Sunday, March 31, 2013

IPL or SocialPremierLeauge

Here are some key highlights from the report, combined with our deeper look into the campaigns that these brands seeded on various channels:
On Facebook
The eight IPL teams captured a total of 8.5m fans on Facebook. The Mumbai IndiansThe Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings together comprised of more than 72% of the total fans. The Mumbai Indians attracted almost 3 million fans, while the Knight Riders and Super Kings had 1.6m fans each. Kings XI Punjab grew from 45,000 fans to 250,000 fans in just 3 days when the team was running their ‘Awwal fan‘ contest. The new IPL team, Sunrisers Hyderabad, saw a slow fan growth rate and managed to add 3,000 fans during the period of the study.
While these were fan growth analyses, Unmetric cracked an ‘engagement code’ basis the number of likes, comments, shares and estimated impressions that each post received. Interestingly, Sunrisers Hyderabad stood ahead of all with an ‘engagement score’ of 560. The engagement is a direct result of the kind of content being shared by the team. The content is not just not informative but also engaging. Find an example in the snapshot below.
A deep dive into content strategies for each revealed the following points:
  • The teams concentrated on asking questions related to the team and providing news about the players both during season and off season
  • ‘Offers’ related content did not resonate with fans and received lowest engagement
  • During the off-season, content related to merchandise received a much higher engagement than when the matches were actually happening
  • News of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from ODIs turned out to be the most engaging topic for all teams
  • Overall, game results during the match season is a definitive way to increase fan engagement and reach more people
This is what the report stated about the engagement strategies of the teams:
  • The study exposed that most of these IPL teams did not engage with fans very well. They were responding to less than 1% of fan posts on average.
  • Chennai Super Kings did not allow their fans to post on their wall
  • Only Kings XI Punjab replied to more than 10% of fan posts, although they took an average of 11 hours to reply to each post. Here is an example of how Kolkata Knight Riders shares an update without engaging with fans.
On Twitter
The report suggested that there was little to differentiate among the Twitter strategies for each of the teams. Kolkata Knight Riders stood tall with 140,000 followers. This could possibly be attributed to the power of influence of Shah Rukh KhanSunrisers Hyderabad saw 142% growth of follower on Twitter, which is more than other teams. This could be the result of being a new entrant to the league.
While brands are looking at Twitter as a customer service platform, the IPL teams considered it more as a publishing platform. However, theKings XI Punjab team was fairly good with their response time, they replied within an average of 50 minutes.
On YouTube
Royal Challengers had 3.8m views on 268 videos, which was over 1.6m more than all the other teams’ video views put together. Rajasthan Royals was second with 1.1m views, they uploaded more than twice the number of videos than any other team. Kolkata Knight Riders were third with 485,000 views. In terms of pure growth, Sunrisers Hyderabad displayed surprising results with 194% growth rate.

What are the learnings in this for marketers?
  • A large fan following may not necessarily mean good engagement. As can be seen in the case of Kolkata Knight Riders.
  • Content should be leveraged according to best times of the year for brands. For example, content during matches are focused on players and game results while content off-season focuses on contests like ‘Awwal fan’ or asides like merchandise.
  • On-ground performance may or may not be linked to performance online. For example, Kings XI Punjab displayed steady engagement on both Facebook and Twitter. Sunrisers Hyderabad, yet to begin playing, have already created buzz online. Kolkata Knight Riders are disseminating information but not engaging.
What decides the success of other sports teams on social media? Do share your thoughts.


Where Are These Influencers, Anyway?

Influencer marketing. Influencer targeting. Influencer outreach. Influencers, influencers, influencers. We keep hearing about how important they are to our brand and why we need them. But, where do we find them?
Don’t panic yet, the first thing to grasp is that influencers almost always operate a blog and searching for bloggers is the easiest way to find influencers. And, the nice thing about bloggers is that they also tend to be very active on various forms of social media so aligning with them gets your positive mention spouted across many channels. Score.
Another thing to grasp is that an influencer is a contextual fit for your brand, not something that can be quantified by Twitter followers of Klout. Numbers cannot tell us what their audience looks to them for. Your judgment can tell you this however. So, influencers our found by searching for a genre and niche that you want to expose your brand to. Of course you want your influencer to have “reach,” but should just be a starting point, not the defining factor.
Once you’ve honed in on the genre and niche to target, it’s time to pick which blogger outreach tool you are going to use to locate your influencers.
Google blog search is the best free option but if you are going to be doing a lot of influencer targeting then you want to check out a tool like GroupHigh (Full Disclosure: I work with GroupHigh). GroupHigh allows you to customize your influencer targeting by filtering your results by keywords, Twitter followers, MozRank and 20 other options.
One of the most obvious places to look is to the customers who are already advocating for your brand. Incentivize them or at least thank them for their efforts and recommendations. A shout out will make them a lot more likely to keep up the good work!
Lastly, research is showing that the most influential people for brands are actually the midlevel bloggers. Because these people have a smaller audience, they can nurture their relationships a little more which makes their audience tend to be very loyal.
Bloggers, contextually aligned writers, advocates and midlevel bloggers! Where have you found influencers for your brand?


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Web searches for popular holiday terms and destinations suffer significant drop

Kiosk, Blackpool Central Pier -

Quarterly data from Greenlight found that in February UK consumer online searches for holidays totalled 1.2m, down significantly on November’s 2.9m.

Generic holiday terms including ‘last minute holidays’, ‘all inclusive holidays’, ‘cheap all inclusive holidays’ and ‘package holidays’, made up 55% (695,000) of all holiday-related queries.

‘Cheap holidays’, which in July 2012 peaked at one million searches, was the most popular holiday-related search time February. However, it accounted for just 165,000 (13%) queries

Friday, March 29, 2013

An 8-Step Social Media Marketing Strategy For Brands [INFOGRAPHIC]

If you’re a brand getting started with social media, it can quickly get overwhelming. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook come with a pretty steep learning curve – certainly when used for business marketing – and to maximise return on investment it’s essential that you implement a winning strategy.
For starters, you’ll need to empower the right employees to manage your social channels, sharing responsibility and goals. You must learn to listen to your audience, using specific metrics to analyse feedback and success. You’ll need to position yourself as an authority within your field, identifying the one thing that separates you from your competitors. And, perhaps most importantly, your brand needs to be human, as social media is very much about people – not logos.
The infographic below presents an 8-step strategy for successful social media marketing.

5 Easy Ways to Optimize Social Media Marketing for Mobile

Here are a five easy tips to help you optimize your social media content for mobile readers:
1. Be much more thoughtful about when you’re posting.
The average Facebook post gets 50 percent of its reach and engagement in the first 30 minutes of being posted, according to Socialbakers. It’s all downhill from there.

Start asking yourself: Where is my audience going to be in the hour or so after we post this? Is there an opportunity to capture them where they are at that moment and inspire action or tap into an emotion that you know a large number of your fans are experiencing at that time? 
Don’t limit it to experimenting with when you post, either. If you have an assumption about where your audience is consuming your content (specifically, where they are on Earth), you can create some calls to action and inspire them to engage that way. 
For instance, Instagram, where the mobile engagement is close to 100 percent, is great for this: “Show us what you’re doing now and how our product fits into that.” 
2. Add value to the mobile experience -- which differs from adding value to the desktop or laptop experience.
The greater the distance you make your fans travel in mobile, the worse the experience becomes. No one wants to hop from one app to another—to another—to download your app that, let’s be honest, isn’t all that cool in the first place. On a desktop or laptop, people are more forgiving when it comes to bouncing around the Web. You have to be more respectful of the mobile experience.

Similarly, if you’re in the Facebook or Pinterest app and you click on a brand’s link, it’s going to send you to a website. Unless you’ve checked that link in social, you’re not 100 percent sure where you’re sending them. It might look great on your laptop, but on mobile it could look like a Geocities site and do your brand a huge disservice. 
Keep your posts simple and undeniably specific to your brand. 
3. Design for mobile first.
Keep your font sizes legible on your graphics. If you’re tapping through to a photo, you don’t want to have to zoom in on something just to read it. If you’re taking the time to design an asset, make sure you’re taking the time to design it so that mobile users can read it.

The default has been to design social assets for the desktop or laptop experience and back into mobile. Reverse that. Design for mobile, and it will back into the desktop experience. 
4. Test different mobile platforms to understand the differences.
If you post a photo album on Facebook, you can’t click on the links that you’ve put in the captions of the individual photos if you’re using an iPhone or Android phone. However, those links work when you’re using most tablets. That’s good to know if you want to drive traffic in mobile. 

Of course, that’s just one of the many quirks and intricacies when it comes to presenting social content in mobile. Understanding the user experience across devices is important in making sure your posts are accomplishing their desired outcomes. 
5. Check your analytics.
Every brand is different, and every audience is different. Before you completely shift the way you’ve been creating and posting content, take the time to dig deep into your metrics and understand where your engagement is coming from. Certain demographics will use mobile more than others.

For the brand I mentioned earlier, males 18-34 had the highest instance of engaging with our content through mobile (nearly 75 percent). We were able to make some assumptions based on that and test some content around those assumptions. 
Test, measure, analyze, optimize, rinse, repeat. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

International Social Media Marketing – Different Places, Different Habits

No matter the country your target audience is from, if you want to reach them with the help of social media, Facebook won’t let you down. Or will it?
Facebook has indeed become the most popular social network in many countries, but the overall social media landscape is - even in countries where Facebook is no. 1 - way more colourful than that and Facebook shouldn’t always be the first choice. 
However, it’s not only choosing the right network that matters. If you want to improve your turnover with the help of international social media marketing, as well as increase your brand’s popularity, you’ll have to get acquainted with the culture of your target audience and take a lot of other things into consideration.
For example, you have to think about which foreign language is the most appropriate for your target audience and get informed on current global social media trends, so that you can adjust your social media strategies accordingly. Moreover, the cultural differences between social media users in different countries should also be taken into consideration. 

Facebook (almost) rules the world

Facebook has built its global dominance in the last couple of years; this can be seen in the global map of social media platforms on Vicenzo Cosenza’s blog.
While around June 2009 other networks dominated the American continent, in Mexico and Brazil, in December 2012 Facebook managed to be no. 1 in all of America. Other countries that had other dominant networks in 2009 were India, Japan and in Europe – the Netherlands and Portugal. Even so, by the end of 2012 it was Facebook that ruled there too.
And yet, in big markets such as Russia and China, other networks are more popular: Odnoklassniki in Russia and Qzone in China.

World Map of Social Networks


Make The First Move With Customer Service

Today, it is widely acknowledged that companies can no longer ignore or idly watch what consumers are saying about their brand on social media.
customer engagement social media
We’ve reached a stage where the focus is on real engagement, not just listening. But what must still take root is the idea that companies should reach out proactively as soon as customers show signs of dissatisfaction or need for assistance, rather than waiting for them to get in touch. This is where the real competitive advantage lies: being proactive in your approach to social customer service can help to save customer relationships against competitive pulls and to protect brand reputation against negativity escalating online.
At Conversocial, we recently investigated consumer behavior on Twitter, specifically the types of conversations surrounding brands outside the ‘@’ mention. The report, “Look Beyond the 3%: A Day In The Life Of Brands on Twitter,” highlighted the mentions of four large retail brands over a 24 hour period and found that 37% of all tweets were customer service related, with 3% expressing dissatisfaction. While Twitter conversations grow rapidly, 3% becomes a very significant number of publicly unhappy customers. Clearly there’s a lot more than chatter out there that social teams should be addressing face on.
This all begs the question, what does proactive customer service really mean? Yes this stuff is out there, but what am I expected to do about it? Many brands have an instinctive barrier against butting in on customer conversations, but as long as you follow some simple rules of engagement for outreach, you can bring real value to your customers.
The goal of proactive customer service is to understand your customer’s point of need, and to take steps to meet them there. Visibility of public conversations on Twitter presents an opportunity, for the first time, to address customers’ issues before they come to you. This level of customer care holds great potential for improving customer relationships. But it’s also fast becoming an essential step. More and more consumers migrate to Twitter to take part in the dialogue about brands online - last year Twitter’s CEO reported that there are more than 500 million tweets posted every day. Waiting for them to bring their complaints to you not only fails to understand the nuances of a platform that blurs public broadcast with personal conversation, but fails to address highly damaging, public negativity before it escalates.
Social customer service encompasses so much more than traditional perceptions of customer service and the call center. The benefits of engaging with customers socially and proactively are endless, allowing you to learn more about your business directly from your customers, providing insight into your position relative to competitors and untapping the minute detail needed to make product and service changes for the better. In reality, reading conversations about you online only scratches the surface of insight available. It’s direct, timely engagement to unearth customers’ problems and perceptions that provides the feedback craved by multiple departments of your business.


3 Reasons Why Brands Need to Respond to Customer Tweets

Several months ago, a startling infographic made waves on the social media site convince&convert that revealed 70% of companies are ignoring customer complaints on Twitter. The same infographic revealed that when companies do reply back to tweets, the percentage of users who liked and loved it combined was at a little over 73% with a nearly identical percentage result for satisfaction in the “very” and “somewhat” satisfied categories.
As the CEO of a company with a Twitter account that responds to customers when they reach out to us, I can’t fathom leaving a customer out in the cold on the Twitterverse when they’re in need of some extra assistance. But I know that not all business Twitter accounts are created equal, with a study in Entrepreneur revealing that 45 out of 50 retailers have active Twitter handles and only a smaller 29 percent in that group respond back to customer inquiries.
While seemingly all of the businesses in question have a scapegoat to blame for their lack of tweeting – fear of public backlash, inability to respond in real time, no budget for a social media manager to help take over – the best thing to do here is to take a deep breath and dive in to responding to customer tweets. Still afraid? Take my advice on why it’s best to face tweets head-on instead of hiding under a rock from them.
It’s a need.
There was a time where brands could get away with feigning ignorance about social media or even declare that it was just a fad on its way out. That time is over. If your brand has a Twitter account, chances are high that you have a following built up on it. Chances are also high that you advertise this fact on a regular basis, through newsletters, the official website, and even on other social media outlets, encouraging people to come follow you there. If you build it, they will come but it will crumble if you don’t give people a reason to stay. Daily engagement is key on Twitter and checking your @ mentions and DM’s to see if anyone has any problems in need of being addressed is all a part of that engagement. Ignoring a problem has seldom ever made it go away – if anything it can only get bigger and the word of mouth against your brand may see your customers and potential customers alike heading to a competitor instead.
It’s not that hard to respond (or follow up).
The beauty of Twitter is that in addressing anyone, you have a 140 character limit to work with. That’s very, very little material to work with and does force a brand to get clever in creating tweets sometimes. But when it comes to addressing problems or helping out in emergencies, don’t be afraid to stick to the basics. Offer up a phone number to call with the name of a point of contact that will be there to answer the phone and talk one-on-one about the problem and work on a solution together.
If one tweet can’t include all of the information needed, tweet back and forth with the user until the problem is solved and then follow back up with them a day or two later to see how they’re doing and if they need anything else. Avoid making your brand’s Twitter account an exclusive page where you chat with influential bloggers all day and sweep anyone having issues under the rug by not responding back to them. By focusing on the customer, and giving them the floor to voice their concerns and be heard back in return, you’ll keep that customer and gain several more from their recommendations.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
Chances are you probably have a Twitter account and most likely follow a brand or two (or a dozen) there. If you’ve ever tweeted at them and gotten a reply back fairly quickly, you probably felt like the combined 73% from the infographic referenced earlier – you liked it or loved it. And chances are high it was done in such a way that was personalized just for you too.
Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes and put yourself in their Twitter handle’s place when responding back. Think before you tweet and make the tweet in response one that is personalized to what they need, rather than a stiff pre-meditated reply. Don’t prioritize responses or retweets of praises by how many followers users have either – on Twitter everyone is an equal and should be treated as such. By keeping a human touch in mind for your tweets, you’ll find that working with the company Twitter account is far from scary.

How to Split Test Your Facebook Content

facebook content testing
Split testing is everywhere in the digital world – you name it and it’s being split tested right now.  However, the concept of split testing Facebook posts doesn’t seem to have taken off, and we think it’s about time it did. Like with some of my previous articles, a lot of Community Managers out there are going to be grimacing as yes, this will mean multiple posts!

Why Split Test?
Split testing is an absolute fundamental in digital marketing.  The ability to test, learn and optimise to improve results in short cycles is one of its’ great advantages.  Split testing allows us to get better at just about anything, and needs to continue to be embraced.
How Is This Relevant For Facebook Content?
Facebook content is no different to any other medium in terms of the need to test.  If you’re launching a big campaign for instance, it’s important to know which part of the content is working for which segment of your audience.  
Say you’re posting with product content in a focused campaign.  It’s absolutely crucial to know the following for this specific content campaign:
  • What is the best time to post?
  • How long should the posts be?
  • What call to action drives conversions?
  • Which images work best?
  • Which audience segment responds best overall or to certain posts?
Knowing the above will allow you to increase your conversions in this instance by optimising content length, image, time of posting, call to action message and targeting criteria.  The same applies for engagement focused and other campaign types in the exact same way.
The questions really should be, “How is this not relevant for Facebook content?”, as why would you not want to improve your conversions and engagement?
Sounds Great, How Do I Do It?
There are a few different options as to how to split test your content on Facebook, and it’ll largely depend on personal preference and who your audience is as to which will be best for you.  Here’s how we tend to work at Zazzle Media:
  1. The first step is to decide what you want to test and what you will measure as success for each variant.  Decide whether you want to test by age brackets, or by gender for instance (we’ll show you how in a sec!)
  2. Once this framework is in place, set yourself some sensible boundaries and parameters – for example with testing images in posts you only want to test a certain amount, not hundreds. It will depend upon your time capacity and deadlines as to how many variables you want to test at the start of a campaign, but we’d recommend at least three of each variable should be tested; an expected winner, a similar alternative, and something slightly more left-field.
  3. Get your variables designed, written and ready to go based on your testing criteria.  For instance you may pick three images, or you may write three different call to actions to test. Alternatively you might instead be focused on audience segmentation, in which case define the parts of your audience you want to test against (e.g. the conversion rate for 18-25 year old females vs 26-34 year old females).
  4. Post your content & measure the results
  5. Analyse the data and see what works and what doesn’t and push your learnings into the next phase of the cycle 
Aside from the process, there’s the physical act of posting on to Facebook in this way.  There’s a couple of ways to do it, first up is by using Facebook directly and using the targeting features (normally available once you have 5,000 fans on the page):
Split Test Targeting
Split Test Targeting 2
Doing it this way will require multiple posts to be created aimed at different segments.  One way to create a fair test is to break the ages down into say 3 year age groups so you’d do posts for:
  • Females Aged 18-20
  • Females Aged 21-23
  • Females Aged 24-26
  • Females Aged 27-29
  • Males Aged 18-20
  • Males Aged 21-23
  • Males Ages 24-26
  • Males Aged 27-29
Whilst that means doing 8 posts potentially, this will allow you to test with a segmented audience.  This can be used to see how a post performs amongst certain demographics.
Alternatively, to test how different versions of a post perform fairly, the best way is to layer the ages as best you can, such as in the below example:
Age Layering
This would result in 10 posts, but would give as fair a result in this context as possible.  Alternatively, you can layer your years by two or three year gaps, however the wider it goes the more diluted the results will become.
Don’t forget that you can test on Facebook by locations, ages, genders, and of course by anything in your content (copy, call to action, link, image). 
The other ways to physically do this include using any of the standard posting and scheduling tools (Sprout SocialHootsuitePostPlanner etc) and using the targeting functions built into those apps, which use the options on Facebook.
Key Takeaways
  • Leave no stone unturned: The more you can test and the more data you collect then the more efficient you will be able to make your campaigns over the long-term.  It may seem a pain right now, and your Community Manager will hate you for asking, but the benefits will pay off
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment: As long as you are working within the parameters you set, you shouldn’t worry too much about ‘getting it wrong’.  Failing is the best way to learn that something doesn’t work, and optimising those variations out.
  • Do this on your next campaign: Now you know it can be done, there’s no reason to not try this in preparation for your next campaign.  Ultimately, why would you not invest a little time in improving your engagement and/or conversion rate from social?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is Instagram Facebook's Savior?

When Facebook paid a billion dollars for Instagram last April, the company knew exactly what it was doing. But did it envision the acquisition potentially saving its $75+ billion dollar empire?
Yes, that Instagram, now with more daily active users than Twitter. It's the best move Facebook has made since George W. Bush was in the White House. (2008.)
There is a method to the madness that was Facebook’s many changes over the last 24 months. Madness brought forth a revenue model that actually works, endless amounts of user data, and shareholders to answer to. The madness has also tarnished -- perhaps permanently -- the 'cool' factor that was its principle upon launch in 2004. What's lacking now, nine years later, is a true identity, especially when compared to its direct competition.  Twitter has become television’s ‘second screen,’ Pinterest works seamlessly with online retail, YouTube has changed the way we consume video and ditto for Instagram with photography.
By the sheer numbers, Facebook is still VERY healthy, reaching more than a billion unique active userseach month. Companies are also lining up to purchase coveted 'sponsored posts,' placing themselves next to friends, family, Taylor Swift and the Detroit Red Wings on a more consistent basis. But dig a little deeper, and one wonders if those users are actually there anymore, or if they've moved to Instagram. 
For example:
  • Olympic gynmast Aly Raisman has 399,000 followers on Instagram. Her Facebook page has only 130,000 'Likes.'
  • McKayla "#notimpressed" Maroney has almost 560,000 followers on Instagram. Her Facebook page only has 206,457 'Likes.' She also has 110,700 followers on Keek, a video platform that's in competition with Twitter's new Vine player. 
  • Kendall Jenner has 5.1 million followers on Twitter, 4.8 million followers on Instagram and just 1.5 million ‘Likes’ on Facebook. She also has 1.2 million followers on Keek.
Throw in those coveted 'user engagement' statistics and the numbers are even more skewed against Facebook.
  • Maroney posted a selfie on St. Patrick’s Day that received 36,375 ‘Likes’ on Instagram. Her Facebook fan page only received 7,700 total engagements for the week. 
  • Victoria’s Secret PINK posted a picture of a shamrock themed thong to its social networks on St. Patrick’s Day. On Facebook, where the brand has 13 million followers, the post received nearly 24,000 ‘Likes’ and 330 comments. On Instagram, where PINK only has 622,000 followers? 33,200 ‘Likes’ and 528 comments.
  • Getting out of the tween trend, the San Francisco Giants have 195,000 followers on Instagram compared to 1.667 million on Facebook. Yet, from an interaction standpoint, the smaller site consistently outperforms the much-larger father-company.
  • And when the New York Jets signed David Garrard to compete with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow for the quarterback position, the announcement yieled 3,493 ‘Likes’ on Facebook … and 3,358 on Instagram. The Jets have 1.5 million fans on Facebook and only 56,000 on Facebook's billion dollar investment. 
Why is this happening?
  • In the case of the Giants, EdgeRank has driven the team’s Facebook impressions (Up to 16 percent of its total audience) to be on-par with its much smaller Instagram account.
  • Then there is Facebook mobile layout, which has been unfriendly to a rapidly growing consumer base. This is one of the key reasons why the company introduced a fresh look to the News Feed earlier this month.  
  • The biggest concern may be the demographics. Facebook used to be an exclusive, college-only site that you felt cool to be on. Now the cool kids, the McKayla Maroney's, Aly Raisman's and Kendall Jenner's of the world are elsewhere ... and they've taken their fans with them.