• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 17, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • Welcome to another Social Media Today webinar, part of the Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic: "Predictions for 2015: Start Off the New Year Knowing the Future of Social."

    This week I moderated another Social Media Today webinar as part of their Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of Predictions for 2015: Start Off the New Year Knowing the Future of Social. This webinar was sponsored by Act On Software and featured four all-stars on our panel: Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang), the Chief Catalyst and Founder of Crowd Companies; Renee Ducre (@rducre) the Global Director of Social Business Marketing for IBM; Charlie Treadwell (@ctreadwell), the Director of Social Marketing at Symantec; and Don Bulmer (@dbulmer) the Vice President of Communication Strategy at Shell. We discussed what each person is predicting for 2015.

    Here are 4 of the key take-aways:

    1. The Collaborative Economy is here – so how are you planning on adapting?  The movement is well funded with over 8 billion dollars and no signs of slowing. For comparison, popular social networks were funded with just over 5 billion dollars.
    2. Real time sales and service – Charlie made the point that delivering real-time content to sales and service enables our front lines interfacing with customers to create value by providing content that makes their jobs easier, answers the questions customers are asking, and sets Symantec up as the trusted expert in a real-world relationship.
    3. Cause Marketing will be in vogue in 2015 – Don cited several example companies (CVS comes to my mind when I think of good cause marketing). And the numbers have been growing; cause sponsorship is predicted to exceed $1.84 billion by the end of 2014.
    4. If content is king, then analytics is queen - Content marketing will continue to be “king”, and to stay competitive companies will need to become more efficient with their social analytics. NOTE: 70% of companies that have social analytics are still not using it!

    To get a copy of the slides or listen to the replay please click here. You can also scan the highlights of this webinar on Twitter by reading the following Storify: 

    Our next webinar is on January 13th 2015, when we will discuss Real-Time Marketing is So Last Year: Getting Ahead of Your Real-Time Data. Be sure to sign up for it or view the schedule of other upcoming webinars.

    "Dear Socially Stephanie: How much should you differentiate your message when you post on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn? Does the overall tone and message vary even for the same subject, or does it not really matter?"

     

     

    Dear Socially Stephanie,
    How much should you differentiate your message when you post on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn? Does the overall tone and message vary even for the same subject, or does it not really matter?

    Professor in Princeton


    Dear Professor in Princeton,

    Well, well, well aren't you on to something! I'm glad you brought this up, because it is a really important question. So let me start by saying this: context is just as important as content, if not more so.

    Social media success relies on your ability to communicate with your audience in the way the social network you are using dictates. Let's think of social media as a big college campus - say, Indiana University. Each social network represents a different class. Just as you wouldn't show up to your creative writing class with a calculator, you shouldn't show up to Twitter with a long post that's meant for your blog. Got it?

    The bottom line is: keep the content geared towards what the users on that network are used to, the content they enjoy consuming. Does that meant the content should be completely different on each network? No, not at all. It does mean that it needs to comply with what works where and when. To understand that better, we should dig into best practices on each network a bit to give you a guideline to work within.

    LinkedIn is the network that people attend to for one reason and one reason only - business. In order for your content to get the most eyeballs here it has to appeal to the educational or money-making side of things. It should be straightforward. Business people don't have time to lollygag around all day, and LinkedIn isn't for casual perusers. Content on LinkedIn should be posted in the early morning or around lunch time, so that there's plenty of time left during business hours for people to see it.

    Twitter is where people head to for news. Your content needs to be short, punchy and if it's really important can include an image. Images get more traction, but only when you use them correctly. Journalistic, broadcast style content works best, and clicking through to the link should be the call-to-action.

    Google+ is the most sophisticated network of them all. Content here should be a bit on the longer side. As the network is male and tech-oriented, the content should reflect that tone. If you really want your content seen and acted upon, stick to the Communities, as they are highly active and highly engaging. Don't sound too sales-y.

    Facebook is the nosiest network of them all. It's like recess or lunch break conversations. People are here to gossip, voice their opinion and snoop around. Light-hearted, funny and image- centric or video content will work magic for you here.

    Now, even though you didn't mention them in your question, I'm going to give you a bonus. When it comes to Instagram and Pinterest, obviously visuals matter more than anything else. If you don't have a visual story to tell, don't waste your time on these networks. You'll be flapping your arms to stay afloat but won't go anywhere.

    So what does that look like in the real world? One piece of content can be changed up in various different ways. When it comes to social media, it's not all about the bass, it's all about the repurpose. Well, there you have it. Good luck!

    Socially,
    Stephanie

    Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?

    Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)

    As content marketers, our goal is to authentically connect and engage with consumers. By trying to set the trends, are we manufacturing experiences? Shouldn’t we be letting our online audiences organically set trends themselves? It’s our job to monitor their experiences with our products, with other products, and then use that to create better, more relevant experiences for them, not us.

    Time Magazine recently published an article about Pantone unveiling its new Color of the Year for 2015. Author Tynan Sinks claims boredom over the manufactured trend, arguing that anything truly trendy, happens organically:

    People see something, respond to it, and incorporate it into their own lives. Like, I don’t know,dark lipsticks, messy fishtail braids, or literally anything on Pinterest. All of that caught on because that stuff is cute. No one just decided on those certain things and handed them down to us.

    It got me thinking. As content marketers, our goal is to authentically connect and engage with consumers. By trying to set the trends, are we manufacturing experiences? Shouldn’t we be letting our online audiences organically set trends themselves? It’s our job to monitor their experiences with our products, with other products, and then use that to create better, more relevant experiences for them, not us. Otherwise, it feels a bit lazy. Impersonal, even.

    With that in mind, here are the most basic steps you can take to help you organically follow / piggyback off trends that may already be bubbling under the surface. It’s as simple as:

    Listening – There’s no better way to understand your target audience than by simply listening to the audience you already have. Open up the floor for them to communicate what they’ve been doing, how they’ve been using your product, and what they’d like to see from you in the future. Considering them members of your product development team will create an organic flow of everlasting feedback. Things you can do:

    • Surveys

    • Email nurturing campaigns

    • Focus groups

    • Questionnaires

    • FAQ page response monitoring

    Watching – What are your audiences doing online? Where are they spending time, who are they socializing with, why, and what about? Imagine all of the places they visited to learn more about your brand: your website, your social accounts, review sites, etc; searching for answers to the same questions. Take the same amount of time they’ve invested in learning about you, and invest it back in them. Places you can frequent:

    • Twitter

    • Google+

    • Pinterest

    • Quora

    • LinkedIn Groups

    Responding – Once you’ve done your listening, take that information and create personas. This will allow you to better monitor for those specific bubbling conversations that can be turned into action plans for a better product or service. Each place you frequent will house analytics for user demographics, locations, and even the interests of your audiences. Segment your audiences based on that data, and then you’ll truly be able to recognize and respond to the dialogue taking place within each group.

    According to Pantone, Marsala is the color you’ll be seeing at all of this year’s holiday parties and beyond. And while Pantone won’t be profiting from the purchases of those dresses, the buzz certainly doesn’t hurt. But for the rest of us, when it comes to driving business forward, we need to focus less on trying to set the trends and more on getting ahead of the curve of what our audiences are already talking about, wishing for, and interacting with. All you have to do is keep your finger on the pulse.

    Just like fishing tactics in real life, the better marketers understand the Facebook advertising environment and system, the better the results of future campaigns. Here are four advanced targeting tactics business owners and marketers can use to improve their Facebook ad campaigns.

    With more than 1.35 billion users around the world, there’s a good chance that the target audience for any business can be found on the social network. That’s great in principle, but in reality, it’s about as helpful as saying, “There are fish in the ocean.” Marketers need to know how to fish for their target audiences when using Facebook to promote content, events, sales and more.

    Fortunately for marketers, Facebook makes it easy for page administrators to find and target specific audiences once they start using paid content. However, the system is more complex and robust than people realize. And just like fishing tactics in real life, the better marketers understand the Facebook advertising environment and system, the better the results of future campaigns. Here are four advanced targeting tactics business owners and marketers can use to improve their Facebook ad campaigns.

    1. Include Your Major Competitors as an Interest Target
      This first tip is a simple way for marketers to chip away at their competitors market share by peeling away a few customers with enticing Facebook ads. When selecting interests to target in the ad creation menu, just include the names of large competitors or national brands. For example, if a business is trying to sell supplements, they can target fans of national chains such as GNC or The Vitamin Shoppe. Many of these fans will be loyal to the brand, but most consumers won’t ignore a good price or a product with better features if they see it in an ad.

    2. If You Have the Data, Use Custom Audiences
      When trying to calm down privacy advocates, Facebook often emphasizes the fact that marketers can’t target specific people with Facebook ads, but that isn’t entirely true. Facebook allows marketers to create custom audiences which includes creating audiences based on email mailing lists. In practical terms, this means that if a company has an opt-in email list, they can import that data into Facebook. If any of those email addresses is being used to login to Facebook, the logged-in user would see the marketers ad. So while it’s not guaranteed that a particular person from that group would see the ad, it’s still a lot more targeted than many realize. At any rate, marketers can take advantage of this to integrate their email marketing and social media marketing campaigns. This can be very beneficial. A study from earlier this year found that when consumers saw the message on Facebook and via email, the response rate increased by 22 percent. However, when using data in this way, business owners need to be careful. For example, it would be wise to include a line in the privacy policy that states the marketer may use their email address in such a way, or at least make sure there’s nothing in the policy that says you wouldn’t do it.

    3. Use Behavior Options to Zero In Likely Engagers
      Because of the nature of the platform, Facebook is very good at identifying people’s interests, but less good at identifying their behavior patterns. To fix this shortcoming, Facebook gets a trove of behavior data from their 3rd party partners, which marketers can use to cast their bait where the fish are biting. For example, clothing retailers can’t target users based on the type of clothes they buy. Similarly, realtors can find people who are plan on moving soon and travel agents can find users who are frequent flyers. For any goal of a marketing campaign, there is a behavior that correlates to it that marketers can include in their targeting. There are some limitations to the effectiveness and accuracy of the behavior data, but it’s definitely something marketers should try for some of their ad sets.

    4. Targeting By Location
      Facebook has several options for targeting users by location. These features are essential for local marketers. The simplest way to include location in targeting is to select a particular city or state for the ad to run in. This is targeted enough for most marketers, but Facebook has made the system even better by introducing Local Awareness Ads earlier this year. These ads can be targeted with a specific radius around an address. This feature is still being rolled out, but once available, a marketer can use it send ads to people when they are in a location to take advantage of the deal. This makes Facebook a valuable tool for increasing foot traffic to local stores, boutiques or restaurants.

    Facebook may be a vast sea of people, but that doesn’t mean that marketers need to search the waters blindly. Using these advanced tips for targeting audiences makes it possible to get ads in front of the right people. And when the right people, see the right message, at the right time, then advertising is usually effective in that situation. Use these advanced tactics when targeting audiences on Facebook, and you can land the big fish.

    For more news on changes and updates on Facebook, read this article about changes to the Facebook Terms of Service and Privacy Policies that go into effect in a couple of weeks.

    Your marketing database is a veritable treasure trove of actionable insights – if you are willing to work hard with your data. Mining for gold is a filthy business, but the returns can be massive.

    Here we look at five reasons why your business should be investing time and effort in mining your marketing database. Your marketing database is a veritable treasure trove of actionable insights – if you are willing to work hard with your data. Mining for gold is a filthy business, but the returns can be massive. Here we look at five reasons why your business should be investing time and effort in mining your marketing database.

     

    1. Upsell opportunities

    Deep analysis of your data allows you to identify new opportunities using the information you already have. Customers who have previously bought product A, may well be interested in product B, which provides additional functionality. Your existing customers are also your most valuable, so it makes good business sense to prioritise them with value-added offers to generate additional revenue. 

    “75% of consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences.” Global Customer Service Barometer Report - American Express 2012.

    2. Poach from your competition

    Not all marketing data has to be stored in your system for instance. Proactive monitoring of open social channels will identify potential leads who have reached out to your competitors. You can use this information to create specially targeted offers, such as personalised discount vouchers, as a way of enticing buyers to consider your brand.

    "Nearly 15% of organisations don’t know what percentage of requests originate in the social sphere as they aren’t programmatically monitoring or engaging in support conversations on social." – Social Media and Customer Service: From Listening to Engagement – Aberdeen Group.

    3. Build a community of brand advocates

    Even in the digital age, word-of-mouth referrals are both powerful and effective. Cross-referencing market data with social sources will help you identify customers who have expressed positive sentiments towards your brand. This information can then be used to build a loyalty club, provide early product access opportunities or other experiences that encourage further engagement with your brand.

    “Marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than 2X the sales of paid advertising.” – McKinsey Research.

    “Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate.” – Deloitte.

    4. Create new product innovations

    The people who use your products and services are also those most likely to identify shortcomings or potential enhancements. Whether you use your contact data to follow customers up with surveys, or you simply monitor online sentiment, there will always be new input available that can be fed back to your product development team. At the very least, you should be able to carry out the earliest stages of market research using this information. Admittedly this isn’t a direct sales technique, but developing new products that have been crafted to specific customer needs is a powerful USP.

    5. Deliver improved support

    Using what you know about your customers to provide exceptional support and services is an excellent way to create brand loyalty. Again, this is not necessarily a sales tactic, but it has been shown to boost revenue.

    “55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience.” – Defaqto Research.

    Knowing what your customers want and delivering it is a sure fire route to success.

    Takeaways:

    So is it worth investing in further data analysis? Absolutely! You can:

    • Up-sell and cross-sell existing customers with relative ease.
    • You can target buyers who may be headed towards your competitors’ offerings.
    • You can build a community of brand advocates to spread your message for you.
    • You can improve your product and service offerings.
    • You can create an exceptional customer experience, raising revenue in the process.