• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 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.
  • Similar to the concept of newsjacking, by carefully monitoring your competitors and industry, you’ll spot trends, gain insights and will know what’s causing a stir and creating buzz. This gives you an indication of demand, helping you target your activities accordingly.

    Agile marketing means being able to respond rapidly to changes. When it comes to online retailers, responding quickly to changes in the market, for example competitor price drops, is a crucial component of success. Never more so than during the busy Christmas shopping period.

    Similar to the concept of newsjacking, by carefully monitoring your competitors and industry, you’ll spot trends, gain insights and will know what’s causing a stir and creating buzz. This gives you an indication of demand, helping you target your activities accordingly.

    When you leverage existing buzz to your advantage, it means another brand has already done all the hard work, you just have to be fast enough to benefit from it.

    How can a retailer leverage buzz and benefit from it?

    Let’s take the example of the current John Lewis adverts featuring Monty The Penguin. As well as the plush penguins quickly selling out in John Lewis stores up and down the country, the popularity and buzz around penguins in general, means that the likes of eBay have seen a whopping 300% increase in penguin sales, whilst online retailer Etsy, has also reported a considerable increase in penguin related searches.

    This presents many different kinds of retailer with a golden opportunity to execute a rapid, reactive marketing campaign.

    The key is ensuring that what you do is relevant and timely. Leave it too long and you’ll miss out, as interest peaks and then goes into decline. Likewise, try and create some kind of tenuous link or tie in, and consumers will see straight through it.

    McVitie’s take a ride on the John Lewis Monty penguin bandwagon

    So what does this mean for a retailer? How can you take popularity and buzz and turn it to your advantage? For a better idea of how it’s done, take a look at how McVitie’s Penguin hitched a ride on the John Lewis #MontyThePenguin bandwagon. With their simple “This Penguin is for lunch, not just for Christmas” campaign which was rapidly executed across social media channels,  McVities provide a great example of clever and relevant agile marketing.

    Start by figuring out the opportunity, in this case, people are currently going penguin mad, and plush penguins are pretty hard to get. This presents many different kinds of retailer with a golden opportunity to execute a rapid, reactive marketing campaign, promoting anything penguin related that they sell.

    A penguin bedding set, a penguin story book, penguin onesies, DVDs about penguins, all manner of novelty penguin items. Anything you stock that is relevant will be extra appealing, and with penguins and Christmas top of many peoples minds, they are already primed to buy.

    Get clever with your campaign messaging, work on a website landing page, set up a PPC advertising campaign, email your mailing list and run social media promotions. Any retailer selling related products stands to benefit.

    It’s not just about penguins though

    The same principles apply regardless of what you sell. Did you know that every time a shuttle or probe is sent to Mars, demand for Mars Bars increases? Tap into unexpected opportunities by ensuring you are in a position to execute clever, creative reactive marketing activities quickly.

    Your website, email list and social media are the ideal tools that will allow you to bring talked about and in-demand products, to the attention of your customers, in real time.

    Recently Honda produced a new interactive video ad that serves as a prime example of creative advertising within social media.

    Viral ads aren’t a lucky break – they are the product of immense effort and ingenuity.

    Recently Honda produced a new interactive video ad that serves as a prime example of creative advertising within social media.

    Titled, “The Other Side,” this interactive mini-story shows one man’s double life by weaving together two parallel videos. As you watch the video, you can press ‘R’ on your keyboard to see the alternative, simultaneous story thread.

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    (Click To Play)

    Ads like these aren’t easy to make – they require immense creativity and long hours, but it’s content like this that has proven to have the best chance of going viral.

    Reddit, a site known for savvy audiences averse to advertising, championed the Honda ad, upvoting it to the front page – an incredibly unusual thing to witness with a blatant ad. Yet users embraced the video, commenting on the precision, artistry, and high-level of detail that is evidenced in the video.  

    Having users openly share and celebrate your ad is a marketing hole-in-one result. If you want your ad efforts to have similar results, take a page from Honda’s book. Create a high-quality ad and focus on:

    1. Effort. People enjoy seeing others do what they love and do it well. Modern audiences are savvy enough to distinguish between something thrown together vs. a work of labor and love. Today, what impresses users the most is content that clearly requires great effort and expertise to produce.

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    While polished video ads like Honda’s are an obvious example, this trend can be seen all across the web. Guides, ebooks, whitepapers, and tutorials are popular forms of content that succeed in part because of the tremendous effort involved. This is why the “Skyscraper Technique” works so well in online marketing – you don’t have to be the first to do something, you just need to do it better than anyone else. Works of immense effort are the ones that get a second glance from users.

    2. Easter Eggs. Much discussion of the Honda ad video digs into the hidden details and easter eggs scattered throughout the film. Audiences enjoy being rewarded for their attention and focus. The subtle secrets within the Honda ad creates rewatch value for audiences, and you can bet that the more a user watches a video, the more likely they are to share it with friends and remember it. 

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    3. Creative. Crafting something different and unique will always entrance audiences. Either one of Honda’s two videos would have been all right independently, but what really made this ad memorable was the interactive, dual element, with the two videos playing simultaneously, while the viewer hopped across alternative timelines. This is a truly one-of-a-kind form, and users enjoyed its originality.

    What do you think of Honda’s “The Other Side” ad? Has given you some ad inspiration of your own? 

    Here is mind game successful bloggers play with each other. “If you had to start over right now, how would you do it?” So here is my answer, an amalgam of stuff that worked and stuff I learned from mistakes I learned along the way. If you are just building a blog from scratch, here are the foundational steps I would take to do it.

    Here is mind game successful bloggers play with each other.

    “If you had to start over right now, how would you do it?”

    So here is my answer, an amalgam of stuff that worked and stuff I learned from mistakes I learned along the way. If you are just building a blog from scratch, here are the foundational steps I would take to do it.

    1. Don’t obsess with a niche

    Let me state plainly that yes … it is important to have a niche. You eventually need to carve out a little place on the web that you can make your own.

    But if you don’t know what that is, don’t let that stop you.

    Maybe you won’t discover your niche until you have blogged for six months, or a year. Maybe you will discover your niche based on an insight from a blog comment, maybe your niche will shift over time.

    When I started my blog I thought I knew my niche and found after six months that I hated it. So I changed it.

    Over years of blogging and 1,500 posts, I learned that my blogging niche is not writing about  Facebook, or strategy or SEO. My niche is me. My niche is the perspective I bring after being in business for more than 30 years. I think that is legitimate but it took me awhile to figure it out.

    2. Stop making excuses

    Everybody gets busy. And when that happens, if blogging is the first thing that drops off the table, you will never, ever become a successful blogger.

    If you write consistently – let’s say two hours a week – blogging will become easier over time. You will find your voice, you will find your audience, your confidence will grow, you will become more efficient. But none of this will happen if you don’t stick with it.

    Carve out at least two hours a week if you are serious about this and never miss.

    3. Spend time building an audience

    It can be pretty depressing to pour your heart into a blog and know that nobody is reading it. I am speaking from experience. I get as many page views in a week that I got in my first 18 months of blogging put together! {grow} was a lonely place for a long time.

    I learned that “Build it and they will come” is a great movie line but a lousy blogging strategy. Blogging is not just about writing. I had to spend time finding and nurturing my audience.

    Here are a few posts with ideas to help you do that:

    25 ideas for your social media network strategy

    Five proven ways to get more people to read your blog

    An insider’s guide to audience connection

    Five essential tools to attract a relevant audience to your blog

    4. Read

    There are about 10 blogs that I read consistently and a lot of other resources like Marketing Profs, Social Media Examiner and Hubspot that I scan for ideas and trends.

    Being an active reader helps you to be a better writer.

    However … don’t try to BE like somebody else. Follow your own path.

    5. Make it look professional

    If you want to grow your blog and maybe even build it into a business, the site should look professional. If you are spending a lot of time on your blog, why put it in a cheap-looking container?

    I often recommend to new businesses that if they only have a little bit of money to spend on marketing, spend it on a great-looking website. It is your front door to the world.

    6. Stick to a schedule

    Whether you decide to blog once a month or once a week, it’s important to be consistent. If you are trying to build an audience, they need to know when to expect something new from you.

    7. Become a blogger, not a writer

    Even if you consider yourself a good writer, that doesn’t mean you are an effective blog writer. There is a big difference in what we might have learned in school and what readers on the web expect.

    So spend a little time learning how to write for the web. Here are some resources to help:

    8 Ways blog writing is unique

    10 Maxims of Successful Blogging

    The book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley. 

    8. Be yourself

    To stand out you need to be original. To be original, you have no choice but to be yourself. Does that seem obvious? It’s not. It took me years to figure that out.

    Being yourself takes courage. I am still working on this and probably always will be.

    9. Think about SEO in context

    Optimizing your content for search may not be your top priority. Some people are going to have a twinge of anxiety at this piece of advice because SEO is a sacred cow in our business. But hear me out.

    For some businesses, SEO is essential, especially if you are trying to gain traffic to sell a discreet product like a clock or a computer.

    But what if you are trying to become a thought leader who aims to build loyalty? That doesn’t take “traffic.” That requires an audience. There’s a difference. And to build an audience, you need to serve them consistently with quality content, not necessarily keyword strategies.

    I recently wrote about the goals of different kinds of content (hygiene, hub, hero). The type of content you create and the relative importance of SEO must be in context with your goals as a writer. There needs to be a blend of priorities that fit your strategy.

    10. Know when to pivot

    When I started my blog, I thought that finding a niche meant being “on message.” I was afraid to sway from my core theme. Within a few months, I was bored.

    Everything changed once I allowed myself room to grow … and I am still growing! My blog is different than it was six months ago. It is radically different than it was two years ago.

    Some of this is because I am responding to changes in my audience. Part of the reason is because my interests have changed. But hopefully I am always staying interesting and relevant.

    I don’t see myself stuck in a theme or a niche. I am evolving. I am “pivoting” month by month, year by year.  Once you have found your niche, don’t be afraid to alter it. Don’t be afraid to {grow}!

    Well, those are some things that helped me when I started out and these are ideas I would use to start again. Which of these ideas had an impact on you?

    Illustration courtesy NatalieDee.com

    There are two critical steps to creating a content strategy that helps your brand get noticed and converts: developing buyer personas AND determining what questions they will ask at each stage of the sales cycle.

    If you’re creating content to help market your business, you know there’s a ton of competition for your prospects’ attention.

    So how do you ensure your brand stands out?

    There are two critical steps to creating a content strategy that helps your brand get noticed and converts: developing buyer personas AND determining what questions they will ask at each stage of the sales cycle.

    This post covers the first step … stay tuned for a second article covering the latter.

    What’s a buyer persona?

    A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customers. Marketers develop personas by combining real data with a good dose of educated assumption.

    You get real data by talking to your sales or customer-relations teams – the folks who interact with your customers on a regular basis. It’s also a good idea to survey your customers to get additional feedback straight from the source.

    And don’t just talk to your satisfied customers. Interview some of the people who weren’t so happy with your product or service to get a 360-degree perspective.

    What do buyer personas include?

    Typically, a buyer persona consists of basic demographic information along with defining customer characteristics such as needs, concerns, motivations and pain points.

    Consider Potter Paralegal Inc. This fictional company specializes in debt collection. When a client’s customer doesn’t pay, Potter provides assistance in small claims court. Like many companies, Potter targets a wide customer base. Its clients include bookkeepers, accountants and small-business owners.

    Each of these client segments is made of very different groups of people with distinct concerns and motivations. To be successful in its marketing, Potter must connect with each group in ways that are relevant to that group. To this end, the company has created a set of buyer personas that represent ideal customers in each segment.

    Betty, the book-keeper

    Content strategy for B2C business success

    Potter’s book-keeper persona is Betty. Though Betty assists her clients with collections, she has many other responsibilities, including payables, payroll, receivables and invoicing.

    If a client is unable to collect an invoice, she doesn’t have the expertise to handle small claims court. Nor does she make the decision to hire a paralegal. But she’s definitely an influencer in determining if and when a paralegal is needed.

    Bottom line: Betty wants to look good with her clients.

    Buyer personas

    Allan, the accountant

    Allan is Potter’s accountant persona. He runs an accounting department at a small manufacturing company. If a customer drags out its payables, he’ll have someone else in his department research solutions, but he makes the final decision.

    Bottom line: It’s all about the bottom line for Allan.

    Sam, the small business owner

    Let’s give Potter’s small-business owner persona the name Sam.

    content strategy

    Sam is a roofer. He’s busy installing shingles and doesn’t have time to figure out what to do when someone doesn’t pay. He also would rather not have to deal with it himself. Nonpayment of debts is upsetting for Sam because the money comes right out of his pocket.

    Bottom line: Sam is looking for someone he can trust.

    Creating buyer personas

    By creating buyer personas, Potter has put a human face on customer information that otherwise is largely abstract. This approach helps the company create tailored content for each of its audiences that hits home and encourages action.

    So how can you, like Potter, begin development of a content strategy and create buyer personas representing each of your target groups?

    The first stage of the process is to divide your prospects into relevant segments. There are many ways to do this, and the best approach for your business will depend on your particular situation and the types of customers you’re targeting.

    One method is to segment based on decision-maker status. Recall that Betty the book-keeper is not a decision maker, while Allan the accountant is. This difference had a significant impact on their personal “bottom lines.”

    You can also consider other contact traits. Betty wants to look good with her clients. Allan wants to deliver the bottom line.

    Other factors that can contribute to this process include geographic location, company size, market or industry, ethnicity, age and gender.

    Get a deeper understanding

    Once you’ve segmented your audience, you need to learn more about them. Questions to ask include:

    •  What are their pain points?
    •  What keeps them up at night?
    •  Is there a type of content they prefer?
    • Who do they listen to for advice on the decision you’re concerned about?

    What type of content will convert?

    After you’ve completed the information gathering stage, you need to think about the types of content that will appeal to your different buyer personas.

    At the top of the sales funnel, prospects are researching solutions to their particular problems. Potter’s top-of-the-funnel content strategy might include a different ebook targeting each of its client groups:

    •  For Betty, the bookkeeper: Top 10 Account Collection Suggestions for Bookkeepers
    •  For Allan, the accountant: 21 Tips for Collecting Receivables and Building Your Bottom Line
    •  For Sam, the small business owner: 10 Insider Secrets: What to Do When Customers Don’t Pay

    As prospects move further along the sales cycle, additional content is required to encourage action. Again, by focusing on your buyer personas, you can develop messaging that is highly targeted and relevant to your customers.

    A blend of art and science

    Creating buyer personas is part art and part science. It’s a best-practice skill that takes time to master. If you’re new to creating buyer personas for your business, you might benefit from a handy template I created do just that. Download it for free HERE.

    Though they’re fabrications, buyer personas are effective tools that allow you to be targeted, specific and concrete in your messaging. Content developed without the benefit of buyer personas is likely to be generic. And less likely to engage.

    This post originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

    Photo Credit: Marketing Strategy/shutterstock

    This week we’ve curated our five of the best apps for social media. They’re our favourite apps that all social media managers will love.

    We keep it simple at K.I.S.S, which is why we LOVE apps! From the weird, wonderful and wacky (check out the top 12 weirdest apps here), there’s really an app for everything.

    This week we’ve curated our five ‘o the best apps for social media. They’re our favourite apps that all social media managers will love. Some make your content look sharp and engaging while others, make analysis a whole lot simpler. If you haven’t already, download them so you can love them as much as we do.

    Followers+ (FREE)

    Track your lost/gained followers – perfect for building a quality audience.

    And track the following:

    • Who are your best/worst followers
    • Who isn’t following you back and who you aren’t following back
    • Who posts near by? Far away?
    • Track your Average Likes per Photo (ALP) and Fame Value (FV))

    PicFrame (FREE)

    Before and after photos on social media are very powerful. From hair and beauty to building and construction if you’ve got a before and after visual to share, do it with PicFrame. PicFrame combines multiple photos and videos into amazing looking frames and share them with your audience via Instagram, Facebook, Email, Twitter and more.

    Vintique ($2.49 AUD)

    Visually appealing and engaging content is a must on social media and Vintique is just the thing to help you. They provide awesome vintage filters and powerful image editing tools. Edit your photos with Vintique and boost them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

    Fotogramme (FREE)

    This app is great for social media managers with multiple accounts. Fotgramme allows you to access profile information, view pics, like, comment other Instagramers pics, follow, block users and search hashtag and users. The only thing that is not available is the possibility to upload a photos (like all third parties Instagram Api’s), nevertheless, Fotogramme seems to offer the best solution to multiple Instagram account management on an iPhone.

    Feedly (FREE)

    Feedly is our go-to app for discovering new content on the go. It compiles of the information we need to stay ahead of our game – completely tailored to what’s important to you.