How to Boost Facebook Reach

For some time now, Facebook’s organic post reach has been in decline. You may have 1,000 likes to your business page, but how many of the people who have liked your page are actually seeing your message? Well, it depends on how often people engage with your content, but the figures are alarming: estimates are around 10%, but some writers put the number as low as 1%. So your 1,000 likes may result in 10 people seeing your post.

With this in mind, how can you boost your Facebook post reach without breaking the bank?

Create Great Content – OK, this is a tough one. But there is nothing more effective in maximising your Facebook reach than excellent content. If you produce content that is fantastic, then people will engage with it: and if people engage with your content, they are more likely to see your posts, thus boosting your reach.

Ask Questions – You would be surprised with the effect that asking questions has on your engagement levels. People enjoy being asked their opinion and are often happy to share it. So use content such as asking open questions, caption competitions and fill in the blank competitions: a good way to drive your reach not only to your existing audience, but to new people too.

Know Your Analytics – There is no excuse for not knowing your numbers on Facebook. The insights section has improved dramatically over the years and you can now easily find out what time is best to post your message, what type of content works best and what your audience looks like (gender, age, location, etc.). You can also send messages to targeted areas of your page – for example, you can send a post to an audience segmented by location, gender, age or language. The more specific the message, the better the engagement.

Stop Selling – A lot of businesses go wrong with Facebook right at the start: they see it as a good way of selling more. But Facebook is not about that, it is about engaging an audience. If you were catching up with your friends and someone who you didn’t know interrupted and started selling something to you, how would you feel?

Advertise – I know that I said there were ways of boosting your Facebook post without breaking the bank, so why mention advertising? Well, Facebook advertising doesn’t need to be expensive. You can run a full campaign where you can select your audience and budget, or you can choose to ‘boost’ a post. This is where you can choose to spend a small amount of money to reach an audience that you select with one of your posts. You can see the number of people you are reaching as well as how that changes if you amend your budget.

How do you boost your Facebook reach? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

 

This article was written by Justin Wilson from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Content Marketing 101: How to Decide Which Piece of Content to Write First

You’ve learned the inbound marketing principles and are ready to start your content marketing program – now, the hard work begins. It’s time to start writing. But with blogs, premium content, press releases, and more to choose from, where do you start?

Deciding which marketing content to write first can’t be solved with a formulaic approach. Your goals, campaign plans, and personal work style are all factors that contribute to how you get started. Here’s a quick guide to help you figure it out.

First, Your Work Style

There are two kinds of people in the world: People who want to climb the mountain in one shot and celebrate accordingly, and others who see the mountain but focus on smaller summits between the base and the peak. If you’re the “climb the mountain” type, I recommend starting with in-depth content, such as an eBook or white paper. With this approach, you will spend a lot of time working on a big project that you can later repurpose into other content, like blog posts. If you prefer to focus on smaller goals, start with blogs. When you have accumulated a number about related topics, you can compile them into a more extensive piece. That said, there are times when your preference may be a factor you have to put aside in favor of larger goals or needs.

When to Start With Blogs

You need to attract visitors

Blogs are always a good starting point because they have a large impact for relatively little work. Because every blog post is a new page on your website, optimized around a target keyword, they’re excellent for SEO. They provide content to share on social let you communicate with your audience in a straightforward, approachable way. If bringing more traffic to your website is a primary goal, starting with blogs is an excellent choice.

You don’t have a lot of time or want to get started right away

A good length for blog posts is somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words. Because they’re significantly shorter than white papers or eBooks, and because they should focus on one specific topic, you will likely be able to write them much more quickly and easily than their longer counterparts. Writing blogs first is the best strategy when you want to get up and running right away.

You want to get the basics right first

Because blogs are the building blocks of inbound marketing strategies, developing a blog that posts on a regular schedule is almost always the best choice when you first start content marketing. In addition to helping you attract visitors, blog posts are a top source of leads for businesses and organizations in many sectors, so even when you’re facing a “lead problem”, the right blogging strategy is crucial for improving performance. Blogs are a good, low commitment way to learn how to produce inbound marketing content, which can differ from traditional marketing content such as web or advertising copy. Blogging gives you an opportunity to refine your writing skills before jumping into longford content.

When to Start with an E-Book

You have traffic, but you need leads NOW

Sometimes, however, starting with blogs might not be the solution. If your website is already attracting visitors, especially from organic search results, but not converting them into leads, it can be wise to first write an eBook or other premium content offer. Once written, this long content can be broken up and repurposed into blog posts, helping to expedite your blogging strategy and attract more visitors to the piece.

You’re learning a new topic or industry

Writing longford content first is also a good idea when you’re just starting to learn about a new topic or area, because of the amount of research involved. For some writers, it makes a lot more sense to conduct research all at once and produce one in-depth piece than it does to research several small, specific topics. Especially when you’re creating awareness content while you’re learning a new subject matter, this approach makes sense.

When in Doubt, Just Write

For me, the hardest part of writing marketing content is putting down those first few words. If you’re having a problem getting started, take the pressure off yourself. If the introduction isn’t coming naturally to you, skip it and start with the body of the content. If you have an idea but aren’t sure whether it should be a blog or an eBook, just start writing it – as the piece develops, you’ll be able to better determine if you’re creating a good topic for your blog or if you’re going into detail that requires an eBook. Don’t let yourself get so bogged down in what content you’re putting together that you end up producing nothing.

What writing tips help you out when you’re in a content marketing bind?

 

 

This article was written by Juli Durante from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


4 Simple Steps to a PR Pitch Strategy

“PR, as an industry, often comes under attack for its inability to map results back to tangible business benefits,” comments Kimberly Youngstrom, Group Vice President, MWW Public Relations. “While intuition and experience are essential, PR programs need the substantiation and justification that sound research and analysis can provide.” For your next PR pitch, instead of falling back on old habits, take a moment to think about strategy and see if it can help you elevate your game. Here are four steps that will help you take more strategic–and intentional–approach to your work.

Step 1: Do Your Homework Before You Define Your Next PR Pitch Strategy

Building any PR pitch strategy should start with research. In a previous post, 5 Ways to Turbocharge PR with Media Monitoring, we explored how monitoring tools facilitate brand, competitive, and industry research.

As Tanya Rynders, PR consultant explains, “When developing a PR strategy, I use competitive insights to ensure that my team doesn’t replicate an already existing idea. We also seek to uncover audiences that aren’t currently being targeted.”. She adds that research is also necessary for “keeping up with media outlets that typically write about your brand or product and staying on top of current discussions and trends in real time.”

Monitoring tools enable us to conduct this research in an efficient and timely way. On the macro level, monitoring tools expose our companies overall brand perception as well as perceptions of our competition, industry, and even customer segments. On a micro level, these tools uncover press and social media discussions about products or services similar to those we’re pitching. The greater our awareness of the competitive landscape, the better prepared we’ll be to achiever our goal: create the right message, to the right audience, at the right time.

Step 2: Set Clear, Tangible Goals

Too often, we pitch for the sake of pitching. Maybe our boss has demanded “a press release each week,” or maybe we’re trying to stay busy and show results. But we all know that you’ve got understand what you’re trying to achieve if you hope to achieve anything worthwhile. Here are some questions that will help us set our sites on a clear, tangible goal:

  • Who is our message ultimately trying to reach?
  • What message(s) do we want to deliver to that customer?
  • What are we hoping to achieve?

With answers to these questions, we’ll be able to develop a clear, one sentence campaign goal, which will help keep our messaging and outreach strategy focused. If we know why we’re pitching and what we are trying to achieve, the next steps to completing our PR pitch strategy will be that much easier.

Step 3: Hone Pitch Messaging Based on Research

By now we understand our customer and competitive environment, and we’ve set a clear goal. We’re ready to shape our message. What we have to say should feel newsworthy to the influencers we’re trying to engage, resonate with customers, and align to our business objectives and and brand voice.

Youngstrom sums up the correlation between research and messaging nicely: “At the end of the day, great insights provide opportunities to tell unique stories that resonate with target audiences.”

A well-crafted pitch should be concise and easily digestible.  It should inspire action and, as Youngstom points out, it should resonate. It can take some time to craft a message that achieves these results. Write a first draft, then spend time trying to poke holes in it. Share it with a colleague or two for feedback. If needed, edit, and edit some more.

Step 4: Identify and Understand Media Targets

With our pitch messaging completed, its time to decide on a distribution channel and find influencers that will help us to reach our customer.

Don’t spam your message to every contact you have. We’re all flooded by communications and no one likes getting ones that having no relevance to them. Instead, ask yourself who would appreciate learning about what you have to say. You can start narrowing your list down by further asking yourself if your message is best suited for a broadcast approach (press release) or more personal approach (individual pitching). Does the message have mass appeal or will it get better pick-up if we pitch it to a narrower, more targeted list of influencers? For example, if we represent a tech firm announcing a merger with another firm we have a mass-appeal message, in which case a press release may be best.  If we are the same firm announcing an upgrade to a current product ,our message has a narrower appeal, and we should focus on select influencers.

We’ll want to build our media list based on the subjects journalists in our niche are already writing about. With the right tools it should take minutes to determine which journalists have covered our competition, industry, and subject matter regardless of beat. Combine that list with journalists with whom we’ve built relationships and we’re ready to go!

Ultimately, PR pitch strategy is the foundation to campaign success. In simple terms, it means thinking through every decision you make so that it yields the best possible results—instead of functioning on auto-pilot. PR professionals bring to the table a strategic way of thinking about the communication between a company and its customer and it’s extremely important that we remember this as we approach every project. If we follow the above steps and use the available PR software tools, developing good strategy can be quicker and much more effective.


These 3 Brands Will Inspire Your Real Time Marketing Strategy

88 percent of digital marketers consider real-time, contextual marketing imperative to their overall strategy and success, so says a 2014 study by Evergage. Now that’s telling! Up until now, many brands accepted worthy real time marketing efforts as physical creation of content by company employees, often issuing such marketing via social channels.

Real Time Marketing Used to Mean

In the past, real-time meant responding to live events with a singular, witty Tweet. During the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo gave the world a taste of its real-time cleverness:

Oreo instantly tickled America with one viral post in 2013.

Oreo instantly tickled America with one viral post in 2013.

Real-time once meant physically responding to customer complaints on Facebook:

Walmart constantly reacts to customer comments, negative and positive, on its social platforms.

Walmart constantly reacts to customer comments, negative and positive, on its social platforms.

Real-time meant issuing seasonally-relevant content:

Lowe's posted this Vine around July 4 to take a playful, seasonal angle using its products.

Lowe’s posted this Vine around July 4 to take a playful, seasonal angle using its products.

It meant enhancing e-commerce by delivering promotional offers – or even developing dedicated microsites that encourage users to post via social, and shop:

Hollister sent me a promo via email to entice me to Tweet using its hashtag, and buy its products.

Hollister sent me a promo via email to entice me to Tweet using its hashtag and buy its products.

These marketing tactics, though clever, are ultimately one-time interactions, serving a valuable purpose for a defined period, but then soon drifting into the abyss of irrelevance. They undoubtedly have their place, and can enhance brand awareness and interaction exponentially.

But the fact remains that they are one message, one Tweet, one video.

Real Time Marketing Now Means…

Delivering repeated, relevant, real-time offers and messages across digital or offline channels requires a more in-depth kind of strategy.

These three brands have embraced futuristic real time marketing and simultaneously enhanced their customers experiences.

Applebee’s Grill & Bar

Applebee’s has completely adopted a modern marketing strategy that embraces what it really means to be real-time.

It markets to its thousands of customers in real-time in new, innovative ways. Through its mobile app, Applebee’s has built-in location services so it can consistently collect customer data based on where each individual customer is, and when. This allows users to also locate the nearest restaurant, navigate to the website, and view store information including hours, address, and menu.

Applebee's mobile app is user friendly, and uses customer data on a continuous loops to provide real-time information.

Applebee’s mobile app is user-friendly and uses customer data on continuous loops to provide real-time information. Photo credit: iTunes Applications store.

applebees

Recently, Applebee’s has also turned to the use of data and automation for customer food ordering and bill payment. Enabled by some 100,000 Ziosk tablets installed at its tables across all restaurant locations, Applebee’s has taken the next step toward futuristic, real-time customer experience. These digital kiosks are quickly gaining popularity at chain restaurants to enable real-time interaction with customers, and provide stellar customer service.

Applebee's is going futuristic with it's awesome use of Ziosk kiosks. Photo credit: Alex Konrad, 2013.

Applebee’s is going futuristic with it’s awesome use of Ziosk kiosks. Photo credit: Alex Konrad, 2013.

Applebee’s recently accrued a lot of national attention with its #TasteTheChange campaign, consisting of a live streaming webinar, free food trials, and live restaurant coverage. That’s just plain good marketing – and couple that with a real-time strategy, here’s one brand doing it right.

Netflix

You login to your Netflix account. You’re first prompted to identify yourself, assuming you’ve enabled two or three other viewers to access the account. You’re automatically sent to a customized dashboard, consisting of dozens and dozens of shows and movies all seemingly hand-picked, just for you. You see where you left off on your favorite sitcom, and suggestions based on previously-viewed or rated entertainment. You enjoy your show, log out to go to sleep, then login the next day, picking up at the exact spot you left off. How? In short, data. Netflix’s real-time engine provides its customers with an unparalleled experience.

Individualization and the ability to provide real-time, contextual offers are Netflix’s lifeblood. Imagine an online entertainment platform which was vacant of any sort of reactive personalization. It’s hard to do – almost like walking into a brick-and-mortar movie store. Netflix actually proves it knows its customers, suggesting next-best content that you’re sure to like.

This sort of real-time decision-making focuses less on outbound marketing and more on customer listening, using an inbound feedback loop. Real-time doesn’t necessarily have to mean the outbound sending of marketing messages – ultimately a great customer experience is the most important virtue a brand can have, and Netflix has it.

Netflix relies on real-time personalization to know you just like a real person. Photo credit: StaticWorld.net.

Netflix relies on real-time personalization to know you just like a real person. Photo credit: StaticWorld.net.

eBay

You can really mention other large-scale online retailers in the same breath – Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, and others. All offer online purchasing that’s enhanced by a real-time, next-best-offer solution.

eBay is perhaps one of the best. It fully integrates its real time marketing strategy across all customer touch points and all digital platforms. This omni-channel approach coupled with an individualized offer optimizer explains why it’s so easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Users can even pick and choose preferences to enable further individualization.


eBay's real-time marketing strategy helps it connect with customers with just the right offer. Photo credit: BusinessInsider.com.

eBay’s real time marketing strategy helps it connect with customers with just the right offer. Photo credit: BusinessInsider.com.

You look up one item and are presented with similar items in the sidebar. You navigate to another site, return later, and find the exact item or similar offers all ready for you. You make a purchase and are sent an email with offers that complement a previous purchase. Automating and optimizing a best offer, cross-sell opportunity is starting to set online retailers like eBay apart in the marketplace. eBay is marketing in real time, and setting the bar for other online retailers.

 

This article was written by Michael Becker from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


The Perfect Marriage Of Content And Social Media: How To Make It Work For Your Business

While some webmasters may bemoan the impact of Google content marketing drive and supporting algorithms, there is no doubt that this has improved the quality of content on the World Wide Web. After all, it was less than a decade ago that link builders prioritised quality over quantity, achieving a high search engine result for their clients based on volume rather than detail.

The days of investing just £6 and linking to more than 600 connected domains are thankfully over, however, meaning that webmasters and marketers are now required to create insightful, relevant and ultimately engaging content. This should be considered as a chore or a negative development, as along with the development of social media it has created a unique opportunity for businesses to establish themselves and thought and industry leaders in 2015.

Combining Content with Social Media to Good effect

This marriage of form and medium has not only offered brands access to a targeted, global market, but it has also provided them with guidelines for how to effectively engage readers. With this in mind, consider the following steps towards combining content with social media to good effect: –

Develop a Relevant Content Strategy

As logic would suggest, this process starts with the development of a relevant and advanced content strategy. This must be tailored to suit the needs of your industry and readers, so that your written copy serves as an entry point into a relationship with individual consumers. Your strategy must also cover both internal and external content, including copy that is created for diverse platforms such as your blog, individual landing pages and even micro-blogging mediums such as Twitter.

While this should be the goal of your content strategy, however, its implementation relies on a detailed easy to understand tone of voice. Exclusive to your brand, this should create a set of guidelines that can shape and underpin all written content, whether you are writing a 2000 word blog post or an update for your Twitter account. This helps you to deliver a consistent and effective message regardless of the platform, which in turn is crucial if you are to establish yourself as a thought and industry leader.

Prioritise Quality over Quantity when It Comes to Link Building

While your branded tone of voice should also dictate the nature of any external link building, there are also other factors that need consideration when cultivating a natural link profile. The first step is to prioritise quality over quantity when looking to build links, as you strive to identify clean and powerful host domains that are relevant to your niche. So long as use purposeful link building tool such as BuzzStream and Majestic SEO to inform your selection and refine all content to suit the destination website, you can develop a natural and productive profile.

Anchor text is also an important consideration, as the use of heavily optimised text or branded keywords will also prove damaging over time. Where possible, you should create content that includes natural anchor text, which adds value to the article and links back to an informative, relevant source. This negates much of the risk associated with link building in the modern age, and ensures that your external content can be used to its full effect.

Share Your Content Across a Tailored and Integrated Social Media Platform

Once your content strategy has begun to produce informative internal and external content, you will need to share this across your social media network. This is not simply a case of promoting your work across a generic selection of websites, as the range and quality of social media outlets has evolved considerably in the last five years. Even relatively new resources such as Snapchat have grown at a considerable rate since their inception, achieving in excess of 100 million active monthly users and developing a range of business applications.

Not only have these new additions added depth and diversity to the market, but they have also created an opportunity for business-owners to target specific demographics with their content. By understanding the membership demographics associated with niche sites such as Pinterest and LinkedIn, you can create accounts on the social media outlets that are most relevant to your brand. With market leading outlets such as Twitter and Facebook at the head of your integrated profile, you can optimise your reach, increase the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns and create measurable results and ROI.

 

This article was written by Laura Cole from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Social Metrics Then & Now: The Numbers & Nuances that Really Matter

Social as a communication channel has grown and matured. So, too, have opinions from marketers and community managers on which metrics matter the most. The pure numbers game—who has the most followers, fans, likes—has now smartly shifted to encompass a series of quality-driven metrics based on holistic engagement rather than sheer volume.

Because individuals are unique, the intent behind each social conversation should be unique too. Whether to deepen a relationship with a customer, close a deal or simply join in on an interesting conversation, authenticity is key.

As you focus on improvement rates, not just raw numbers, let’s examine three shifts in social metrics that shed insight into how well your brand engages, what your community says about your business and how well you foster relationships. Unilaterally, this approach to social analytics will be more impactful than focusing on rudimentary numbers showcasing one-dimensional growth.

Then: Audience Size
Now: Audience Engagement

Many times when I speak at events or talk with community managers, the first question I am asked is about ways to quickly and exponentially grow the size of their social followings. When I stop them and ask why this seems to be of such value, they are often hard pressed to find an answer. But can you really blame them?

When social was first adopted by marketers, the overriding focus was on quantity: How many fans does your Facebook Page have? How many Twitter followers can we get? The emphasis was not only on quantity but on the pace at which audiences grew. This apparently was the leading indicator of the influence of your brand. Admittedly, those raw numbers are easy to understand and, if going up and to the right, paint a nice picture for an organization and C-suite that may not fully understand social’s impact.

But let’s be real: Whether you have 1,000 or 1 million followers, what good are you doing if you don’t engage in meaningful conversations by treating each of them as individuals?

As social becomes a deeper part of our daily lives, the quality of audience engagement is a stronger indicator of your brand’s impact. Therefore, social teams should focus on measuring and quantifying components such as inbound and outbound conversations, number of touch points within a conversation and frequency of repeat conversations.

Then: Social Likes
Now: Social Shares

OK, I’ll admit, every time a Facebook post of mine gains momentum and racks up Likes, I can’t help but feel a little popular. It’s human nature, after all, to want acceptance, acknowledgement and even accolades from your family, friends and peers.

Brands are no different. Just as the raw number of fans and followers acquired is traditionally a focus, so too is the number of Likes or Favorites on a given page or post. While basic Likes are a good indicator of which posts resonate, truer value lies in shares. Why? Because while a thumbs up is an nice acknowledgement, a share says a person finds enough interest, humor or relevancy—that is, total value—in what you’ve shown to endorse it and pass it on to a broader community of trusted peers. Put another way, a Like starts and ends with your post; a share or Retweet lets your message reverberate.

How often your audience deems your content share-worthy is a good indicator of how well your messages are resonating at the individual level. To that end, measure what content and messages get shared the most, identify patterns among them and replicate your efforts to continuously provide captivating content that not only resonates with your audience (likes), but that they feel will resonate with their own networks (shares).

Then: Network Expansion
Now: Community Depth

Social marketers used to focus on how large they could grow their audience across all the major platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat and so on—the more people who saw the brand name, the better.

As social evolves, but resources do not necessarily follow, one thing remains clear: It’s not the scope of networks but rather the quality of your communities that matters. Thousands of scattered connections and disjointed experiences across a half dozen networks are not nearly as valuable to your brand as a few carefully curated network presences that focus on value-driving engagement and adding dimension to your brand story.

Networks are valuable for building brand awareness, but weak network presences are nothing in comparison to strong communities. Brand advocates don’t come from your “network”; they come from your community. When you shift your focus to cultivating your community, instead of simply expanding your networks, you establish a stronger base of loyalists who are ready and willing to spread the word about your brand. Identify the networks with your most engaged audiences, build relationships by tailoring your content to those audiences and enlist the help of your social data to identify patterns and trends to improve performance and organically grow.

Make the Most of What Matters

Social was once a space in which quantity prevailed, but it’s crucial that brands don’t stay stuck in that mindset forever. Remember, a strong community that engages with your brand is more valuable than millions of followers who sit dormant. Your brand is not a lifeless force—so the people you attract shouldn’t be either.

 

This article was written by Andrew Caravella from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


4 Ways to Pump Up Your Listicles

Are you suffering from lackluster listicles? Making lists is one of those content marketing vehicles that tends to work from a click-through standpoint: for whatever reason, people are more likely to click on subject lines that contain numbers. That said, not all listicles are created equal.

 4 Tips for More Robust Listicles

1) Treat Your Listicles with Care

There are times to let the listicles fly free, and times to squash them. I’ve seen too many articles that seem to be in list form for the singular purpose of being in list form. While conventions like lists and H2s can service demand gen KPIs (click-through, SEO), we can’t sacrifice the quality of the content for the sole purpose of those numbers. If we’re writing a how-to or a collection of tips, lists make sense. But if our primary motivation for a list is “Well, people like to click on lists,” perhaps we need to regroup. Unless we’re Buzzfeed, listicles should be balanced with longer-form content that explores a topic in depth.

2) Make Your Listicles Stand Out

Once we’ve identified the reason we’re writing a listicle, it’s a good idea to make sure we’re not borrowing someone else’s listicle. Doing a quick search (e.g., Google or LinkedIn) to make sure that someone hasn’t already written this listicle is a good idea. If we find that there’s already a decent amount of content around the topic, thinking of a unique position or hook for our listicle is how we can differentiate ourselves.

3) Tie Your Listicles to a Larger Body

While listicles should be able to stand on their own, they’re more potent when they’re supported. In addition to balancing the long-form editorial, listicles are a way to augment it. Mapping all of our content back to a defined business purpose and marketing storyline is how we can make sure that our communications stay consistent.

4) Test the Strength of Your Listicles

Click-throughs, traffic, and open rates are great metrics to measure the effectiveness of a subject line. But what about the content itself? Engagement is what we marketers are after, and measuring that engagement is how we can understand what’s resonating with our target readers. Metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and social shares are all indicators of the content’s success. (For more on that, check out this post on vanity metrics vs. actionable metrics.)

Have any other tips on better listicles? Hit us up in the comment field.

#MarketingMinds Chat Insights – Social Media Engagement

 

Here at Meltwater, we’re always open to suggestions, so after one frequent chat participant suggested we base a #MarketingMinds around social media engagement we were more than happy to oblige!

Q1. Why is social media engagement important?

Social media success comes from being just that – social. Unlike robots, we humans enjoy a good natter (“chat” to our non-brit readers). So don’t be shy, go out there and make the first move! @AgentPalmer suggests that social is all about the art of conversation, noting that engaging with our audience facilitates this. @QuestPR agrees, stating social media engagement is important for brands as it ensures our content, brand or business isn’t stand alone. Furthermore, @themiceblog comments that social media engagement can help us build a community.

@helenflannery_ speaks about how social media engagement can generate interest in what we’re delivering and how it can also spark new angles and ideas. @Snafflepuss states we have just 30 seconds to engage our audience and what better way to capture their attention than by delivering content that is unique and interesting to read? Unique content stops our audience from their mundane scrolling mission and encourages them to click, read, share and browse further.

As @akathmadevi rightfully points out, social media engagement can also tell us if our plan is working. @c0Sabrina adds that engagement provides actual audience insights rather than simply audience assumptions. Posts that receive high engagement tell us if what we’re doing is a success. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” learn from success and replicate this throughout the content strategy to further increase social media engagement. @travelopulent believes social media engagement is vital as it helps us create relationships and build trust with our audience. While social is a virtual platform, real people are using it… so real life rules apply. We’re much more likely to trust somebody we have communicated with in the past, rather than a stranger who pops up out of nowhere, makes a random comment and is never to be seen again.

If the above isn’t enough to persuade us to put our social media engagement hats on, @Annie_Kolatsis adds how engagement also ensures added brand dimension and personality, thus helping us stand out from the crowd.

Q2. How do you ensure your content is engaging?

@Snafflepuss and @AgentPalmer suggest we research our audience to ensure we provide content that is valuable. Media intelligence tools, such as Meltwater, can help us do just that. As mentioned above, by listening online we can see patterns in our audience’s interests and then tailor and personalise content around this. @mcsaatchimena and @taramomo_ encourage us to ask ourselves; “would I engage with this post or content?” If the answer is no, the chances are so will our audience!

@c0Sabrina believes blending education and entertainment is key to a successfully social media engagement. Moreover, acting as a consultancy on social, such as sharing “how to” or “top tips” posts can also help greatly. @helenflannery_ suggests that a way to ensure dialogue marketing is by asking questions. Moreover, since we are a visual loving nation, the use of images and videos are a quick way to boost social media engagement. @akathmadevi comments on the need for defining goals for each piece of content as this can help us identify indicators to measure, but more on that later.

Q3. How do you create social media engagement on 1. Twitter vs. 2. Facebook?

@akathmadevi states that chats are the best way to create social media engagement, grow a community and position a brand as a thought leader in their field. Meanwhile, @Snafflepuss and @themiceblog believe Twitter is the place where brands should start the conversation due to the real time nature of the platform, while Facebook is great for storytelling and is the best place to attract interaction. @mcsaatchimena agrees, suggesting Twitter is for mingling with our community, whereas Facebook is more visual. @akathmadevi advises we use social listening tools, like the Meltwater platform, as this will enable us to find meaningful conversations around our brand, our industry and our competitors.

Q4. How can we expand our social community?

@c0Sabrina’s top tips for expanding social community include participating in dialogue, which confirms that simply confirming retweeting or sharing isn’t enough. Ask questions such as “do you agree?”,“is there anything you would add?”, “what are your favourite examples of..?”  @AdeelMSami advises that community growth is made easier by providing valuable content at the right moment. The use of a content calendar is a great way to start. Moreover, when posting content from a third party be sure to mention the source, as this can open up the post to a much larger audience.

@taramomo_ suggests we expand our social community by listening on social media and identifying industry influencers to follow and engage with. @Snafflepuss agrees, stating that partnerships can present huge opportunities with regards to social media engagement simply by piggybacking onto our partners community. @TheSignDepot’s top tip for expanding our social community is to identify where the conversation is mostly occurring so that we’re not wasting time on platforms seldom used by our audience. Meltwater to the rescue again! Our tool allows us to see conversation by channel so we priorities and stream line communication.
@AdeelMSami sums up how we can grow our community in 6 simple words- Talk, ask, give, spread, mention, repeat!

Q5. What platform/s do you use to measure social media engagement?

Participants use a number of platforms to measure social media engagement, as this ensures quality of analysis by benchmarking results against one another. The Meltwater platform offers users the chance to measure engagement against a number of metrics including:

  • Engagement volume
  • Engagement by channel
  • Clicks by channel
  • Community growth
  • Most engaged members
  • Brand impressions
  • Top posts by clicks
  • Top retweeters.  In other words, Meltwater has your back when it comes to measuring engagement.

If there are any topics you’d like to see in future #MarketingMinds chats drop a comment in the box below. If you’d like to write a guest post, send an email to perri.robinson@meltwater.com

Kim Kardashian Has 3 Things to Teach Us about Brand Strategy

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Kim Kardashian is worth $85 million. The star has ventured into numerous markets including TV shows, food, clothes, beauty and even computer games; transforming herself into the ultimate brand! Much more than just a pretty face, Kim has built an empire in a short space of time with much of the credit going to her prosperous personal brand strategy.  Love her or loath her, she can teach us all a few things about brand strategy:

Craft The Perfect Message

As an expert in carefully crafting a brand strategy and message, Kim has successful moved away from the idea that she is only a socialite and is now seen as an influential business woman and couture fashion icon. Like all brands, personality and positioning is sculptured through clear messaging and when crafted effectively can change the way a brand is perceived by the audience.

Kim and her army of publicist have worked hard to create and implement her new personality and the role of social media has played a significant part in shaping this. With an Instagram occupied with images of luxury garments and a Twitter full of fashion conscious posts, Kim tailors her brand strategy message around the interests of her desired audience– designers and fashionistas. We can now find Kim in the front row of Fashion Week, (apparently) raking in $25,000 from a single Armani related tweet or donning the cover of Vogue- a stunt that truly cemented her role in the fashion industry.

Understand – and Use – Influence

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, we must be sure not to revert back to basics by solely targeting journalists to spread our message. An influencer can be a blogger, a TV personality, a singer, a democrat etc. The formula of influence is simple: Trust + Reach= InfluenceInfluencers earn this position based on their reach, quality of content and how well they/ the publication are respected.

With a predominant image in the music and fashion world, Kanye West was the perfect influencer to endorse the Kim Kardashian brand. Kanye is a well-respected artist around the world and has helped Kim distribute her brand strategy message as a serious business woman. Now, we’re not saying Kimye hooked up for publicity purposes, but rather the advantage this has had on the success of her brand strategy and influence this has had on them becoming the ultimate power couple.

As marketing and PR professionals, we must ask ourselves the below questions, the answers will point us in the right direction of the best type of influencer we should be targeting to endorse our brand strategy.

  • What are we trying to achieve with our brand strategy?
  • What is the brand strategy message we’re pitching?
  • Which potential influencer’s values align best with our message and desired outcomes of our brand strategy?
  • Whose endorsement of our brand strategy will mean the most to our audience?

Increase Brand Awareness through Engaging Content

Kim is often involved in publicity stunts to ensure she stays relevant in the media. Take her attempt to break the internet for example. Posing nude (for free) for Paper magazine was no financially driven deal, but rather a very successful attempt to further fuel awareness of the Kardashian brand.

Companies use news and social media mentions as a core metric for measuring brand strategy success via brand awareness and share of voice; both of which shot through the roof for Kim after the snaps were published.  What made this stunt so successful was that it was crafted with engagement in the forefront. Kim knew the images would make people talk, whether it was her fans going crazy for her curves or critics poking fun at the photos with witty comments and user generated memes. The self-assured hashtag #BreakTheInternet came very close to doing just that.

Kim and her team are also pros at extending the life of buzz by integrating various platforms into the brand strategy. A teasing image of a new shoot may be posted on Instagram, fed into Twitter and then shared on her blog days later, only to resurface once the shoot is made public. With such an active presence on social, Kim often shares news about her life, career and responds to fans comments, knowing how powerful they are as a marketing tool. Moreover, Kim shares fashion industry related content. Being a part of the conversation we desire to be associated with only enhances our position as experts in that field and our social profiles become a ‘go to’ for our audience wanting to know the latest news around the subject.

If you’d like to write a guest post, send an email to perri.robinson@www.meltwater.com

#MarketingMinds Chat Insights – Rebranding

On 16th March, Meltwater unveiled our beautiful makeover to the world, including our next generation platform and a whole new look and feel, from logo to brand colours! Fittingly, we thought it would be cool to discuss rebranding in the latest #MarketingMinds chat, so here are the insights.

Q1. How would you define a brand?

@AdotIdotspace and @mcsaatchimena both believe a brand is anything linked to an end product or service that identifies a company from its competition. Moreover, @themiceblog understands a brand to be a set of standards. As @Kat_Plunkett points out, standards can help create trust with our audience, though @kandesign and @JBBC remind us to ensure these standards are consistent through all brand touch points.

A brand is used as a shortcut to ignite a range of ideas and emotions that can help the audience with the evaluation process. When we see an advert for Johnsons & Johnsons baby, we automatically think of words like gentle, fresh and clean. This has helped the brand diversify into different markets, for example make up wipes, as the audience continues to view the Johnsons & Johnsons brand in this way, we are likely to continue to see more and more products introduced into their portfolio.

@firedogcreative offers a slightly more abstract definition of a brand, defining it as experience and culture. Experience, culture, employee knowledge and brand history are all examples of qualities linked to a brands image that are hard to imitate. This makes them sustainable competitive advantages and key areas to focus on when delivering a unique selling point against competition.

Q2. What are the benefits of rebranding?

@ThinkDesignbuzz confirms rebranding and change tempts the audience to stop and look again, something which is difficult to encourage considering the average person is likely to see 3,500 marketing messages a day. @kandesign agrees stating rebranding can help increase awareness of a brand and offers us a chance to engage with our audience in a meaningful way. Similarly, @Spectreoutreach and @firedogcreative feel rebranding can help create fresh value for a product or service.

@JBBC and @themiceblog both write rebranding is sometimes necessary, for example changing business environments, moving strategic direction, shifting perceptions or the expansion of new market segments or original brand offering. @mcsaatchimena also acknowledges this, expressing how things change and even well-known brands need to move with the times, this sometimes involves rebranding in order to remain fresh and relevant.

@Kat_Plunkett states rebranding has the added benefit of ensuring relevance to beneficiaries and alignment with strategic direction. @firedogcreative agrees adding rebranding is about showing our values through careful positioning and a consistent look and feel.

Q3. What’s the most important factor to consider when rebranding?

@themiceblog states the most important factor to consider when rebranding is staying true to our existing customers and communicating the benefit of rebranding to them so no perceived value is lost. From an internal comms perspective, @Kat_Plunkett thinks it’s important to make sure that all employees are brought along on the rebranding journey as they are a huge part of delivering brand values. We can ensure this by starting engagement with employees early and helping them to feel ownership of the process and new brand, as well as having clear guidelines. In addition, @kandesign suggests the Marketing and HR department collaborate to further streamline the rebranding process.

On the other hand, @brandingmag believes the most important rebranding factor is deeply involving the audience and using customer insights to see whether our audience have a clearer articulation of brand values and purpose. This can be achieved via social listening. Meltwater’s media monitoring platform allows us to filter comments on social by location, gender and sentiment so that we can easily analyse how our new brand is resting with our target market and devise plans to action accordingly.

Q4. How do you know if your rebranding was a success?

Similar to the point mentioned above, @mcsaatchimena states that increased brand engagement is a sign of success, although this must of course be positive. Social media is not the only place we should be tracking in order to understand rebranding success. Online monitoring tools that track news publications can also be used to understand the difference in:

  • Media coverage
  • Reach
  • Share of voice
  • Sentiment
  • Geographic spread
  • AVE
  • Top publications interested in the rebrand
  • Top themes mentioned around the brand since the launch

Q5. What’s your favourite brand and why?

@Kat_Plunkett’s favourite brands are smaller organisations who are pros at conveying what they’re about, for example Cultivate Oxford. @mcsaatchimena opts for a much larger brand, putting Apple forward due to the effortless buzz that surrounds the company. @themiceblog feels Four Seasons is worth mentioning due to their effective brand consistency, excellent customer service and modern luxury positioning.

@kandesign proposes Spotify as a top brand, stating their recent rebrand is also really interesting to look at due to their shift in personality and identify – from a tech brand to a music brand, raising the question as to whether millennials will buy in or not? @ThinkDesignbuzz’s favourite brand is Canon due to their array of high quality products, whereas @firedogcreative loves Honda because as a brand it’s bold and always pushes boundaries.

If there are any topics you’d like to see in future #MarketingMinds chats drop a comment in the box below. If you’d like to write a guest post, send an email to perri.robinson@www.meltwater.com

5 Sure-Fire Content Types to Generate Red Hot Leads on Social Media

How can you turn your funny, witty or helpful content into a powerhouse to generate leads on social media? By sharing it on social media of course. Social media can be a lead generating machine if you know how to use it, and it can keep your followers engaged up until they are ready to buy.

You already know that social media content needs to be a well-blended mix of both engaging and interesting, but even engaging and interesting can be narrowed down. Certain types of content provoke certain types of responses from audience members, and depending on when you are posting and what is timely, you may get predominantly positive or negative responses.

So what content types can help you generate the best leads on social media? Here are my top five content types for your perusal.

Humorous or Sharp Content

Most companies and businesses can find something to laugh about on social media. A well-placed joke or witty remark will ensure that your followers remember your name and will encourage them to repost or retweet.

Taco Bell, the American fast food chain, is legendary for its hilarious photos and tweets. They are known for joking around with their customers, and they sometimes get into light-hearted, funny arguments with other companies like Old Spice.

Remember, you are not a comedian. Your jokes should never be raunchy or potentially offensive. You will lose followers faster than you can count them. Of course, everyone has a different sense of humour, and not everyone will find the same things funny. That is okay. Some jokes will fall flat.

The one drawback with funny content is that it must be aware of any possible sensitivity. When a national or international crisis occurs, such as the Malaysian plane crash, it is not a good idea to try and poke fun at the situation. During these times, it is best to stick to a different type of content and pick up the comedy routine when things have quieted down.

“Teach Me” Content

One of the major uses of social media is sharing information with other users. As an expert in your field, you have plenty of knowledge to share with your customers, and by giving away worthwhile, free information, your followers might be more receptive to your marketing if they already trust your brand.

Posting content from your blog or other relevant articles or sharing how-to videos and ebooks is a great way to earn the trust and appreciation from your audience. Post articles detailing easy how to deep clean carpets or tips for organising your garage. For more help, your followers will come straight to you.

Try creating your own infographics and images. These are easy ways to compile statistics or teach a how-to process. They are also easy to share across multiple platforms.

Inspiring or Thought-provoking Content

Inspirational content gets people talking. Whether you are posting your favourite inspirational quote or a moving article you saw that related to your industry, your audience will at least appreciate the interest. The post might also spark conversation among posters and get them discussing your industry, sharing their thoughts and insights.

The key to inspirational content is to think like your audience members. What teenagers find inspirational may not be what middle aged women find inspiring. Maybe your audience has a major religious affiliation or maybe it doesn’t.

You can also present your own thoughts or opinions on a certain topic relating to your industry. If you sell clothing, you might post your thoughts about Photoshopping models for advertisements, but post your ideas in a respectful manner.

Be careful when commenting on general news. Some audience members might feel strongly against your views, and they will tell you in a not particularly nice manner. They also might feel that you as a company should not be commenting about something not related to your industry.

When it comes to national and international disasters, inspirational content should be treated as humorous content. If you want to comment on a disaster, be brief and do not try to tie your company to whatever happened. In some cases, it is better to not say anything, inspirational or otherwise.

Open Forum or Conversational Content

Social media was made for socialising, and with your whole audience following you, now is the time to speak directly to them. Direct engagement gets people commenting and posting.

This also means that you need to be social as well. Social media is a two-way street. If someone sends you a message or tweets at you, answer them back. Thank anyone who takes time to post on your Facebook wall and respond to any criticisms or comments in a respectful manner.

Marketi