• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • Today I’m sharing 3 Facebook ad tips that I’ve learned firsthand. The best part? They’re super quick and easy to implement.

    Facebook ads aren’t an exact science, and running successful campaigns is a continuous learning process. Today I’m sharing 3 Facebook ad tips that I’ve learned firsthand. The best part? They’re super quick and easy to implement!

    Keep ad images crisp.

    Did you know that Facebook doesn’t maintain the integrity of many ad images that are uploaded? Typically, ad images are compressed, so there can be a noticeable difference between the image you upload and the image your audience sees depending on the file type and size.

    Quick tip: Have your designer save your ad image files as PNGs and keep them under 100kb in size to avoid compression.

    Optimize the structure of your copy for engagement.

    Facebook is really noisy. You only get a few seconds to entice someone to stop and read your message. You get even less time to convince them to keep reading, so every character counts. You have to give your ad copy some tough love and write and rewrite it until it’s as concise and well-prioritized as possible. However, in your efforts to be succinct, make sure your brand’s personality doesn’t get lost!

    Quick tip:  Structure your copy like this:

    Start with a short sentence that speaks directly to your target & helps them self-identify with your product/service. Next, write two to three short sentences that explain the offer/promotion/product/service as concisely as possible. If you have a link to include, make sure to include it in this section. Have more to say? Add a space between this paragraph and the next.

    This is where you can round out any non-mission-critical details in a couple of short sentences. Nobody wants to read a huge block of text, so shift the extra info down here.

    Tweak your copy based on ad placement.

    You can choose from various ad placements: desktop news feeds, mobile news feeds, and right column. Facebook’s algorithm decides how often they’re shown on each, so it’s good to let your ads cycle for a few days, then check in on them.  You’ll want to see which placements have the highest engagement and optimize your copy for that particular space.

    Quick tip: In Ads Manager click “View Report” within an ad campaign to look where your ad has been cycled the most. The ad editing tool can show you previews of your ad on each placement so you can tweak copy based on the character limit for each. For example, a desktop newsfeed ad will display an entire paragraph, whereas a right column ad will only preview the first 90 characters.

    Facebook Ad Placement

    Have you discovered any great Facebook ad tips? Let us know in the comments!

    In the past few years, the scenario of paid advertisement has undergone dramatic changes. The traditional ads which was intrusive in nature, are replaced by ads that blends naturally with the other posts on the sites.

    Facebook news feeds and Twitter timelines are usually filled with typical things. You will either see the pictures of babies or the pets. Sometimes, for a change, you will come across vacation albums, work related grievances or political posts. But, the photos and links are joined by something else on social media: ads.

    In the past few years the scenario of paid advertisement has undergone dramatic changes. The traditional ads which was intrusive in nature, are replaced by ads that blends naturally with the other posts on the sites. Twitter was the first to come up with promoted tweets for their timelines. That ads fit easily into the social profile. Facebook followed what Twitter has done. The ads on the newsfeed section blurred the line of paid and organic social content.

    The success of any ad campaign depends on your ability to select the content of promotion. Instead of a regular ad, your website or business can distribute interesting information through advertisement to a set of users, which will enhance brand engagement and recognition.

    The major focus behind any advertisement is to derive profit.  However, social ads cannot be created with that goal in mind. Well recognized brands across the world have changed their promotional outlook and are trying to sell their brand experience. They are successful in their approach and are able to make the customers a part of their family. A social marketer has to make this successful strategy work for their social ads.

    Facebook Ads

    Suppose you are thinking of buying a television and for that you have started researching on web or mobile apps. What if you visit your Facebook page and see deals on a TV that features the best prices. You may also receive other brand recommendations. As because you are interested in electronics, Facebook may show you other ads on electronics. The items which you may purchase in the future. Many companies are already using this type of interest-based advertising.

    If you do not want Facebook to show your preferred ads, you will see the standard digital advertising. Facebook has also introduced ad preferences. It is a new tool that lets you add and remove interests that Facebook will use to show you ads.

    Facebook wants to show you ads that will be most relevant for you. To categorize the ads for you, Facebook considers

    • Information you share on your Facebook page
    • Other data about you from the Facebook account
    • Your activities on websites and apps outside Facebook

    Adjusting the ad preferences, Facebook has helped the social marketers to reach the right audience for the best possible engagement.

    Twitter Ads

    This social networking platform has avoided advertising for a long time. Each day there are 500 million tweets and over 240 million users turn to Twitter, to stay connected with their interests. Their interest can be anything-starting from a recent global news to preferred shopping destination. Twitter helps the businesses to track the interests of particular community and reach their target customers.

    Twitter’s new promoted tweets are similar to organic tweets that business can distribute for maximum engagement. They can be replied, retweeted, and favored. However, the business can deliver Tweets to specific users and during particular time period. The best part of the promoted tweets is that the marketers do not have to pay for anything unless the people actually respond to the tweet.

    Promoted tweets are someway better than Facebook ads. Because through this promotion option of the Twitter, it is possible to target viewers based on specific keywords. The marketers are also able to able to show their tweets to people who speak specific languages. This enables to increase the brand awareness in different cultures.

    Google+ Ads

    Google on 16th April, 2014 fully roll out their +Post ads. The advertisers will now be able to place their Google+ posts onto the Google’s display advertising network. These links, photos, and videos are essentially promoted. Viewers can see a “click to expand” button which if clicked transform the content into a full screen view. The contents are fully interactive as the users will be able to comment, share, and give a +1. People can also join Hangout right from the ad.

    These kind of actions from friends move more people to engage with your ad. The Google display network tools will enable you to reach the right audiences for your ad-content. With Google + ads also, the marketers have the benefit to pay only when the people engage with their brand’s content.

    Instagram and Pinterest Ads

    Facebook owned Instagram, started rolling out ads around the same time as the parent company. The sponsored posts are so well integrated, that most of the users see them as normal posts, rather than an ad. The only difference is that the ads carry the word sponsored. Instagram follow what people are doing on their Facebook and Instagram profiles to select and show ads to them. Instagram always try to present high-quality and engaging advertisements. If you do not find them interesting you can provide feedback and hide that ad.

    Promoted Pins help business to reach more people on Pinterest. Promoted Pins are transparent, tasteful, and relevant. They are improved based on the Pinner feedback. These Promoted Pins give businesses of all sizes a chance to connect with more pinners.

    The revolution in the field of social media advertising sends a single message. Social ads can help you to build a community by sending your message to people who will most likely enjoy what you have to offer. Nobody wants to see an ad that sends them to your storefront and links them to products available for purchase. Through, the social ads you can make people a part of the social media family. When they will see that you are ready to build up a relationship, they are likely to become your loyal customers.

    What social media strategies are getting companies reviews today? Using screenshots, real-time responses and providing reminders about reviews are some to the most effective.

    If you’ve never used a particular product or service before, one of the first things you might do is check Amazon, Yelp or one of the other usual suspects to see if people have good or bad things to say about whatever it is you’re thinking about purchasing.

    Those two websites are sufficient, and still commonly used, but many businesses are also realizing how important it is to encourage people to give their feedback about products and services across social media feeds.

    People Can Be Gently Reminded to Leave Reviews

    When the level of service or the quality of a product is either excellent or very poor, people usually need no prompting when it comes to speaking whatever is on their minds. However, some individuals may still need reminders to leave feedback, even if they might only comment that they’re satisfied.

    In that case, it’s worthwhile to have a prominent link or button that connects people to a company’s social media hubs. To see how this can work well, check out this website. The bright green “Review Us” button near the bottom of the page is instantly noticeable, and the first link on the corresponding page goes directly to the company’s Google+ profile.

    Screenshots as Social Media Reviews

    Some retailers have gotten even more creative and used screenshots of social media mentions to promote particular things. CelebVideoMessages is a website that’s gotten coverage in the United Kingdom, and it seems poised to take off in other areas of the world, too.

    The concept behind the service is that you can pay money to have one of more than 40 famous people record a message for you. Current celebrities who have signed up include David Hasselhoff and wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

    In an attempt to put a social media focus on its promotional efforts, the company uses a scrolling section of about ten screenshots from the social media profiles of satisfied customers. Some of them have used the service to wish people happy birthday or mark anniversaries. This strategy works well because the screenshots may be seen as more realistic than mere words on a screen. That’s especially true because some customers decided to thank the respective celebs by adding the correct social media handles to a post.

    Sometimes, Feedback Can Become Furious

    We’ve already seen how it’s sometimes important for people to be urged to leave social media reviews, and that, in some cases, the product being sold is so unique, people will gladly do so. This past Valentine’s Day, 1-800-Flowers quickly got exposure to the other side of the customer review spectrum.

    After weather delays caused holiday bouquets to get delivered behind schedule, hundreds of livid customers took to the company’s social media pages to speak out. While doing damage control, representatives reached out to people via Facebook and Twitter asking that customers use social media to provide details like order numbers.

    Although company representatives might look back on the entire event as a fiasco, it also demonstrates how well social media can be used to connect with people quickly and calm furious tempers as thoroughly as possible. If there’s one thing people hate, it’s complaints that aren’t adequately addressed, or maybe even completely ignored.

    Companies that respond proactively and make sure social media channels are well-staffed during projected busy periods could help steer clear of PR nightmares if feedback turns foul. It’s also good to have social media representatives monitoring respective pages so even positive comments get quickly acknowledged.

    When customers know someone’s out there and cares enough to type a genuine response to a positive comment, that helps nurture the strength of the future relationship between a business and customer. 

    Image by JoshSemans

    Juniper Research has revealed that by 2019 worldwide revenues from media tablet games usage will reach $13.3 billion -- that's a threefold rise on the 2014 revenue of $3.6 billion. The latest Juniper market study highlights that growth will be fueled by a number of key factors including improved storage capacity of devices, better graphical capabilities, increasing mobile broadband penetration and consumer preference for convenience and ubiquity.

    The video games industry has changed dramatically over the past decade. Historically, computers and consoles were essentially the only devices used to play video games, requiring a significant initial investment in hardware and software. However, these legacy devices have been supplemented by an array of alternative consumer games channels in recent years. First with the evolution of the smartphone, then with the emergence of the media tablet.

    Juniper Research has revealed that by 2019 worldwide revenues from media tablet games usage will reach $13.3 billion -- that's a threefold rise on the 2014 revenue of $3.6 billion.

    The latest Juniper market study highlights that growth will be fueled by a number of key factors, including improved storage capacity of devices, better graphical capabilities, increasing mobile broadband penetration and consumer preference for convenience and ubiquity.

    The Juniper market study also found that 2015 could be critical for smaller, independent games developers. The upside growth opportunity is significant. Total global mobile games revenues, which include revenues from smartphones, tablets, and featurephones, will reach $28.9 billion by 2016.

    Analysts say that in marketplaces containing over 1 million apps, greater funding would be required to optimize the opportunity to achieve consumer awareness, and suggested that crowdfunding would represent an increasingly popular option.

    The study findings also argued that there will be strong growth in monetization of smartphone games across emerging markets, with mobile service provider billing deployments increasingly facilitating storefront payments in countries with lower banked penetration rates.

    Juniper claimed that with micro-apps now being embedded in mobile messenger services, these may serve as an additional delivery channel for games in the medium term, stimulating further growth.

    Meanwhile, in a related Juniper market study, they concludes that amid declining sales, a shift to digital game software distribution and adapting elements of the free-to-play business model are inevitable.

    Competition from newly emerging dedicated game hardware manufacturers, such as Steam Machine and Shield, poses new challenges for the traditional players as well as an opportunity for the segment to revitalize itself.

    Other findings from the market study include:

    • Advertisements are becoming increasingly key in revenue generation, as only about 6 percent of mobile games will be paid for at point of download in 2019.
    • Diversified gaming offerings have resulted in a sharp uplift in the scale and session length of social or casual games among wider demographics.
    As a small business, you likely have limited resources and limited funds. You don’t want to be spending them on the wrong marketing campaigns. Content marketing is one of the most effective methods of marketing, especially for small businesses, but only if it is done properly.

    As a small business, you likely have limited resources and limited funds. You don’t want to be spending them on the wrong marketing campaigns. Content marketing is one of the most effective methods of marketing, especially for small businesses, but only if it is done properly.

    Where is my content going wrong?

    The number one reason content marketing fails is because it feels like a sales page. No one wants to click onto a blog and feel like they are reading an Amazon product description, especially when they know that what they are trying to be sold is the blog author’s own product.

    It’s also possible, however, that your content is not focused enough. A blog does offer you the freedom to talk about anything you want, but the most effective blogs stick to their pre-determined topics, topics that they know that their readers are interested in (or would be interested in, if they knew about that topic), instead of taking diversions into any subject the blog writer feels like covering.

    The posts themselves may not have a consistent enough voice. Some companies, especially small companies, in which one person cannot devote their entire career to writing the company blog, require many different staffers to write posts, so that there is always fresh content. What happens, however, is that the blog lacks a consistent voice and style. For a new blog, this can be a serious problem, as it is during this time that they should be trying to establish a consistent voice.

    Another issue that many content creators face is the desire to make something that will go viral. This creates an unrealistic expectation for content, one that will be failed to be met time and time again. In this same vein, many blogs will churn out content, just for the sake of having new content. Both of these are serious sins that can be difficult to bounce back from, once your blog is labeled as “trying too hard” or “not trying hard enough,” respectively.

    How can I effectively employ content marketing?

    A consistent style and posting schedule is essential for a successful blog, but it is not everything that is needed for an effective content marketing campaign. Here are a few tips to ensure that your content marketing strategy gets off the ground quickly, with as few hiccups as possible.

    1.      Write a list of topics. As soon as you decide you want to start a blog as part of your marketing scheme, start writing a list of topics. Keep this somewhere where you can easily access it and add more topics as they occur to you.

    This list can be either active or stand in reserve—you can either actively draw topics from this list, or wait until you cannot think of anything else to write about, and then revert back to these topics. Either way, they should reflect what your ideal customer would want to read, as well as topics that you actually find interesting and valuable.

    2.      Write a list of goals. What do you want this blog to achieve? Like most content marketers, you likely want to improve customer engagement and draw more page traffic. With those two goals in mind, start planning a blog strategy that mirrors the end result you desire. As problems arise, look at how your solutions relate to those end goals. Carefully consider the message and persona you want to project to you customers.

    3.      If you are going to have multiple authors, set specific style and content guidelines. These can be as simple as “no swear,” to being as complicated as ensuring that headers are in a bold typeface and twenty-point font. Once you decide what the voice of the blog should be and what the face of the blog should look like, incorporate those things into your style guide so that creating content is easy for those who are assigned to the task. It might also be worthwhile to include how to find images to use in your posts, how to create infographics, and other information that will make the content creator’s job even easier.

    4.      Think about your customers locally. Most small businesses rely on their local customers for a great deal of their business. In creating your content, consider the fact that many or most of your customers live in your local area, and that if you tailor your content to that area and their needs, you are far more likely to draw page visitors and store visitors. Putting a focus on the local nature of your business is usually a very good thing, as people tend to trust local businesses far more than large, international ones.

    5.      Engage with your readers on a regular basis. If people take time out of their day to read and comment on your blog post (or Facebook post, or Tweet), make sure to acknowledge that and even respond to it. This will build a personal relationship with your customers that is essential to the life of small businesses. This is especially important if someone asks a question—do not leave them hanging without an answer—they will remember and it will affect their desire to do business with you, even if it seems, on the surface, like a very petty offense.

    6.      Measure your performance. Analytics are just as important and useful for your content marketing campaign, as they are for a mega-blog’s. Use your analytics to see what works, what doesn’t work, what posts have generated the most buzz and engagement, and which have fallen short. Find a free online tool that shows you statistics about your posts and allows you to extrapolate insights from those numbers.