Saturday, June 30, 2012
Google has revealed to VentureBeat that its upcoming Google+ APIs will allow the company's social network to do something unusual: It will be able to soak in all your previous social media updates from other services. Called the History API, the system will import updates like text entries, purchases, and imagery from sources like Foursquare and Twitter.
Essentially this is a quick and easy way for Google+ to vampire feed on its users previous social efforts in order to better populate every user's timeline, and is enabled by the full-featured APIs Google's rivals have long operated, even while Google demurred and didn't allow full access to Google+ itself via APIs to third-party apps. Though the History trick may seem trivial, it seems intended to create a flow of information in each user profile that rivals that of Facebook's new Timeline, and it's further evidence that Google is really resting a lot of its hopes, as well as spending quite considerable effort, on Google+.
Friday, June 29, 2012
1. Use Less Than 100 Characters Per Tweet
2. Add Links to Your Tweets for a Higher Rate of Retweets
3. Tweet 4 Times Per Day or Less
4. Ensure There is a Space Before the URL in Tweets to Prevent Unclickable Links
5. Ask for Retweets by Spelling Out the Entire Word
6. Use Images Where Possible
7. Use Hashtags Wisely
|Image via CrunchBase|
5. Listen Before You Speak: Just like attending a “social” in real life, you need to mind your manners. Before you campaign to be the king or queen, learn what people are saying about your brand. Free tools, like Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts and Twitter Hashtag Alerts, allow you to receive an e-mail every time a consumer writes a review, blogs or rants (positively or negatively) about your product or service.
Many paid tools, like Radian6, Visible Technologies, Buzz Logic and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, allow for an even deeper understanding of sentiment and can track, monitor and point you toward the best course of persuasion over time. Many reputation management tools also allow you to track your competitors and observe what works or doesn’t work for them, so you can be sure not to repeat the same mistakes.
Identifying your natural brand ambassadors (consumers that love your products) and dealing positively and proactively with those that haven’t had a wonderful experience will pay back many times over in word of mouth, brand loyalty and register ring.
4. Write To Your Fans: Brands that post social media content 20 or more times a month consistently receive five times more traffic than those who post less than four times a month(Source: Hubspot). Take into account when you are posting your content. Monitor whether certain posts delivery more engagement in the morning, around lunchtime or in the evening. How well do your weekend posts perform? Many social networks allow you to post content to specific geographic regions, such as announcing a TPR to consumers that live near locations of a specific account, thus driving more foot traffic and sales lift. They are your fans and friends. They want to hear from you.
3. Find the Key: Locking your best content and requiring a visitor to “like” or enter an e-mail address before proceeding enables you to track who is viewing your content. It also allows you to reward your most interested fans for participating with your brand. With a lock, the “key” is to boost your engagement rates, produce a viral effect and will allow your content to be viewed by even more consumers. Build your e-mail marketing club (e-Club) and post teaser content that encourages your readers to click through and dig deeper. Share existing assets such as TV commercials or print ads — new or nostalgic. Track your click-through rates, relevant comments, re-tweets, shares, views and many more metrics to get a better understanding of what your community responds to — and how you can help move them along the path-to-purchase.
2. Ask And Yee Shall Receive: The whole point of social media is to socialize. Curious what your next product should be? Ask! You might be surprised at how great of a place your community is to turn to for information. Make your fans feel special and encourage them to interact with your brand by showcasing your customers on your page. Respond to questions and comments in a timely matter, even if it is more difficult to address. Offer positive solutions whenever possible. Remember that everyone is a key influencer in social media — some just have more volume than others. You don’t want to be put on blast.
1. Entertain & Educate: Consumers can easily “unlike” or “unsubscribe”. They value their time and you want them to spend more of it with your brand. Create content they value — useful tips, recipes, links to printable or save to loyalty card coupons, fun facts about your history, interesting quotes and even pop culture trivia. Include photos and links. Remember the three L's:
- Laugh - Will your audience think it’s funny such as the latest Internet meme?
- Learn - Will your customer discover something s/he didn’t know like as a special deal?
- Love - Would you be thrilled to get it in your own inbox? How about a link to a sweepstakes to introduce a new product? Branded content such as an original webisode or an advergame to take up a few minutes of a hectic day?
If your communication doesn’t entertain and educate, then you are missing a huge opportunity to connect.
|Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
U.S. smartphone penetration is nearing 50 percent, so it’s no surprise that the adoption of mobile shopping tools has been rapid. But African Americans and Hispanics are adopting new shopping technologies at a faster rate than Caucasians, with 18 percent of African American shoppers and 16 percent of Hispanic shoppers using their mobile device to make purchases as compared to 10 percent of Caucasians. This was revealed in the latest issue of The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research.
One in five African American shoppers (21 percent versus 13 percent of Caucasian shoppers) use their phone to read product reviews and maintain shopping lists and one in five Hispanic shoppers (20 percent versus 13 percent of Caucasian shoppers) use their mobile device to compare prices on products. Despite smartphone penetration skewing lower among African Americans and Hispanics than Caucasians, both are leading the charge by using mobile as a means to access the digital world of shopping aids.
“Basic mobile communication through SMS and mobile websites should be the points of entry. Mobile marketing to multicultural shoppers is a huge opportunity,” says Martin Ferro, senior account planner for Velocidad, a Hispanic promotional, retail and shopper marketing capability of The Integer Group.
Additional findings on mobile shopping from The Checkout:
- Almost as many shoppers are using coupons from email and e-newsletters (49 percent) as they are from the Sunday paper (57 percent).
- Men might be the traditional lovers of tech toys, but when it comes to using technology to enhance shopping, women are ahead of the curve.
- Having children in the household drives accelerated adoption of digital technologies to deliver shopping solutions for busy moms and dads.
“Digital shoppers are just shoppers,” said Ben Kennedy, group director of Mobile Marketing at Integer. “Digital shopping tools are illustrative of the continued blurring of the on- and offline spaces. Today’s reality is that shoppers use whatever tools they have on hand to make them smarter, savvier shoppers.”
Data for The Checkout comes from a national survey conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C where consumers are asked about their shopping attitudes, shopping behaviors, and economic outlook. Topics range from criteria shoppers use to select retailers, to which in-store stimulus is most likely to drive purchase, to factors that might lead shoppers to leave an aisle empty-handed. The Checkout is available for download at Integer’s blog ShopperCulture.com.
Marketing your online business through social media websites can be a great way to encourage engagement with your brand in a low-pressure setting.
However, getting started with this new type of media can be intimidating for some business owners.
Take a look at the following five examples of ecommerce websites that are succeeding with social media for ideas on how to use social media effectively.
#1: Use Facebook Apps Strategically to Guide Users
As social media expert Amy Porterfield mentioned in her recent “How to Use Facebook Apps to Improve Fan Engagement,” article on Social Media Examiner:
Since page admins can no longer designate a default landing tab (also referred to as the “default welcome tab”), businesses need to get more creative and use custom apps to direct Facebook page visitors to take action.
One example of an ecommerce website that’s taking this principle to the next level is ShoeDazzle, the discount footwear retailer, with its custom Style Profile app.
Once Facebook visitors grant access to the app, they’re able to complete the quiz to find their ideal style matches and are then redirected to specific purchase pages on the ShoeDazzle website, encouraging purchase decisions and eliminating the “tire kicking” that can occur with social media visitors.
This Facebook app works well because it helps drive Facebook visitors directly to the products that will appeal to them most back on ShoeDazzle’s own website.
Tip: Social media sites often have lower barriers to engagement (that is, users are less concerned about being “sold to” than on traditional websites). Facebook apps with interactive features to help convert viewers to buyers can make a big difference in social media ROI.
#2: Use Playlists on YouTube
Specialty-goods retailer Vat19 has a wide-reaching social media presence, but where it really shines is on YouTube. Collectively, the company’s video channel has amassed more than 115 million views—no doubt resulting in significant traffic back to its ecommerce website.
Besides the high quality of the company’s video production and the regularity with which it publishes new content, one of the keys to Vat19′s success on YouTube can be attributed to its use of the often-overlooked Playlists feature.
YouTube playlists are a useful tactic to keep visitors on your own YouTube channel longer. Because YouTube playlists allow channel owners to select which videos will play sequentially (interrupting the YouTube Autoplay feature which may automatically launch videos from other brands’ channels), the company’s use of this tool enables it to present viewers with additional products they may be interested in and increase sales.
Tip: Create YouTube playlists within your business channel to control viewer movement through the site. This decreases the viewer loss that can occur when users navigate away to YouTube’s alternative recommended videos.
Here’s how to create a video playlist within YouTube: “How do I make a playlist?”
#3: Use the Right Conversational Style on Twitter
Reaching out to consumers via Twitter is a great fit for “geek chic” ecommerce retailer, ThinkGeek. Not only is its target audience extremely active on Twitter, ThinkGeek’s conversational style and immediate response times have earned the small-but-growing company more than 500,000 followers.
It’s clear ThinkGeek knows how to cultivate the right communication on Twitter for maximum social engagement. By developing its Twitter community, ThinkGeek increases brand loyalty, as well as the possibility that tweets regarding its products will be shared socially among followers and non-followers. Both of these benefits have the potential to increase sales substantially.
Tip: Use your audience’s language when engaging via social media. Social networking site users are extremely sensitive to “phony” interactions, so be sure the person handling your company’s social media profiles is able to use the appropriate tone and language when communicating with followers.
#4: Let Your Audience Share Ownership of Your Products
Plenty of ecommerce websites are integrating social sharing tools into their product listing pages, which is a great way to encourage interactions on these sites. But while this is a great first step (and too often is the only step that retailers take), what makes clothing retailer Free People stand out is the robust communities they’ve built on multiple social networking sites.
Free People allows customers to create their own clothing collections to share on popular social networking websites including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
Starting from the company’s main shopping page, consumers can hand-select items to form their own “look book” style collections, which can then be explored and voted on by other users. Customers can start from standard company collections or create their own unique sets to share on the Free People website and social networking profiles.
This helps to create a sense of ownership among visitors and is a great way to increase brand loyalty and social promotion.
Tip: To capture this effect for your own website, look for ways to go above and beyond simple social sharing tools by offering customers a way to “claim” your items as their own.
#5: Engage Your Audience with Social Media Integration
What’s most interesting about the Cree LED lighting company’s level of social media engagement is that home repair—and lighting design in particular—isn’t traditionally thought of as a socially oriented industry.
While it’s expected that niches like shoe and clothing shops translate easily to social networking applications (as these activities in real life are generally social experiences), getting customers to share their lighting purchases online isn’t quite as natural.
Cree LED lighting demonstrates how to bridge this gap in stellar fashion. They have completely integrated social media into their marketing strategy with a clear desire to encourage engagement on social media.
Cree’s social media profile is diverse and highly engaged, ranging from the traditional Facebook and Twitter presence to user “Tweetups” and social competitions that encourage users to submit their own lighting photos for the chance to win free products.
Tip: Even if your industry isn’t heavily represented on social networking websites, there are still plenty of opportunities for engagement! You may need to spread your net far and explore different types of social media in order to see what sticks. But when you commit to interact with customers in a variety of situations, you’ll increase your odds of finding your own industry’s sweet spot.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
What are you doing to improve digital campaign performance? A new study aims to help you apply best practices to your online marketing processes. Using its proprietary Yesmail Market Intelligence tool, Yesmail tracked and analyzed more than 20 popular clothing retailers’ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and email campaigns over a three-month period to assess how effective they were in driving consumer engagement. What they found indicated that many social media and email campaigns do not match up with consumers’ patterns for when and how they engage with brands.
A Disconnect Between How Brands Connect & Engage
What’s causing the disconnect, exactly? Yesmail seems to think that it’s combination of not having the right tools, not being able to harness the power of the customer data available, and the inability to produce actionable insights to drive a successful brand strategy.
Yesmail’s findings revealed marketers are missing key opportunities to engage their target audience.
- Facebook campaigns achieve the highest level of engagement on Tuesdays, yet that day ranks fourth in terms of when actual campaigns are deployed.
- The majority of Twitter campaigns take place on Friday, which is the least engaging day for those campaigns.
- The most interaction on YouTube occurs on Monday, but it is the least utilized weekday for campaign deployment.
Additionally, the report also showed discrepancies between the time slot when campaigns achieved the most engagement and when retail brands deploy their campaigns:
- Facebook campaigns reached the highest level of interaction between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. EST, yet this time slot was the least utilized by marketers. Instead, the most popular time to deploy campaigns was 11a.m.-1p.m. EST.
- More than 84 percent of Twitter campaigns occurred within regular work hours of 9 a.m.-7 p.m. EST, even though 5 a.m.-8 a.m. EST is the timeframe with the highest level of customer engagement.
- Marketers ignore more than half of the day when it comes to running YouTube campaigns.
- A mere 3 percent of emails are sent after 6 p.m. EST, yet it is a fairly consistently utilized time slot for social campaigns.
The Yesmail study reveals many of the best practices that reinforce the global perspective that community managers need to embrace, namely that customer engagement isn't just about connecting during 9-5. Brands have much to gain by engaging with fans and followers in the evenings and on the weekends.
What's Working: Email's Impact on Social Media Campaigns
But not all marketing campaigns are on the wrong course. Yesmail’s research showed that if email campaigns were sent out before social campaigns, those emails drive social engagement via share buttons and calls to action that promote interaction with the brand. When retailers’ email campaign data was overlaid with social engagement data, Yesmail found a significant increase in engagement on social channels.
- On Facebook, engagement grew by roughly 50 percent when one email campaign was deployed on the same day and by 100 percent when two email campaigns were deployed.
- Twitter campaign engagement levels reached a 25 percent increase with one email campaign and a 40 percent increase with two.
Marketers can’t afford to ignore these customer experience insights. But they shouldn’t just take Yesmail’s word; they need to thoroughly examine their own customer data to ensure that they are reaching their audience when it’s convenient for them, not the brand.
Marketing is no longer limited to the traditional work day — finding the times that work, whenever they may, can be the key to executing successful marketing campaign.
In its continued push to Google+-ify the internet, Google is launching +1 recommendations to all +1 buttons across the web. The new recommendation functionality will find similar recommendations that have already been discovered on the site:
Included in the recommendations will be +1 stats and circled friends who have already +1′ed the recommended content. Recommendations will only be from the same domain or sub-domain, no outside content will be recommended. There will be no need to swap any code, +1 buttons will be automatically updated. Recommendations will begin showing for all users whether or not they are signed into Google+. Here’s a look at recommendations that were active on the googleplusplatform.blogspot.com domain:
Users can sign up for a developer preview to see the recommendations before they are fully pushed live. For more information, see the Google+ Developers Blog.
|Image via CrunchBase|
Before social media, the success of a marketing campaign was generally measured by ROI — how much did we make, versus how much we spend.
But when talking about Facebook, Twitter, or other social media campaigns, that number is rather illusive and sometimes non-existent. This leads us to the discussion of brand awareness versus conversions
In a recent interview, Erich Marx, Nissan’s director-interactive and social-media marketing said,
“From a pure ROI standpoint, are we selling hundreds of cars through social? No. But social media has to be a responsible part of any media package now. You have to be there. It’s not about ROI, it’s about COI– cost of ignoring. It’s too big to ignore.”
That’s the most honest analysis I’ve ever seen from a marketing exec. We all knew it was true, but few had the guts to stand up and say it. Social media is a marketing must, even if it doesn’t add to your bottom line.
Crazy, huh? Where else would we devote time, effort, and funds for no results? Would you keep working a garden if nothing ever grew? Would you keep playing Angry Birds if you couldn’t get past the first level? And yet, we all rush to social media because it is, indeed, too big to ignore.
Now, I’m not saying you should walk away from Facebook. I’ve stated it here time and again, that any brand without a Facebook page comes across as old fashioned or not too smart. But do you have to have a Google+ account, a Pinterest account, and please don’t tell me you’re still on MySpace?
The real question is why isn’t Nissan selling hundreds of cars through social? We’ve seen the power of social media, so how is it that we still can’t translate that into concrete sales? According to AdAge, Nissan has the highest social media engagement rate of any of the car companies. What they’re doing right is including their community in the evolution of the brand. They ask for ideas and personal stories, they feature their fans in their campaigns and that’s social media done right.
I think Nissan’s on the right track with social media, whether it’s for ROI or COI and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they sold a car right from their Facebook page. Imagine the publicity they’d get for that? It could be the dawn of a whole new era of social ecommerce.