Archive for ‘Social Media’

March 18, 2015

How to use social media like a marketing executive [Report]

SocialSharingTwitterThanks to a recent study of over 1,000 marketing executives, digital agency Leadtail has published their insights into how current heads-of-marketing are changing their use of social media. Among other things, the study looks at the most-shared, mainstream, industry, and social sources, along with the brands and people who are most likely to be  influencers of CMOs. It’s clear that the digital marketing landscape is changing. Here are few trends that caught my eye:

1. Facebook content isn’t as sharable as you think. When it comes to cross-platform content sharing, Facebook lags far behind its top competitors. In other words, content found on YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram are (at least) twice as likely to be shared on Twitter, than content found on Facebook. Marketing executives’ sharing of LinkedIn content on Twitter is up by 200%, so if you want to get noticed, you better step up your game on LinkedIn because CMOs are consuming and sharing that content.

2. (Visual) content is king. If you want a marketing executive to share your content, you better make it visual because this study found that pieces of content that had a visual component were more likely to be shared. I would argue that this isn’t just for CMOs; much of our own content is more shareable if it’s visual. See for yourself – head over to analytics.twitter.com and look for your tweets with the most engagements. Mine are always images, with very few exceptions.

3. Location-based social networks are dead. Only 5% of marketing execs check-in (down from almost 30% from 2 years ago). Remember Foursquare? Yeah, nobody does. Three years ago I stopped checking-in on Foursquare. Before that, I was a consistent user checking in to the bus station, bus route, different buildings on campus, and even different carafes at Starbucks (Yes, the jugs they hold the different types of coffee in). I finally felt that all this checking-in was feeling like a chore and had little or no reward attached to it, so I stopped. I imagine others felt the same way.

For the cost of your contact details, you can download the full report from their website. It’s a great piece of content marketing about content marketing.

March 11, 2015

Your brand content sucks. People are unfollowing. Here’s why… [Infographic]

Everybody works for a brand. It could be Big Blue or your own one-person business. Often I see articles, white papers, and case studies about how to “get” more customers. That’s the most important part, right? Maybe not. Yes, customer acquisition is essential, but what about those customers you already have – how do we know what they are feeling towards our brand? Are they loyal, or do we have a churn problem? Working at a post-secondary institution,  we talk about this all the time; the importance of keeping students in the classroom. Retention.

The same concern exists with our social media and email marketing campaigns. We have all had people unsubscribe from our mailing lists and unfollow our Twitter accounts, but we often have very little insight as to why. The good folks at Buzzsteam and Fractl recently surveyed 900 people to understand why people unfollow brands. The handy infographic below shares some of their findings. Here are three key take-aways that caught my eye:

  1. Content is still king. According to this survey, the biggest reason why people unfollow brands on social networks is due to boring or repetitive content. If your brand sells shoes, you can no longer think of yourselves as just a shoe company; you are also a media publishing conglomerate specializing in industry-specific useful content. Not just price promotions. You write, produce, and distribute articles, case studies, stories, videos, images, audio, etc. Is Red Bull an energy drink or a media house?
  2. More is not the answer. The most referenced reason why people unsubscribe to email mailing lists is the brand sends messages too frequently. This also holds true in social media as “too frequent content” was noted as the second-most popular reason for a user to unfollow on social. One email a week from a brand I follow is about all I can stomach.
  3. Engagement is the expectation. Almost 40% of the respondents indicated that they think brands are quite or very likely to engage with them after they follow the brand’s Facebook page. To me, serving content to my news feed isn’t engagement. If a brand reaches out to me personally or responds to my comments, that’s engagement. The expectation that I would be “engaged” simply by liking a Facebook page doesn’t exist in my mind.

I also find it interesting that about half of the respondents said that they would never unfollow a brand on LinkedIn. There seems to be some social network hierarchy going on here. Perhaps a LinkedIn follower would be considered more “valuable” than one from Facebook or Twitter. I’ll look for more reading on this topic.

What do you think? Do you unfollow brands because of their behaviour on social media? Are there other reasons not listed here that make you disengage? Let me know!

losing-followers-infographic

March 3, 2015

Does social media really influence consumer behaviour? [Infographic]

A recent survey by Eccolo Media, a San Francisco-based content marketing outfit, provides some insight into just how influential social media may be when it comes to technology purchases. Some of the results suggest that social media may not be as dominant as once thought. The handy infographic (below) shares some of their findings. A few key take-aways that caught my eye include:

  1. Social can grab your customer’s attention, convince them of a “need”, but not so great at delivering the conversion. The utility of social media is at it’s greatest during the pre-sales and initial-sales phase. The influence of social media sharply declines the closer the customer is to making the purchase.
  2. Case studies are the kings of the content world with 25% of respondents reporting that they would consult one while making a tech purchase. Check out this part of the infographic for some details about how effective the different elements of your content platform may be.
  3. Facebook and LinkedIn are in a heated battle to be seen as the go-to social channel when it comes to influencing purchases.

One variable that isn’t accounted for in this study is the amount of people who were indeed influenced by vendor posts, but either didn’t remember or didn’t even know it was a piece of vendor media. Advertising and promoted content is becoming so slick that I would bet that I saw vendor content from Samsung before I decided to buy an S5, but if you asked me if vendor media played a role in my purchase, I probably would have said no. Awareness of vendor media may be an issue here.

content-marketing-sales-funnel

February 26, 2015

Who else wants stats for ANY Instagram account?

Stats are good, right? I’m always searching for ways to look at how my content is performing, whether it be on my blog, twitter account, Instagram profile, etc. Stats provide an understanding of who your audiences are, what they like, and what are your most engaging pieces of content. While looking inward is always a great way to gather insights to improve your practice, it’s sometimes nice (and informative) to see some data on how other high performers within your industry, or your competitors, are doing.

HubSpots’ Dan Zarella has recently released an Instagram app called PicStats.com that lets users see details about any non-private account.

Once you login with your Instagram account, you’ll see stats on your own account; then you can search any other account by username. The app provides data on the usual metrics, like top likers and commenters, “like” activity, most-used filters, etc., but then it goes on to add some interesting details about how each of the following areas affects likes and comments:

  • Filter choice
  • Tags choice
  • Number of tags used
  • The effect of tagging users in your photos
  • Caption sentiment
  • Reading grade level
  • Caption length

Remember, this app doesn’t just tell you how complex your language is in your captions; it relates this complexity to the effect it has on engagement (likes and comments).

The site is beautifully laid out and visually appealing. Make sure you pay particular attention to the small grey question marks that appear just to the left of each title of the graph – this is where you get a more complete description of what the chart is showing you. Admittedly, this took me a bit to find, but once I did, the utility of the site jumped right out at me.

Here’s what the stats look like for the most-followed consumer brand on Instagram – Nike:

PicStatsZoomOutNike

Sorry for the size of the text in this image. I zoomed out to try and capture as many charts as I could to give a visual representation of the types and number of charts the site offers. If you head over to http://picstats.com/u/nike you can read all the details.

 

 

 

February 19, 2015

5 ways to get thousands of Twitter followers

GeorgeWtwitter

George W. Bush didn’t say this, I did. This is a visual representation of how I felt after responding to one of my students when asked about the number of Twitter followers I had.

This past week in my Social Media Management class at Algonquin College, one of my PR students, @MunnaAden, asked a question I had not really thought about before. She queried, “How did you get so many followers?”. A great question, but I didn’t have an answer readily at hand, so I came up with the classic “well, uh, I’ve been tweeting for a long time (since 2008), and I followed everybody back for a while (which is a bad idea).” After reflecting on that class session, I felt that I really should have had a better answer. Although there’s no sure-fire way to guarantee twitter followers, here are a few things that I have done over the years that I think played a role in the amount of Twitter followers I have.

1. Pick a niche and stick to it

The content I share focuses on only a few topics: Social media, communications, marketing, and education. Of course, these topics are complemented with some personal posts, or comments on the sports teams I root for, but for the vast majority of the time, you will be getting social media, communications, marketing, and education-themed tweets from @David_Hall. Try and think of your tweets as a service that you are providing to your readers, not an online platform for sharing every thought you have. The service you provide, just like any consumer service, should be focused, consistent, and predictable (to some degree).

The longer you tweet about a certain suite of topics, the more followers you will get. I feel that the sheer length of time I have been tweeting about my topics has had a positive effect on followership. It’s a lot easier to get eyes on content shared from a mature account than to get eyes on a new twitter profile that only has a few dozen, or hundred, tweets.

2. Follow relevant people in your industry

When I started tweeting, I was eager to see what other communicators were saying. Remember, this was back in 2008, so I was, like most people at the time, just trying to figure out exactly what the power of Twitter was. For each new marketing/PR/social media professional I followed, I gained access to their content, which was often great for retweeting. This retweeting helped me because it notified the original tweet sender that I was listening to, and endorsed, what they tweeted by sharing it with my followers. Telling people you like their content is a good way to make friends, and it can often result in a follow from the retweeted account. Retweeting great content from other accounts also helped my own Twitter presence because it gave me more great content on my account. It’s a self-reinforcing circle.

3. Be careful when following back

This one is a bit contentious, and I do not recommend it. When I first started on Twitter, I thought it would be a courtesy to follow-back any account that followed me. I thought of it as a nice little digital-hug while saying “thanks for following”. This didn’t turn out so well for me. Over the years, I have now followed or followed-back several thousands of users. As a result, my home feed is virtually useless. I now have to manage my twitter feeds through lists and keyword searches in Hootsuite to make sure I see what I want to see. This, however, ruins some of the serendipitous content discovery that I love about Twitter.

I do, however, believe that all this following on my behalf made me a great target for those looking for follow-back, meaning that the main reason they followed me in the first place was in the hopes that I would follow them back. I can’t say for sure, but I would wager that some of my followers would fall into this category.

Lessons learned: Don’t just follow back because you think it’s a nice gesture; your home-feed will be shot.

4. Curate great content

If you want to be a successful content creator, you should start by curating some great content first. Content curation becomes easier when you have purposefully done step 2 on this post. The idea goes, if you follow people who share good content, you have a virtually endless stream of relevant and shareable content delivered directly to your home feed.

Simply curating retweets won’t get you all the curated content you need, so I also have a few go-to resources when I need to find good content to share: Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, Mashable (less so lately), Tech Crunch, PR Daily, AdWeek, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academica, etc. Just find some blogs and newsletters you like to read and share their content.

5. Be a content creator

This is the most important step. My Twitter following didn’t really start to grow rapidly until I started this blog. I consistently created weekly content for a few years, and over that time my blog and Twitter popularity grew. Along with this weekly content creation, I also did an hour-long podcast for about 18 months focusing on social media and technology. I found that once I started creating, people really started to take notice and began to follow my account in higher numbers.

Munna, I hope this does a better job answering the great question you asked in class last week.

Update:

 

February 12, 2015

Send your sweetheart a “pin” on Valentine’s Day

Pinterest-heartLately when I look at my social media accounts, I get the impression that there are two types of posts when it comes to Valentine’s Day: 1. Boohoo, I hate Valentine’s Day, stop celebrating your love on MY Facebook page. 2. Please, please, please buy something you don’t need from our company! You’re doing it in the name of love.

The first type of people are those who encourage others to punch cats to mark the occasion or plan on doing everything in their power to block Valentine’s Day posts from their social networks. The second type of people are offering deals, promotions, and contests trying to align their product to the holiday of love. Although I love tent-pole programming/content, somehow antivirus software, family sedans and minivans, or pan pizzas don’t scream “passion” to me.

I had almost given up hope for this year until I came across a very neat little feature on Pinterest. It turns out that you can head over to their blog and send your Valentine a cute and crafty message to be posted for the world to see (or in a private message if you’re the shy type). If you’re looking for a quick gesture of love, it may be worth while to check out what custom-made pins they have to offer…Some are funny, some are sweet, some are romantic. There’s just so many good ones to choose from:

PinboardValentines

Will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day using social media? I’d love to hear what you are planning!

 

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