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May 9, 2013 in event, social media | Tags: alex fernandez, marketing, measurement, pushing the envelope, Social Fresh, social fresh east, social media, social media marketing, Southwest Florida, swfl, tiffany whitaker, tips, twitter, youtube | Leave a comment
By: Tiffany Whitaker
In April our Grand Poobah, Samantha Scott, APR, gave us (me and Alex Fernandez, our Internet Marketing Strategist) the incredible opportunity to attend the 2013 Social Fresh East conference in Tampa, Florida. The event included numerous guest speakers presenting a wide range companies. From JetBlue to ESPN to author and marketer, Chris Brogan, we were inundated with insights, thought provoking concepts and marketing advice from top strategists in the industry. Here of a few highlights from segments and that inspired me:
Don’t worry about content, worry about “Youtility”
In Jay Baer’s segment, Youtility: Why Smart Companies are Helping, not Selling, he talked about a kind of marketing that was so useful, people would pay for it. In a world where everyone is on social (your Mom, your sister, your grandparents, your best friend… and your favorite hang-out), companies are competing for attention. Mr. Baer, a best-selling author, asked, “Are you more interesting than my wife?” That’s the level your content needs to be at!
So, what is “Youtility”? In summary, it’s content that educates, informs, helps the customer… it answers the consumer’s questions. Did you know B2B customers contact a sales representative after more than 70% of the purchase decision is already made? He offered up a great example executed by Hilton Hotels and their activity on Twitter. A customer of Magnolia Hotel, a competitor, on Twitter asked where there were some good local restaurants in the area. Hilton Hotels responded with helpful suggestions. Do you think the chance of that customer checking for a room a Hilton Hotel will increase on their next visit? Most likely.
Remember, Youtility is not a project; it is a process that never ends.
If Content is King, Connection is Queen
Ted Rubin, a leading social media strategist, provided insight into content creation, building relationships, and connecting. In his segment, Content Creation is the Ultimate Fan Advocacy, Mr. Rubin pointed out a common question we (social media advocates) hear from potential clients all the time, “What is the ROI of social? He went on to explain that the answer is… actually another question.
What is the ROI of Trust? Loyalty? Social media is a means of building relationships with your customers and to do that we must provide emotionally connected content! So, how do you connect with people in a way that builds a relationship? Build trust. With interaction as a foundation, a company must be true to their word, authentic, genuine and consistent. He referenced Saks and how they hug their customers instead of just handing them a bag after a purchase. On social media, look to embrace your customers, hear them, and aim for ongoing engagement. “Relationships are the new currency… honor them, invest in them, start measuring your ROR.”
Remember, social is not the relationship itself and just “being on social” is not enough to build relationships.
Don’t be Data Rich and Insight Poor
The Campbell Company’s leader of social media and digital marketing, Adam Kmiec stresses, “Don’t measure data if you’re not going to do something with it!” And you should be doing something with it. Mr. Kmiec’s segment, Building an Insights Driven Social Organization, focused on insights, not data. We must turn data into insights and insights into action or it’s useless.
So, how do you accomplish this? He advises finding the right platform to measure (and we know there are so many that is a feat in itself) is the first step. Decide what you want from the model/platform (part of the planning process we’ve stressed so many times before). Then, choose the one that will get you the right data so that you are capable of gathering the insights you need. Leverage those insights by turning them into action. Simply, capitalize on strengths and improve where weak. Identify missed opportunities and take advantage of them moving forward.
Remember, having the numbers isn’t enough. That’s just the start. Use them to determine what’s working (and what isn’t) and then implement plans to enhance your efforts moving forward.
Hungry for more?
By: Alex Fernandez
Internet Marketing Strategist
The world turns to a combination of search and social media for information. Boom. Blog complete.
Okay, I’m not getting off the hook that easy! It’s actually a little more intricate than that. Generally speaking – what I said is 100% true, according to studies by GroupM and comScore in 2011. Online users use both search AND social to find information about businesses and make buying decisions. As such, we advocate a combination of SEO (search engine optimization) and social media strategies to reach targeted audiences online. It doesn’t stop here though.
There are a couple ways you can look at it:
(1) From a Social Media Marketer’s point of view
(2) From a Search Engine Marketer’s point of view
The Social Media Marketer:
“My awesome social media is SEO!”
Social media has always helped SEO, even if unintentionally. Social media is online content that is easily sharable, generating website traffic. Since Google and other major search engines place so much emphasis on relevant inbound links social media is a no-brainer. The concept in social media is to create lots of valuable content for your audience, and be rewarded through user engagement and loyalty long-term.
Let’s say you’re a health care organization, and you want to provide information on preventative health.
- You have your marketing communications firm work up some value-added information on preventative health care, in the form of a blog series, eBook, and YouTube video series.
- Each of those items will attract links from other online users posting about the topic of preventative health.
- Each of those items links to your company website.
- Then, you share all of these items on your social networking websites and online forums.
The result is an influx of links, all revolving around your brand name, and all in the context of “preventative health.” The happy accident is that you’re just a social media guy – and somehow you just SEO’d the company website for a targeted keyword. In this example, the social media content (developed merely as added-value for the social audience) became an SEO effort.
~ Now, from the other point of view ~
The Search Engine Marketer:
“I’m going to use Social Media to enhance my already- awesome SEO strategy!”
Search engines have recently been placing much more emphasis on social media. There have been many studies about the correlation between brand mentions on social media and search traffic driven to the company website. Google and Bing are even paying special attention to social engagement metrics in determining search engine ranking for social content. The more “+1’s,” “retweets,” and “likes” your content gets – the more likely it will rank in search.
Let’s illustrate with another scenario. You’re an SEO marketer for a local attraction company, and you discover in your analytics that a significant number of users found your website with the keyword phrase, “things to do in naples.”
- You decide to build out a new section on the website dedicated to the topic, which includes several suggested activities, linking out to cooperating businesses (that will hopefully link back in appreciation).
- To get the word out, you connect the company with all the cooperating businesses on social media.
- You consistently mention the other brands and use strategic hashtags on Twitter, gaining retweets and followers.
- You commit to a reputation management effort to engage with your past customers on user review websites.
- You mention the new page on travel forums and blogs.
The result is a rising search engine ranking of the page for the desired keyword phrase, as well as increased over all search engine visibility. This is because the target audience won’t just see the landing page you created in the search results page – they’ll also likely see your Twitter mentions, your user reviews on the reputation management sites, comments in the blogosphere with +1’s, etc. In this example, the SEO strategy was accented by social media, rather than being social-centric.
No matter which way you look at it – social media and SEO are so complimentary they should be a part of every healthy online presence. Your customers will certainly look to both before making a decision on whether or not to buy from you. These efforts might be handled by different people, departments, even different companies at times – however they work hand-in-hand – and all businesses need them.
If you’re interested in the best of both worlds (Social AND Search), then give us a call at (239) 221-2858 or email us at info (at) getpushing.com.
Until next time!
By: Alex Fernandez
Internet Marketing Strategist
Okay, bear with me. The title has some big words, but trust me – I’m going somewhere with this…
Figuring out the “right” mix and frequency in for your brand’s social media posts can be a tricky business. The word “right” is in quotes, because it’s such a subjective term. My definition of “right” is when you find consistent engagement levels along with a consistent rate of growth in engagement levels, month after month.
Engagement, in the most basic terms, means that people are liking, commenting and otherwise interacting with your brand when you’re posting. If you’re hearing crickets chirp after your social media posts – it would be wise to put some thought into what you’re sharing.
In economics, the equilibrium point, or “Market Equilibrium,” is the point where market forces meet. It is the point where the supply and demand curves intersect. Perhaps you’ve seen a common supply and demand model:
The basic idea is that supply and demand are inversely related.
A common example is with a commodity, such as apples, for example. If the supply of apples decreases (moving the supply curve left) then the demand for apples increases, raising the equilibrium point (or market price).
- Supply UP = Demand DOWN, Price DOWN
- Supply DOWN = Demand UP, Price UP
- And vice versa…
In social media, post activity and post visibility are inversely related. If you seldom post, you have a good chance of users noticing your posts in their social accounts (whether it be a Facebook news feed, Twitter stream, etc). If you post too often, users will either tune your posts out or opt-out from your brand (un-follow or hide posts). In the case of Facebook, the social network will actually cut your visibility for the user if your posts are published too frequently.
Thus, the supply and demand model can actually be adapted to describe this relationship. As illustrated below, post activity replaces “Supply,” and post visibility replaces “Demand.”
Social media isn’t as two dimensional as the law of supply and demand. The bell shape curve in the visual represents engagement. Engagement is a bell shaped curve it’s non-linear. It’s very sensitive to extremes; if you do too much OR too little, it actually tapers off.
There’s a “sweet spot” with social media engagement that you have to hit just right.
Post too infrequently, and you’ll lose your audience. Sure, your posts will be visible, but no one will care what you have to say, because you’ll have no rapport with them.
Post too often, and you’ll over load your audience, not giving them enough time to enjoy your wonderful posts. They will either miss most of what you send out or get sick of you, very quickly.
Post at the right frequency, with the right kind of content, and you’ll hit the sweet spot, the Engagement Equilibrium.
I’d like to know what you all think. Crazy talk? Some substance to all of this? What I like about merging these two worlds, is that economics and social media marketing are both applied sciences. Both would be nothing if it weren’t for the masses and how they react to things. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts!
Should you need an Engagement Equilibrium for your social media presence, email us at info(at) getpushing.com or give us a call at 239.221.2858.
Online Communication Assistant
After reading last week’s blog, we are sure you understand the importance of including videos in your social media mix. We bet you’re thinking; “Well now I know I need a social video, but how do I create one?” Luckily, your neighborhood social media experts (cough, cough, PTE) are here to with some helpful advice to guide you.
The Camera. As the old adage says, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Its really important to know the benefits and limitations of the various types of cameras out there that work well for social media video.
- Flip Video Cameras. For off-the-cuff social media videos, these cameras can be a great asset. They are lightweight, use an internal hard drive that typically holds an hour of HD video, and have a built-in USB dongle that fold out. They’re very easy to handle and shoot with, and their only real limitation is if you’re looking for commercial-quality video.
- Mobile Phones. For impromptu or real time social videos, your mobile phone can often be a great resource. Most smart phones these days have incredible camera technologies built-in, and are easy to hold and shoot. These aren’t great for high-quality productions. However, since they are almost always within an arm’s reach, they are great for social videos.
- TIP: You’ll want to make sure you hold the camera horizontally, not vertically, in order to record video that makes the most of standard viewing dimensions.
- Go Pro Cameras. For some situations, you need a camera that can handle vibration, impact, water, heat or other kinds of abuse. The Go Pro camera shoots decent quality video and can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. We’ve shot with this kind of camera in the water for a boating video, and were amazed at how well it functioned. The only downside of a super rugged camera is that it doesn’t have many controls or adjustable settings, so it may be frustrating to get the right settings dialed in at first.
- Camcorders. If you want a social media video that has high quality or commercial-quality resolution, you’ll want to either use a camcorder or HD video camera. While these take a little more finesse and expertise to shoot well, they’re the only option for filming high-quality video.
The Lighting. Make sure when your filming that you always consider lighting. Since social videos often involve eye contact with your viewers, it’s important that your shots are well lit to ensure great eye contact throughout the video. If you’re shooting in a dark place, you’ll want to setup some additional lighting so that everything in your video is easy to see. Solutions can range from turning additional lights on, to purchasing an actual video lighting kit.
The Sound. Video camera’s (of any kind) typically don’t capture great sound with their built-in microphones. If you want decent sound quality, an external microphone is the way to go. There are a variety of external microphones on the market at different price points. If shooting an impromptu social video, try to shoot somewhere that has a minimal level of background noise. If someone is talking in the video, make sure they speak very clearly.
The Length. Social Media = short format. We typically recommend keeping all social media videos between 1-2 minutes. It’s very difficult to keep an online audience’s attention longer than 2 minutes. Also, since attention comes at a premium, you’ll want to provide a brief intro to each video with an explanation of what’s to come.
The Action. Also pertaining to the social audience’s attention span, make sure there is a “rhythm” or constant action in your audience’s social videos. By keeping an upbeat, consistent pace in your social video, you’ll be more likely to keep your audience’s attention.
The Quality. Every step along the way in the video editing process involves compression or degradation of the video source. It’s important, when you’re shooting, to make sure you’re capturing video the maximum resolution that your device allows. With some devices, the quality isn’t that great to begin with, making it even more vital to shoot at maximum resolution.
- TIP: Remember, you can always compress the video later – but you can never increase the video quality after it’s been degraded.
So there you have it, the how-tos of filming a great video for your social media mix. If you have any further questions, we are more than happy to help you and share our expertise. Of course, if all of this sounds a little outside your forte, we offer social media video filming and editing services as well. Just contact email@example.com or call us at (239) 221-2858.
By: Susan Frantz
Online Communication Assistant
How many times a day or week are you inclined to watch a video posted on a social media site? Once a day? According to The Social Skinny and their recent stats, about 3 billion hours of video watching happens on YouTube each month! 3 billion hours… Do you know what that means? It means that it’s imperative for to incorporate video into your social media effort. Here are our top 4 reasons why video and social media go hand in hand – and why you should incorporate it into your social media mix.
- Video gives your brand a voice. It gives your audience a way to connect with your brand in a simple and tangible way, providing a quality, personal interaction. Your fans will be seeing and hearing what your brand has to say, thus allowing them to connect.
- People like videos more than photos and simple status updates. It’s a simple fact. The virility of a video post is much higher than that of a photo or status update. (Photos with content are still better than basic posts, though.)
- What happens when people like videos? They share them. A video can “go viral” in the blink of the eye when people like the content. Not every great or funny video gets millions of views or shares, but many good videos still get hundreds or even thousands – and that’s more than you’ll get if you don’t try.
- It’s easy. Thanks to all the tech savvy, smart phone creators, it’s easy to shoot video now. Taking a video is as easy as swiping your thumb on the screen of a phone or pushing a button. Video editing can even be done on a mobile phone, tablet or on easily-available software for a laptop or desktop.
Incorporating video into your social media effort will provide qualitative and quantitative results. It’ll offer richer, deeper connections with your audience and provide measurement opportunities for your reach and engagement.
Have questions about integrating video into your social media plan? Give us a call. Happy filming!
Stay tuned for next week’s blog. We will share how to make a successful video for your social media effort.
January 3, 2013 in Branding, Communication, marketing in the recommendation age, public relations, Reputation Management, social media, tips | Tags: brand, branding, marketing, public relations, reputation management, social media, strategy, tips | 2 comments
By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / Owner
If you live in Southwest Florida (aka Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, etc.) then you’ve probably seen the Florida Department of Transportation signs saying “Alert today. Alive tomorrow.” While their signs refer to paying attention to the road, I thought this could also apply to businesses and their marketing efforts.
Being alert today, in a business sense, means many things…
Competitive Advantage and Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
To start, it means being aware of what you offer (services products, etc.) and what your competitors offer. How do your services stack up? What can you add or research? Better yet, are you providing what your customers want/need? Addressing your competitive advantage is key. Take a little time this month to really think about what it is that sets your company apart then follow up with a plan to communicate that, as your UVP, to your consumers.
Trends, Fads and New Tech
It seems that with each new day new widgets, devices and tools are developed. Music stars are made, and crumble, over night. Trends come and go, but in the midst of all this chaos, we must pick out the changes that really shift (or should) our business model and/or our customers’ lives. Two great examples are social media and cell phones.
Many people, both the general public and business leaders. brushed off sites like Facebook and Twitter saying they were just fads and would pass. While the application or specific site might fall to the wayside (ever heard of a little site called MySpace?), the concept is here to stay.
People have evolved their communication styles and want instant, quick ways to communicate news and share information.
The cell phone – a similar situation. What used to be just a tool for vocal communication can now send text messages, operate apps, access the Internet and more. Smart phones have virtually taken over the cell phone market making it easier for consumers to find information about products or services on the go.
So the question is, are you paying attention, being alert today, to trends in your industry that will impact your business tomorrow?
One HUGE and often overlooked opportunity is reputation management. I’m not referring to high school days when you were protecting your “cool factor.” I’m talking about what your consumers are saying about your business, its product and/or services. Even before there were websites specifically designed for reviews there was word of mouth. People love to share their experiences with others, especially if they have a bad one. With the creation of sites like Yahoo! Local, Google Places, and Yelp it’s more important than ever to monitor your company or brand’s online reputation.
Other sites, predominately thought of as social media or social networking sites such as Foursquare, Facebook, and LinkedIn are also viable reputation management platforms. Specifically, LinkedIn has launched business pages where business owners can “own” their page and post updates while also receiving comments from visitors. There are also sites for specific industries too, such as medical field such as RateMDs.com.
Are you listening? If you are, are you responding and showing that you care about your customers opinions – good and bad? Consider setting up a weekly routine to monitor these sites. We provide this service for a number of clients who’ve seen drastic, positive changes in their online reputation just from monitoring and responding to reviews.
Let’s focus on being more alert today for a better tomorrow. If you need help focusing on the many marketing and communications tasks at hand or maybe want a little help managing your reputation, contact us. It’s what we do and we’d be glad to help.
By: Susan Frantz
Online Communications Assistant
How many of you use your smart phone to take photos of what you’re eating, what you’re wearing and whom you’re with? If your thinking in your head, I do that everyday – keep on reading. Many of you are probably uploading these photos on Facebook to share photos of that mouth watering Thanksgiving dinner. Well now there is an alternative to Facebook… don’t panic, we’re not replacing Facebook. It could be considered an addition.
Instagram, is a fun and easy way to share your life with your friends, through a series of photos. Even better is that it allows you to be your own photog extraordinaire by giving you the ability to edit the way your photos look. Here is a great example of the first music video to be filmed via Instagram.
Instagram has just been acquired by Facebook and as such are beginning to integrate ways to be more accessible to businesses. Recently, they have unveiled Instagram profiles, which allow the user or business to showcase their pages, and establish a more complete identity, through their photos. Another way they are becoming more business friendly is through the use of website badges. Similar to what currently exists for Facebook and Twitter, you can now add an Instagram badge to your website to link the user directly to your Instagram page. And the best part, Instagram is measurable. You can measure your audience size, comments, follows, and engagement.
So are you ready to jump on the Instagram bandwagon? Here are some tips of the trade that might help you;
- Use #hashtags! Similar to Twitter, Instagram gives you the ability to use hashtags to target a specific audience, or area.
- Be relevant. Instagram is meant to be a way to describe yourself or your brand through photos, so take advantage through photos of new products and events.
Once you’ve set up your Instagram page, be sure to tweet us your profile page link. We’re loving this new social channel and are so excited to see it used in multiple different facets.
By: Alex Fernandez
Internet Marketing Strategist
Over the past few weeks, many of us have seen business timelines posting something to the effect of “adjust your interest lists because Facebook is pushing people to paying to promote posts.”
First, this is a completely false rumor, and we’ll explain why – but more importantly:
The visibility of your brand’s social media posts is up to you!
So, about these silly posts (that will make your brand look silly if you share):
“Add to Interest Lists” is not a ploy that Facebook has developed to gain more advertising dollars. It’s a feature that allows users to conveniently organize their connections into different interests. This was necessary in order to remain competitive to popular features of Twitter and Google+. This is a convenient feature for users, and it’s completely optional.
You can also check out Facebook’s official explanation of Interest Lists, here.
One thing that Facebook openly admits is that the news feed is discriminating. A minority of posts actually find their way into a users news feed, because every past user action is taken into consideration when news feed content is generated: Who the user “likes,” what posts they “like” or comment on, or anything they click on in general. Another thing worth mentioning is yes, you can advertise to increase visibility via promoted posts, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that approach.
SO! How can you appear in your audience’s news feed more often, without paying for ads? Many companies are beginning to offer a service called “News Feed Optimization.” What this boils down to is posting engaging content that encourages user action – something we’ve always promoted and adhered to. Here are few tips, without “giving away the farm” as they say .
- Engage your audience with your posts, by ASKING them for a reply or action.
- Like or Share
- Enter a caption for an image
- Social media is becoming more and more visual!
- Photos and videos get more engagement than text
- Consider incorporating Instagram and/or Pinterest in your social effort
- Time your posts to when your audience is online.
- “Dead times” or “slow times” for B2B audiences
- Nights and weekends for certain consumer audiences
- Publish simple posts that can easily be shared.
- Images, memes, and other visual content with mass appeal
- Use questions and surveys
- Leverage contests or sweepstakes that encourage viral sharing.
- Voting contests
- Contests offering additional incentive to share
At PTE – we do not offer a service called “News Feed Optimization”. That would be a disservice to you. We do everything we can to improve news feed visibility for all of our social media clients, all the time. That’s the way it should be.
I’ll end with a question: Are you doing all you can to get noticed in your audience’s news feed? Contact us if you have any questions about social media marketing at 239.221.2858 or Info(at)getpushing.com.