Category

Media

Social2B’s Magic Crystal Ball for 2019: What to expect in the New Year in Digital Media

By | Digital | One Comment

Innovations are constantly changing our daily lives, from the way we work to the way we communicate with each other. For marketers who want their campaigns to be successful, it is crucial that they are ready for these rapid changes and are able to predict them.

As the New Year rolls in, digital marketing trends continue to evolve and here are some you are likely to see in the coming year.

1) A content distribution strategy

Creating good content won’t be enough in 2019. To succeed, you will need to share your content on the right channels where potential customers are likely to see it. In the upcoming year, brands will invest time not only in creating good content but also in strategies of how, where and when to distribute it.

2) More video content

In 2018, there was already an increase in video content. In 2019, the popularity of videos will continue to grow. If you are not yet producing any video content, now is a good time to start. Statistics show that 72% of businesses have improved their conversion rate through videos. It is expected that videos will become even more search friendly on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

In 2019, we are likely to see more:

  1. video demos
  2. personalized videos from brands
  3. live streaming videos
  4. 360-degree videos

3) Influencer marketing and referral programs will continue to grow

With the development of social media, people have begun to feel a sense of familiarity or even friendship with the stars and bloggers that they are subscribed to. It’s no secret that the more we know a person, the more we trust them. According to Nielsen’s global advertising report, consumers today place more value on word-of-mouth marketing than traditional ads. Companies are now starting to explore the benefits of strong social proof as well as develop a long-term positive relationship with the customers. In 2019, to promote the values of their brand, businesses will invest more in influencer marketing and referral programs. Brands will rely on their customers, employees and authentic influencers to spread the word about their company and to connect with prospective customers. The great example is how Motorola have used YouTube influencers to launch the Moto Z Family and Moto Mods.

4) More mobile users and micro-moment marketing

The average American spends 3.5 hours a day on their mobile phone. This number is expected to grow in the coming years. For us, as marketers, it means we need to target our campaigns on mobile devices. The problem is that every minute, mobile users are bombarded with tons of content that pops-up from different screens. In such circumstances, they cannot keep their attention and tend to move away quickly. Buying decisions happen quickly in micro-moments and we need to consider that when creating our digital marketing campaigns. In 2019, the focus will be on effective Micro-moment marketing strategies that will produce clear and memorable messages.

5) AI is here to stay

While it is unlikely that AI will replace you as a digital marketer, it will definitely make your work easier. AI will help automate marketing, analyze complex data to understand buyer behavior, personalize marketing messages and deliver great customer service. The possibilities of AI are endless and this is only the beginning.

6) Rise of chatbots

It is impossible to deny that in the near future, chatbots will be indispensable assistants to every company. According to an Oracle study, 80 percent of businesses already use or plan to implement chatbots by 2020. Chatbots will continue to develop and in 2019, they will help businesses communicate with their customers faster and more effectively to deliver better customer service.

7) Voice messages as a new tool in e-commerce

As per ComScore, by 2020, 50 % of all searches will be voice searches. Today with devices like Amazon Echo you can check the weather or even order pizza. In the future, AI like Siri or Alexa will be playing bigger and bigger roles in our lives, and therefore marketers will have to create a new type of device-based content. At the start of 2019, there will already be over 67 million voice-assisted devices in the U.S alone. It would be smart to use the opportunity this opens for our digital marketing content.

8) Personalization

Every customer is unique. Making the customer feel they are treated specially is the key to success. The upcoming year will be one of personalization on customer-focused needs. Luckily, we now have AI that makes delivering personalized marketing messages more effective and easier. In 2019, AI-powered analytics will be used by brands to anticipate customer needs and help personalize content, emails, and offers.

9) More integrated digital marketing efforts

In 2019, the need to engage your customers across different online platforms will continue to grow. As an average person uses several apps, search engines and social media platforms, businesses will focus on integrated marketing solutions to optimize customer lifetime value.

10) More Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality are very popular right now, especially in the marketing and advertising worlds. While VR will continue to develop in the upcoming year, AR will definitely be a trend in 2019. Brands will integrate AR in their marketing campaigns to engage with their target audience to make their experience even more interesting. In 2019, AR will be one of the central strategies to develop brand awareness. For example, in London Pepsi uses AR advertisement to engage with its customers at a bus shelter! AR opens a whole new creative world of digital marketing. We are excited, are you?

11) Integration of social media with other services

Let’s be honest: most of us cannot go a day without checking our social media pages. However social media is not just for cute cat videos and texting with friends, it is a platform our prospective buyers turn to when it comes to getting information about the brand and its special offers. It is expected that in 2019 brands will invest even more in social media marketing. The great news is that Facebook will continue to allow integrating their services with third-party applications. This will make it easy for new users to sign up to websites and apps.

With the fact that we spend more and more time on the internet, the digital marketing industry will continue to grow. In general, marketing strategies in 2019 will focus on the integrating, and engaging in unique customer experience. However, as always, success will come to those who stand out with their values and innovate quickly.

Infographics: Capturing Online Attention

By | Media | No Comments

Are you one of the 65% of the world’s population that are “visual learners” Often it can feel  like there is too much information on the web and too little time to take it all in. That’s where the infographiccomes in.

In this digital age we have short attention spans (stay with me people! There will be some links to some shiny pictures coming up).  According to the Social Timesour attention span is down from 12 minutes to 5 minutes which still to be me seems quite long. We have to have short attention spans; after all we have information and marketing messages assaulting our senses all through our waking hours (guesstimates range from 5,000 to 20,000 messages a day). Our brain would be overwhelmed if we tried to absorb everything that is trying to grab our attention. We make an evaluation of a website and how interesting its content is within seconds of the page loading.

Infographics suck you in; they are a great way of communicating lots of information in a creative and visually stimulating way. Infographics can make dull web pages immediately captivating and are a fantastic way to present content in a colorful digestible format.  They can be used to illustrate anything from political points to explaining what exactly was going on in the movie Inception.

Visual information can be absorbed significantly faster than verbal or written communication. Our brain can attach meanings to pictures far faster than it can read and process written words. “Every single day we create with 2.5 billion gigabytesof data from sensors, mobile devices, online transactions, and social networks”. That’s a heck of a lot of data swirling around online.

Infographics aren’t just pretty things to look at (although that is an undeniable appeal) they are an excellent way to keep your audience engaged and focused on your page and your content. The purpose of the infographic is usually to assist in the marketing of your content and to push traffic towards your site.

Once you’ve created your infographic masterpiece don’t stop there. If you already have a big audience, well done, if not please remember you are going to have to promote your content. Great content does not promote itself! You need to ensure you are engaging in promotional activities to get your message heard. Here are some tips to get the most from your infographics.

 

Share, Share, Share.

With so many Social media platforms available it is now easier than ever to get attractive visually appealing content out there. Get sharing on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and pinning on Pinterest to pull in more traffic to your site. Your infographic is the bait to lure people to your site.

 

Capture the Current Trends

Pick up on what’s trending at the moment and design an infographic around something topical. Make sure that it holds some relevance towards your own content though. Always ask yourself who your desired audience is when designing an infographic. Try to connect it to a recent event or to a subject that is affecting your target audience right now.

 

Simplicity

The whole point of an infographic is to make a visual representation of information that is easy to understand and absorb. They are designed to stand alone they should not require a text paragraph to explain what is going on.

 

Presentation

Do not spend your time putting a carefully crafted infographic together with fascinating information only to lose views and traffic due to an unattractive layout. Make sure you use bright colors and bold designs to make your infographic eye catching and if you’re really struggling for ideas find some inspirationas there is plenty available.

 

Get creative and get started. Many websites offer free tools and templates to get you started. If you need additional help with your marketing speak to the experts. Social media marketers have a whole range of strategies to help you get heard.

By Sam Shedden

Creating a Buzz: How to Use Social Media to Generate a Buzz

By | Media | No Comments

It is no exaggeration to say that if you’re not social, it’s like you’re not even there. Social media has become critical in creating a buzz around new products/businesses and marketing in general.

Creating a buzz around a new product or service is an integral part of any online marketing campaign. The aim of buzz marketing is to get people talking about your brand by raising awareness of your business in exciting and engaging ways. If you can get enough of the right people onboard then they will act as brand advocates and influence others to check out or purchase your product. It’s estimated that a staggering 80% of our purchasing decisionsare based on recommendations!

There are a number of techniques the savvy online marketer can deploy to create that all important buzz that will have customers and prospects swarming round their product.

“What’s In it For Me?”

Online shoppers are a shrewd bunch. As soon as we open our web browser there is a seemingly unlimited amount of information available to us and oodles of companies trying to grab our attention towards their products. With all that choice attention spans are mercilessly short and you’re going to have to provide an incentive for some people to promote your brand. Social media competitions are a great way to do this and prove to be popular. One third of all global consumers surveyed in a recent pollentered a brand or product sponsored contest in the last month. Chips maker Lay’s designed a great campaign around the creation of a new flavour. Their “Do us a flavour” app had over 740,000 users trying to design the new flavour.

Avoid “The 100th person to retweet this wins…” it’s a dull approach to competitions and bit of a Twitter no-no. Be creative.

Blogs

OK I realize it is a bit self-indulgent for the author of a blog to recommend blogs. But if you don’t believe me about the value of the blog then look at the big boys: 34% of the Fortune 500companies have a public facing blog and the number using blogs has increased year upon year.

Blogs are simple to start up and you will be surprised and how many people will read them and the buzz they can generate. Playstation.Blogis an excellent example of a corporate blog where game developers invite feedback from fans as they construct games. The developers get some great insight and the fans feel part of the creative process.

Interaction Creates Attraction

As cheesy as that sub-heading may be, (I love a rhyme) interaction with users is arguably one of the most important parts of generating buzz and attracting more interest in your brand. Invite comment on your posts, ask for feedback on your product, join groups, upload videos of the product in action and engage with your followers whether that be on Twitter, Facebook or any other social platform.

Once meaningful conversation gets going and more people become involved that is when a real buzz will start to centre on your product.

Influence the Influencers

This is a becoming a big trend particularly on Twitter. If you can get someone influential- an industry expert, journalist or if you’re really lucky Justin Bieber- to endorse your product this will help greatly in building that buzz around your event/product. These influencers often have thousands of followers and can greatly increase awareness of your product.

Don’t forget about Joe Bloggs your brand advocate though, they are just as important as the influencers.

When creating a buzz through social media around anything be it an event, new product launch, or a business launch it’s vital to remember you are building an online community centered on your product/business. It’s that community which will propagate your marketing efforts and ultimately the social media community who will create the buzz for you, summarized neatly with 4 C’s: “Customers, Conversations, Community, and Commitment.”

By Sam Shedden

Social Scalability: Media, Metrics, and Measurement

By | Media | No Comments

When it comes to social media marketing, the questions commonly asked are “How can you scale your social media?” or “Is social media even scalable?”  The answer to the latter is “Absolutely.”  Social media scalability can become a rather intuitive process if you have the right tools in place.   It all comes down to the metrics and how you measure your social media efforts.  Social media measurements allow you to deals with what actually happened, (conversions, clicks, etc.) versus traditional media measurement which generally only measures potential reach.   These metrics are constantly being refined as more integrated analytics platforms are being developed.

 

What Should You Be Looking For?

The way you measure or scale your social media will also depend on your industry.  KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) vary for each enterprise, as every one has different ROI drivers.  As your business goals change, these may as well, but it’s important to have a core strategy as a starting point that you can then modify later on as your business development expands.  When implementing a scalability strategy the key factors for measuring your success, especially with content marketing are:

 

  • Reach:How many views is your content getting?

 

  • Relevance:Who is your target audience and is your content reaching them?

 

  • Influence and Engagement Who is sharing your content? Are they valuable members of the community or conversation? Is your content starting a conversation or adding to one? Are people interacting with it?

 

  • Sentiment and Promotion:Is the response to your content positive? Are people sharing your content and promoting it?

 

These KPI’s are measured through a more qualitative method, but if you want more concrete numbers-based analytics you can also implement quantitative, comparative, and competitive measurement strategies to analyze the success of each of the above indicators:

 

  • Reach:To measure your exposure you should be looking at website traffic (unique vistors and page views) and conversion rates.

 

  • Relevance:Analyze if your reach is converting into sales, subscriptions, registrations, etc. – i.e. is your increased visibility bringing about an actionable ROI?

 

  • Influence and Engagement:What are the number of click-thru’s you’re getting from shared links.  How many repeat visits? What is the time spent on these visits?  Are people commenting on your posts? Are they retweeting or @replying?  Is there a change in awareness towards your brand? What implications show that a use will be more likely to purchase?

 

  • Sentiment and Promotion:Determine the percentage of response rate to your content that is positive vs. negative.   What is the likelihood that people will promote or share your brand? In addition, how are you ranking in relation to your competitors? If you cross-track their activity, channel usage and engagement, keyword traffic, and demographic reach in relation to your own you can analyze your ranking in the marketplace and the sentiment towards your brand in relation to the competition.

 

So What Does This All Mean?

So you know generally what KPI’s to be looking out for, but the question then is how do you actually measure these?  There are many tools available to help you such as Google Analytics and other monitoring tools, CRM systems to help maintain contacts, eCommerce tools, social media performance tools to assist in ROI analysis, and more.  By integrating all of these elements you can develop a strategy that follows the following steps:

 

  •  Strategy/Assessment:Figure out how you will align your social media strategy with your business goals and objectives when deciding which tactics are best for your brand.

 

  • Brand and Content: Once you have established the voice of your brand create, curate, and distribute content that promotes this image.

 

  • Establish Enterprise Metrics: Using the suggest KPI’s, decide which tools are best for monitoring your success.

 

  • Monitor and Manage: Keep track of trends in your analytics and use these to inform your progress and what works (or does not).  Tailor your strategy as needed to maximize results.

 

Next Steps: Social Value Chain

To ensure that your social scalability is truly up to size ensure that your “social value chain” is in tact.  This means that every department in your company holds value in your social scalability, so your social media needs to be integrated cross-departmentally, internally and externally.  Every business process you have has a social media impact, and you need to take that into account.  Especially for marketing, customer service, and HR purposes, your social media usage is essential for scaling the success of these departments, aiding in audience engagement, branding and PR, sales support, lead generation, reputation management, customer information, talent acquisition, research, and more.

 

Your social media marketing strategy needs to align with the goals within each of these departments in order to maximize your ROI.   Define your social media campaign parameters before diving in by solving for the KPI and projections, taking into account room for risk, Enterprise cost, and growth, and figure out how much of your budget you need to allocate for your social strategy.

 

Questions to Keep In Mind

  • Is my organization and my executive management team ready for Social Media Marketing and Branding?

 

  • Does everyone treat Social Media as a strategic effort or as an offshoot of marketing or PR/Communications?

 

 

  • Where in the organization will Social Media reside?

 

 

  • Will I be able to allocate sufficient budget to Social Media efforts in our company?

 

 

  • How will Social Media discipline be aligned with HR, Technology, Customer Service, Sales, etc.?

 

 

  • What tools and technologies will I need to implement SM campaigns?

 

 

  • Will ‘social’ also include ‘mobile’?

 

 

  • How will we integrated SM marketing campaigns with existing, more ‘traditional’ marketing efforts?

 

 

  • How much organizational training will we need to implement in integrating ‘social’ within our Enterprise?

 

 

  • Are we going to use ‘social’ for advertising and PR/Communications? What about ‘disaster recovery’ and ‘reputation management’?

 

 

 

Once you are able to answer these questions you will be all set to scale your social media marketing strategy to size!

For more detailed information, please click here.

How Gamification Done Right Drives ROI

By | Media | No Comments

For better or worse, nearly everyone enjoys a little friendly competition. A study by JWT Intelligence found that 63% of surveyed adults agreed that making everyday activities more like a game would make them more fun and rewarding. With this in mind, how can businesses capitalize on their customers’ love for game-like experiences?

Implementing an effective gamificationstrategy that ultimately drives the most ROI for your business isn’t always as simple as it sounds on paper. For instance, many gamification platforms are standalone applications, separate from the rest of the elements of its corresponding site or app.

Pitting your gamification platform against the other interaction points on your web properties defeats the entire aim altogether, which is to encourage valuable on-site behavior and drive loyalty.

Gamification Isn’t a Single Player Game

After examining thousands of gamification implementations, we’ve found that the most effective user experiences are tightly interwoven across different points of social engagement. In other words, gamification makes the biggest impact when it’s integrated with social tools such as social login and plugins like comments, ratings and reviews, sharing, and more.

Why is it so essential that gamification relates directly to the social elements of your site? In a nutshell, gamification drives engagement with your site’s different points of interaction. It offers incentives for consumers to sign into and actively participate in your online communities by leaving comments, sharing content and site activities, writing product reviews, and more.

Gamification as a Driver

As the infographic above shows, gamification drives other site actions that facilitate user engagement and brand awareness. Therefore, businesses seeking the most ROI for their gamification efforts need to invest in a solution that incorporates loyalty-building game elements with social plugins that act as catalysts for nurturing consumer engagement.

YouTube’s Traffic Comes From Mobile (what does this mean for you?)

By | Media | No Comments

With the proliferation of mobile devices in recent years, it should come as no surprise that many top websites are reporting users are accessing their sites from mobile devices at a rate which is increasing exponentially. This is evidenced through statistics recently released by Google showing how often YouTube is accessed via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. During its Q3 earnings callthis year, Google announced that YouTube received 40% of its traffic through mobile devices. If this trend continues, as it appears it will, it is obvious that the majority of YouTube videos will be watched and uploaded through mobile devices in the years to come.

The main reason for the increase in mobile visitors to websites like YouTube is that these devices have become much more powerful in the last few years. Not only have their hardware capabilities increased dramatically, but mobile networks have picked up the pace as well. 4G LTE networks, like that of Verizon Internet for example, are even faster than the home broadband connections that many web surfers are still using today. It takes a speedy connection to be able to stream a YouTube video over the airwaves and, quite suddenly, mobile data devices appear to be up to the task.

 

Another reasonthat users are accessing YouTube through their phones or tablets more often is because almost each and every one now comes with a video camera. In only a few seconds, a user can shoot a video on their device, open the YouTube app, and upload their video. With such an easy process for uploading videos, it seems as if YouTube and mobile devices go hand-in-hand.

 

So, what does this mean for companieswho are using YouTube to help grow their brand? Most people have experienced the frustrating situation of a smartphone or tablet that is taking too long to load a webpage. This can not only happen when the mobile device has bad reception, but also when the page it is trying to load is not optimized for the mobile web. Such issues should be taken into account when creating a YouTube marketing campaign or advertisement.

 

YouTube videos that are shorter in duration and more to the point will not only load quicker, but capture the viewer’s attention much quicker as well. Most people use their mobile devices when they are on the go, which means they do not have the time to watch a 10-minute video no matter how engaging it might be. They simply want to be entertained or enlightened during the few seconds or minutes they have to spare.

 

In the future, YouTube and mobile devices will only become more integrated than they already are. Google is the parent company of both Androidand YouTube. Therefore, they could theoretically blend these two products into one as much as they desire and other companies like Apple would be forced to keep up with the pace.

 

It appears that technology as a whole is all about mobility now. The distinction between home computers and tablets is shrinking. This is something every company and its marketing team must keep in mind if they intend to create cutting-edge advertising campaigns. With that said, by optimizing YouTube videos for mobile devices and viewers who have a very short attention span, those videos will be able to better send the intended message and have a much greater impact on the target audience when they do.