the web and how people react to them,” Halpern says. “Imagine you’re walking down the street and you see four people looking up in the sky; chances are you’re going to stop and look up in the sky too. The same applies online. When you see eyes looking towards something [on a website], you follow the gaze.”

3. Drop your categories, archives, and search box.

Halpern suggests getting rid of features that your visitors don’t use and replacing them with features that promote your best content and encourage email sign-ups.

“In all of my [blogging ] experience I never saw that many people using my search box or archive pages,” he says. “They might click on a category page, but that’s not really the best way for them to find your best content. You don’t necessarily want people to click around and only see yournew stuff first; you want people to be able to find your beststuff.

To spoon-feed visitors your best content, Halpern suggests using what he calls “Resource Pages” instead of archive pages. Resource pages are essentially category pages where you handpick articles to highlight that are not necessarily presented in a date-based format.

4. Rewrite Your “About” Page to Be About Your Visitors

Halpern says the About page is one of the most heavily visited pages on your blog and should follow a specific formula which includes strategically placed opt-in forms for your email list.

“The first few paragraphs should be all about what your site offers your visitors. Then an opt-in form,” he says.

After that, include testimonials or social proof that really shows you can satisfy these needs for your visitors. And then another opt-in form.

Finally, that’s when you can tell your personal story. But when you’re telling people all about you, you want to make sure that each thing you tell them will help reinforce the point that your site can help them solve their problems.

And then (say it with me), you put in another opt-in form.

BY RICH BROOKS, via Fast Company

Metrics for Social Media ROI

December 2, 2011

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Whether you are an agency or an in-house social media specialist, you are bound to have clients or supervisors barreling down on you for the ROI on social media. The single most common question that is addressed to all social media experts is:  How do you determine the ROI of all of your social media efforts?

I am going to give you tips on how to measure your metrics, but with the caveat that currently there is no real ‘formula’ to calculate ROI on social media. This post will provide you with ideas to create metrics that you can implement and modify for your organization.

After conducting thorough due diligence on how to effectively measure and evaluate ROI, I came across a very reputable expert in the market, Avinash Kaushik. He has had the most influence on the way I think about analytics and ROI.

Social Media ROI

Let’s start with the basics. Always keep an eye on the general metrics such as Facebook page likes, Twitter followers and total interactions. Evaluate the amount of interaction you have on your social media network per users (follows, likes, subscribers, etc.). This helps to determine the significance of your social network community. There is no point in having well over 10,000 followers on Twitter when you only have interaction with about 5 users. It is great to build both a strong fan base and following but it is just as important to ensure that you are consistent in engagement.

Total interactions are easy to calculate for Facebook through their ‘Insights’, however, it will take time when you are collecting data for other social networks. For example, Twitter will require that you add up the total number of times you were re-tweeted, mentioned, included in a hashtag, and added as a favorite tweet within the time period that you want to analyze the data (daily, weekly or monthly). For other social networks you may have to consider the number of shares, comments and likes, so make sure to take the time to determine what you truly consider an interaction for each network, respectively.

After you are done with the steps outlined above, you want to now break down the ‘interactions’ of your social networks. Focus on how users are interacting with the content that is presented. Here is where I will use some of Avinash’s terminology and ideas, while introducing new ones as well. According to my own analysis, consider focusing on the following factors: conversation rate, amplification rate, attraction rate, view ability rate and click-through rate. Let’s get started!

Conversation Rate

This is the true engagement for conversations in your social media communities. Conversations will be different depending on the network. For example, Facebook, Youtube, and blogs are focused on comments; however, Twitter is measured with mentions and hashtags. Calculate the figures for each network, and calculate how many conversations took place per post, tweet, or video submission.

Amplification Rate

This is the total number of times that your content was either shared or re-tweeted. Calculate the number of times that your posts or tweets were shared and determine the rate per post. You can take this one step further, and determine the reach of your content. Every time your post or tweet is shared, it is available for an entirely new audience, expanding the number of eyes that could potentially see it. You can also investigate and see what type of content is being amplified the most. This will go a long way in helping you understand your community a little better, and the type of content that interests them.

Attraction Rate

Ensure that your content is attractive to your market. Calculate the total number of likes or +1’s per post or the number or tweets that were added as a favorite per total tweets. The more that people like what you have to say or share, the more that people will care.

Viewability Rate

This stat is a little harder to find on Twitter, however, for other networks and mediums such as Facebook, Youtube and your blog, it is the total number of views or impressions per post. This is not as important as the other metrics listed above, but it is always nice to see how often your content is being looked at and if no one is seeing it, then you better find a way to get users to view it!

Click-Through Rate

Everyone shares links, whether it is a blog post, a highlighted product or content that you found on the web. However, there is no sense in sending and receiving links, especially in hopes that the end user will click on it. Efficiency is the name of the game; so I recommend using bit.ly, to help you keep a track of your outbound links. After you set that up, use this as a tool to figure out how many clicks you are receiving per link, measuring which content and times are best for content distribution.

Now that you know what metrics to follow, create an excel spreadsheet that will allow you to keep track of your social media networks. You will notice that some of the numbers will pose as a challenge, as you will be calculating them manually. Consider searching for tools that will allow you to calculate statistics that show your analytics. If you are a large brand, this is not a request it’s a requirement. If you have any suggestions on which tools work well for you, please leave a comment. I’m all about collaboration.

Now that you have a method to organize your social media metrics, it is now time to determine the true financial impact for your brand. Check back for the second part of this post to find out how these numbers and conversion rates can help you determine your actualized ROI.

via socialmediatoday

The best mobile campaigns of 2011

November 28, 2011

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It has been said many times that 2011 was the year of mobile. But was it really? By now, most of us have realized there is no such thing. To say that would mean the best is behind us, when that is far from the case. Don’t think in terms of the year of mobile or even the decade of mobile. It’s much bigger than that. Communication has been redefined. Mobile has fundamentally changed how we communicate every minute of the day in countless aspects of our personal and professional lives. The result is a sweeping cultural shift — on a global scale.

Reflecting on the most successful mobile marketing campaigns this year, the ones to admire aren’t the ones you might think. Too many mobile campaigns are still about the fascination with a new shiny object. Sure, those were fun and intriguing for a brief moment in time. But, while interesting new technologies are inspiring, mobile is not just a flash in the pan.

The most notable campaigns serve as evidence that mobile is big — that integrating mobile strategy across the entire marketing strategy will drive customer value. 2011 did mark a significant milestone in mobile marketing and not by chance. From one marketer to another, we need to recognize that successful mobile marketing programs take considerable effort, time, and even a reassessment of the value that a brand provides to the consumer.

Of the mobile programs we evaluated in all major consumer-facing industries, three stand out. These companies have established a meaningful brand-to-consumer engagement by delivering sustained, personalized value to the consumer. They are properly executing across the four pillars of mobile marketing by:

  • Planning out mobile strategies
  • Clearly identifying the target audience and how to engage the consumer by integrating mobile with the media mix
  • Delivering not one but several mobile tactics that work in concert to provide a mobile presence
  • Employing connected customer relationship marketing (CRM), which enables the marketer to segment, target, and develop valuable marketing insights.

It is important to remember that success is found using mobile not as a stand-alone media but as an integrated, multi-channel engagement vehicle. Let’s look at the campaigns that best embody this premise.

Starbucks

It has only been a few years since Starbucks founder Howard Shultz had to step back into the business to turn the company around after several consecutive quarters of negative growth. The brand that put a coffee shop on nearly every corner seemed to have saturated the market. In fact, it turned out that Starbucks’ best years were just around the corner.

What happened?

The answer is simple. Starbucks sharpened its focus by moving away from mass marketing to a one-to-one focus, putting the customer at the center of its marketing efforts. This thinking led to a mobile marketing strategy that is now an integral part of the overall marketing mix.

After working through years of testing and trials to get it right, Starbucks has developed a mobile marketing program that successfully blends loyalty, incentives, and commerce. What immediately comes to mind for many is the Starbucks store finder app that’s been in the market for a few years now. In fact, the company’s mobile marketing program is much more than an app or two, and it continues to delight consumers.

Starbucks has developed mobile programs that allow consumers to shop, search, and purchase through contactless payments. The significance of this mobile program is based on a fundamental understanding of consumer mobile habits and behaviors. But it goes further with the ability to personalize content. What’s also very interesting is the media integration of web, app, text messaging, out-of-home, display, location-based services, in-store, and direct mail — all leveraged as touchpoints to engage the consumer and drive people to the stores.

The mobile loyalty program is an extension of the CRM strategy — it works with the loyalty card and is tied into commerce. Below is a high-level description of notable capabilities:

  • The integrated 2D barcode capability turns an iPhone into a Starbucks card, allowing consumers to check balances and reload cards from the app.
  • The app allows registration and includes a store locator and My Favs. It even puts nutritional information at the consumer’s fingertips.
  • The program launched in September in 16 test markets. In certain stores, consumers can tap and pay with their mobile device.

JCPenney

In a development that might be surprising to many, JCPenney is one of the most well-rounded and consistent mobile marketers within the retail space, continually integrating mobile into key media channels. From QR codes and text messaging (SMS), to social, mobile internet, and apps, JCPenney is paving the way for mobile in retail.

JCPenney has developed a clear mobile marketing strategy that appears to closely align with business goals and marketing objectives. The mobile program takes a 360-degree approach by integrating mobile with traditional and digital media. Social, in-store, direct mail, display, search, television, and mobile preference centers are incorporated within the internet and Facebook. Mobile programs are refined based on consumer adoption, while JCPenney continually tests and tries new mobile marketing tactics to enhance the consumer experience and establish a deeper relationship. This is accomplished through the use of:

  • SMS coupons with some testing of multi-media messaging service (MMS) coupons
  • Core tactics that include SMS, MMS, mobile web, apps, social, and scannable codes

Target

One of the best holiday mobile campaigns was from Target, which used a multi-channel mobile approach to meet consumers’ needs. Target was the first big-box retailer to implement mobile barcode scanning in all its locations nationwide, setting the bar high for other retailers.

Going further, Target has recently delivered e-circulars to a target audience by providing a rich media ad format leveraging key functionality based on the device and location. What impresses us the most is that Target is taking a long-term approach by implementing mobile solutions well ahead of the market at scale, putting other retailers in catch-up mode. The mobile strategy includes text message marketing, 1-D and 2-D codes, consumer shopping apps for all devices, a mobile preference center, and a mobile site with the aim of making shopping at Target an easy and enjoyable experience.

Target continues to find success integrating mobile into its marketing strategy for several reasons:

  • Mobile is part of its core value proposition.
  • Target has a clear understanding of consumer needs and wants.
  • The core program was developed as the consumers adapted.
  • The foundational approach uses SMS and MMS to position coupons effectively.
  • The program began with basic tactics and evolved to advanced tactics, such as mobile web, apps for all operating systems, location-based service offers, and the retailer’s own proprietary QR and barcode program.
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) “tap and pay” services are being tested and coming soon.
  • The mobile preference center on the site allows consumers to pick how they want to engage with Target.

Retailers like Starbucks, JCPenney, and Target are proving that the integration of mobile into the overall marketing strategy is a powerful and large-scale way to engage consumers and increase customer value. The commitment shared by these trailblazers is proof that mobile will continue to be a key business driver well into the future.

By Chris Wayman, via iMEDIA Connection

Facebook’s New Analytics Reminds Businesses to Engage Fans

November 28, 2011

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In the past several years, businesses large and small have come to realize the positive impact of engaging their brand-loyal public and — more importantly — potential customers, via Facebook Pages. While fan pages are typically seen as a destination for users to remain privy to brand news, a recent comScore report shows that a Page is really just the place where content resides, as fans are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume branded material in their news feeds than on the actual fan page itself. This discovery led to Facebook’s expansion of “Page Insights,” including new metrics and analytics designed to constantly remind business owners of what truly matters: engaging content.

Facebook utilizes an algorithm that ensures the most relevant content for each user finds its way onto that particular user’s news feed. The relevancy of this content is determined by a number of factors, including how many times it is liked, shared, commented on, etc. When fans of a company interact with branded content, it can then be passed on to their friends and their friends’ friends. With fan acquisition as the main motive behind the Facebook strategy of most businesses, it is helpful to learn that friends of fans are more likely to visit a brand’s store, website and even purchase a product than the average, uninfluenced consumer. In addition, the average friends-of-fans group for the top 100 brand pages on Facebook is 34 times larger than the fan group. This means that a business can often have greater influence amongst its second degree connections, and the virality of a page’s content can be directly related to the success of a business. So, ultimately there’s a need for better insights into Facebook content consumption.

Facebook’s Advertising Communications Manager Elisabeth Diana states that the “one of the purposes behind Facebook Page Insights is to provide all page admins with ways to understand how to reach and acquire new customers.” New metrics have been created in order to provide businesses with not only information about how people are interacting with a brand Page, but also a glimpse into how people are connecting with the Page’s content in other parts of Facebook.

One of the metrics added to Facebook’s Page Insights is “People are talking about this.” This set of data counts stories that are eligible to appear in a user’s Newsfeed, such as any likes, wall posts, comments, shares, questions answered, RSVPs to events, Page mentions, photo tagging and location checkins. The metric allows the page administrator to know what posts have proven the most compelling and interactive.

Another metric added to the equation is the metric of virality, which allows for insight into how viral a particular post is. Virality is determined by dividing the number of “people talking about this” by the reach (the number of people who actually saw the content). Diana notes that because virality is a percentage, whether a business is large or small, the metric “can be used to compare across all Page posts.” The virality metric allows page admins to analyze the success of individual posts and will hopefully lead to an improved page strategy through a better understanding of the audience.

Along with these new metrics comes aesthetic changes as well. “Whether you want to get into the deep end or wade in slowly,” Diana says, Facebook wants to make their Page Insights “digestible for everyone, easy to sort and actionable.” She says most of the heavy numbers have been removed from Page Insights, but “for those needing something a little more data-intense, there is always the option to export to a spreadsheet.” Either way, Diana and Facebook promise that “this is just the first step in enhancing Page Insights for small businesses and brands; there is more to come.” In the meantime, however, Facebook will continue to prompt business owners to provide their audiences with the most engaging content possible to guarantee the greater reach and better sales.

by , via Mashable

Social Media, Email, PPC And SEO – Your Guide To Online Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

November 25, 2011

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Thanksgiving Day has just come and gone, but I hope that you saved a very special thank you for the internet, particularly if you’re a marketer or do any kind of branding online.

After all, where would the modern marketer be without social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook? Or email marketing? Not to mention pay per click (PPC), SEO and all that lovely, lovely analytics.

Yes, there’s a lot to be grateful for if you’re using the internet to promote your business, not least this fantastic infographic from Unbounce, entitled The Noob Guide To Online Marketing.

Psst… here’s a secret. This isn’t just for newbies. This incredibly detailed and information-rich visual has value for marketers of all levels and experience.

It’s huge, too, so make sure you click to enlarge [due to the size, you may need to click three times to see the full image].

By Shea Bennett, via Mediabistro

5 Ways to Turn Social Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

November 22, 2011

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With the advent of social media channels, customer service has forever changed. Consumers are no longer willing to sit and listen to classical music on hold. In today’s age of hyper-responsiveness, customers expect instant responses from support reps on very public online platforms.

Instead of shying away from social media, smart businesses will leverage their social channels to spread a positive brand reputation, to connect happy customers and to step up their customer support efforts.

Consumers aren’t eager to blast negative messages about your company – unless your brand is unresponsive. I recently learned at an IBM conference that customers are five times more likely to post something positive than negative, and that companies usually have at least 10 warnings before someone posts a negative comment.

Happy customers who get their issues resolved tell an average of four to six people about their positive experiences, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. It pays to treat your customers well, not only for the repeat business, but also to gain the positive word-of-mouth consumers now broadcast across social media. Satisfied customers can become your most influential brand ambassadors. They’ll help to answer customer service questions posted online and also tout their own positive experiences with your business.

Here are the five best ways to turn customers into brand ambassadors through customer service.


1. Be Fast


When a customer turns to social media for a support issue, he expects a brand to generate the fastest response possible. According to a recent UK study, 25% of social media users expect a response within one hour, and 6% expect a response within 10 minutes. If you allow a support issue to dangle for too long, you risk being perceived as a company that either doesn’t know the answer or doesn’t care enough to reply promptly.

Remember, most people on social networks aren’t itching to post negative comments. They only do so after a bad experience. Therefore, don’t give them enough time to have a bad experience.


2. Be Visible


Private and direct messaging on Facebook and Twitter is all well and good, but when it comes to customer service, it’s best to be totally transparent and visible. The answer you give to one customer could, in turn, help thousands more. Think of each post and interaction as a resource that future customers can reference. Not to mention, customers will be more apt to direct friends to your page with their own questions.

Social media sites foster an online community around your brand. Watch how customers discuss and respond to your products so you can join the conversation and better understand the community that supports your brand.


3. Be Consistent


It’s vital that you ensure all customer support answers remain consistent across the web and across all social channels. If a common question is posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then each response should communicate the same solution. Conflicting answers create confused, unhappy customers. Just as people expect consistent experiences with your products, they also expect consistent service across all of your channels. Brand accuracy drives confidence and credibility, and helps build brand loyalty among your customers.


4. Be Organized


If consistency creates brand ambassadors, then being organized is equally paramount. Admittedly, the cross-company integration and management of social media continues to be challenging. Maintaining a successful social media presence on just one network is a full-time job. Trying to do it over multiple networks is impossible if your support staff isn’t properly organized.

Customers can spot disorganization a mile away, especially online. However, if you demonstrate that your company support knows what it’s doing, you’ll earn the respect and trust of brand loyalists. Organization goes beyond knowing who does what on the support team; it’s also vital that everyone on the team is on the same page. Each team member must know where to seek reliable answers, and each must source information from the same place.


5. Be Human


As cool as Siri is, she still hasn’t crossed from digital assistant to human entity. Until then, your social media customer support should remain as human as possible. On the bright side, social networks already take the formalities out of conversation. It’s one of their biggest draws.

Therefore, a customer’s name isn’t “Inquiry #83kd4z.” She’s Christie from Denver. People respond best when they feel like they’re talking to other people. Your customer support should make customers feel as if they’re posting a normal question on a friend’s wall. Creating that kind of relationship with your customer should be the priority of any company.

Using customer service to create brand ambassadors isn’t the Herculean task it once was. Social media is presenting countless opportunities to turn your company’s support system into an open, interactive community, where customers can share their positive experiences with one another and spread the good word about your products and services – all on your behalf.

By: , via Mashable

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