In general, producing and publishing quality content is a valuable practice for marketers but it comes with its fair share of challenges and problem areas. You see, in reality, content marketing is so much more than publishing a few blog posts every week.
As a result, it demands commitment in terms of time and resources and you may also come across several obstacles and roadblocks. Some are obvious and easy enough to deal with. Others may require an in-depth diagnosis to find a cure. Let’s look at 5 such content marketing issues.
1. No Objectives
Content marketing is like any other marketing strategy; it requires planning. Before you produce and publish content, you need to know why you are doing so because your strategy will be informed by it. For example, are you creating content to close sales more quickly or are you creating content to influence your industry and ergo inspire recognition and respect? Maybe you’re thinking about customer support! By the way, who are your main customers?
In short, no matter what your reason is for hopping onto the content marketing bandwagon, you need to have clear objectives and a strategy.Leave a Comment
In the last 10 years, social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, have seen an explosion of growth, both in terms of the number of users and popularity. Facebook, for instance, has 1.39 billion monthly active users and an average of 890 million daily active users while 89% of 18-29 year olds are on at least one social network. Clearly we live in an era where social media is a predominant way for people to interact and communicate online. For businesses, this rise in social media spells two things – opportunity and responsibility.
Indeed, social media is an opportunity and not only because of the audience on the different platforms but also the sheer amount of data that customers make readily available to marketers. The question is: Are you listening? After all, the magic of social media lies in its application in growing long lasting and scalable relationships with your customer base. Therein also lies the pitfall of the social networks. You have an online responsibility towards your customers. At the end of the day, social media can make or break your business.
Some social media practices that could hurt your business include:
1. You’re Publishing the Wrong Kinds of Content
Marketers often make the mistake of using the social networks for the sole purpose of pushing promotional content and updates. The problem with this lies in the fact that social media is all about building trust, engagement and community. There is a time and place for promotional messages but you also have to add value to the conversations and interactions you have online by sharing content meant to indulge or help your customers.
For instance, not every post you make on social media has to come from an original idea of yours. Sometimes responding to what others are saying and bouncing your ideas off them could be as plausible a way of getting yourself heard as any. Then there are other types of content such as non-promotional company information, for example if your employees are taking part in some volunteer work or if you have a job opening for job seekers.
2. You’re Publishing too Much Content too Often
How often should you post on the social networks? That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Sadly though, there is no right answer to this. There is no best practice set in stone because the social networks, for example Twitter and Facebook are very different from one another. One thing that’s true for all the social media sites is that updates and posts don’t last long and users move on to more recent items quickly. The other consideration is the type of organization you are. A media publication, for instance, can get away with many updates a day whereas a online shoe store sending out updates at such a frequency will exhaust and consequently turn off users. One thing you absolutely don’t want to do is talk just for the sake of it. Content you post on social media should add value to the community around your brand or business.Leave a Comment
Founded in March 2006 and launched in July that same year, Twitter has a short history of 8 years and in that time, the online social networking service went from 5,000 tweets a day in the year following its launch to 500,000,000 tweets a day as of 2013. This corresponds to an average of 6,000 tweets every second and a total of 200 billion tweets a year. As of December 2014, Twitter also boasts of 500 million users, of which an estimated 284 million are active users. Clearly, Twitter is one of the biggest social networks today and as a business, it makes sense to be on Twitter and of course promote the sharing and widespread distribution of your content by optimizing your website and blog to be more Twitter friendly.
But what makes a blog Twitter friendly? The truth is, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, everyone in the digital marketing world understands the value of marketing on Twitter but not everyone understands what it takes to encourage sharing on the social network. In essence, making a blog more Twitter friendly is a two-part process and each process, in turn, involves a number of steps.
- The first process is creating content that will do well on Twitter.
- The second process is fine-tuning the technical aspects of your individual blog posts and the business blog in general for better results on the social network.
Let’s take a look at the steps to create a business blog more prone to widespread distribution and sharing.
1. People on Twitter like Statistics and ‘Snackable Content’
The average adult has an attention span of 8 seconds. This is a number down from 12 seconds in 2000. Obviously, as the years go by, we are not getting more patient. Quite the opposite actually!
Correspondingly, in the content-saturated and distraction-rich world of social media and by extension, Twitter, marketers have a need to grab the attention of consumers quickly, giving rise to the concept of snackable content. When you create content, make it a part of the process to include snackable bits and pieces of information easy to share on social media and ergo Twitter. In particular, you can choose to add things like statistics or compelling quotes in the body and these can serve as useful resources for easy Twitter sharing and content distribution.
A useful plugin to easily create tweetable content and promote sharing on Twitter is Click to Tweet. Use it to highlight snackable parts of your blog posts and make it practical for readers to automatically add the message to their Twitter status box.
2. Use Quality Visual Content
According to findings by Jeff Bullas, adding images to blog posts increases its total number of views and engagement and a blog’s overall number of readers, subscribers, followers, and leads. In essence, visual content serves to break up written content and make it easier for readers to go through the whole post without bouncing. Now, if you are optimizing your blog for Twitter, adding visual elements to your posts should be more strategic with at least one image featured prominently, either as the header of the piece or as one of the first images and adjusted to the right image ratio for sharing on Twitter. The ideal image dimension for Twitter posts is 1024px by 512px.Leave a Comment
Launched on October 06, 2010 and named iPhone App of the Year by Apple the following year on December 09, 2011, after 4 short years, Instagram announced in December that it is now a global community of more than 300 million users sharing over 70 million photos and videos each day. From the beginning, as a photo-sharing and video-sharing social service, Instagram has been focused on 2 things: simplicity and inspiring creativity.
As Instagram grows bigger, it remains a fast, beautiful and most importantly a fun-filled way for people to share their lives with friends and followers. For businesses and brands, the large and growing audience on Instagram is a compelling reason to join the service. It’s additionally a beautiful platform for storytelling and to share engaging content.
But what happens if you join the service and after amassing a few dozen followers, your account’s growth rate slows down and eventually stops. If you have, give or take, a total of 100 followers, your images will get maybe a dozen likes at most. It’s not significant enough to gain any traction.
The key to a successful Instagram account then would be to learn absolutely everything there is to know how the social service, in particular things like what causes Instagramers to like images, what makes them become followers and how to increase the visibility and impact of your images. So let’s discuss the science of Instagram and how to get more followers and likes on the service.
1. Connect your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter Accounts
Perhaps the easiest way to grow your Instagram account is to connect it to your Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts so that any content you post on the photo-sharing service also gets posted across the other social platforms. This increases the reach and impact of your brand as friends and followers noticing your captivating imagery and rich visual storytelling will, most probably, start following you on Instagram as well. Note that if you choose to connect your social accounts, there is no rule against posting a status asking your friends and followers to follow you on Instagram as well.
2. Use Popular Tags
The most used hashtags on Instagram are as follows:
Like is the case on Twitter and a few other social networking services, using the right hashtags with your images and videos on Instagram is a great way to find new followers. The key is to be as specific and relevant as possible to help you connect with other like-minded people. After tagging your content, take a moment to look at pictures and videos other people shared using the same tags. You may come across some popular hashtags you hadn’t thought of originally.Leave a Comment
Many organizations are realizing the important role that social media plays in the marketplace today and as such, have started using it as part of their marketing and advertising strategy. While large corporations may have plenty of funds to allocate towards advertising on social platforms, many companies are not seeing the expected rate of return on their hefty social advertising investments.
A lot of business managers have approached social media by marketing their organizations to consumers as a business, as opposed to just simply interacting with consumers as if they were real people. Social networks are meant to be “social”. People want people talking to them; not a faceless corp.
Some organizations have fallen into the trap of talking “at” their consumer base on social platforms in an effort to reach their bottom line, instead of talking “with” their consumer base to genuinely learn more about them. As a result, many organizations are experiencing a lack of interest and interaction, from consumers on social media despite having large followings on many social platforms.
Here are 3 steps business managers can use to begin genuine interaction with consumers to stimulate interest and interaction on social media:
1. Avoid Using Social Media Simply to get More Customers into your Sales Funnel
While every organization is in business to grow its consumer base and generate sales, business managers must realize and remember that business is not always about the bottom line. There are times when business is about setting a good example and being a leader in the marketplace. One way that organizations can lead by example and demonstrate leadership is by giving back to the very community that helps the organization generate revenues.
Businesses can interact with its consumer base across many different social platforms to generate ideas for social causes that its consumers find important and worthy of attention. When consumers see that an organization, particularly a large organization, is ready to listen to them, they are more likely to get involved with the brand socially (translation: More likes, comments, and shares!).Leave a Comment
Social media has become one of the most effective forms of communication for organizations in today’s fast-paced world. With social media, company managers are able to strengthen relationships with their current consumer base via many different social platforms. It also allows company managers to target potential consumers who are not yet familiar with the organization and develop new relationships with them.
Much like a gun, while social media can be used for a company’s good, it can be dangerous for the company itself if used wrongly. There are a number of practices and procedures that company managers can develop that will help an organization manage its social platform strategies professionally and lower the chances of potential negative effects that can jeopardize an organization’s standing. This is known as a social media policy.
Here are 3 fundamental social media basics that company managers can implement into an effective social media policy and begin practicing throughout their organization:
1. Inform all Employees of their Role within the Organization
Advising all employees of the company’s mission statement, goals, and objectives is the first step in aligning all employees together in an effort to accomplish the organization’s sole mission. When employees understand the purpose of an organization, what the organization is attempting to accomplish, and that the organization needs the help of each employee to achieve its goals, employees will begin to understand their role in the company, take pride in their position, and take the organization’s desires seriously. Employees who respect their employer, and who take the company that they work for seriously, will become more aware of their own actions and will conduct themselves in a manner that prevents their employer from being represented in a negative light in public.Leave a Comment
At the end of each year, Google, Facebook, Bing, Spotify and some of the other movers and shakers of the world as we know it today release their “best of” or “top of” lists, giving us a clear picture of what the world searched for, tweeted or downloaded in the past year. In 2014, some headlines, technology and apps connected, moved and entertained us more than others. As we look forward to making 2015 amazing, let’s not forget to reflect on the year that passed.
Facebook’s “Year in Review”
In 2014, Facebook users posted about:
1. The FIFA World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup captured the attention of Facebook users more than any other event in Facebook history. The all-time highest-scoring semifinal in the Brazil v Germany game and other standout matches drove millions of conversations.
When Ebola started to appear outside of Africa following an outbreak in March in Guinea and the neighboring countries, the world took an interest. The outbreak, which claimed thousands of lives so far, is the most widespread in history and organizations including UNICEF and International Red Cross are working together to contain and stop the zoonotic disease.
3. Robin Williams
On August 11, 2014, American actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away leaving behind a huge legacy. Fans and public figures from around the world including friend and comedian Billy Crystal paid tribute to the Academy Award winner. His death also prompted many conversations regarding mental health.
4. The Ice Bucket Challenge
Pioneered by Chris Kennedy, the Ice Bucket Challenge is campaign that went around the world between June and September this year and catapulted Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) into our lives. The movement raised more than $100 million in donations. Famous faces who embraced the challenge include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Bieber, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and David Beckham. Here’s a video that shows the CEO’s of Facebook, Apple, MS, Google & Amazon taking the #IceBucketChallenge. Enjoy!
5. Conflicts and Humanitarian Crises
In 2014, the world saw its fair share of conflicts and crises. From the actions of Boko Haram to ISIS attacks against civilians in Kobane to crisis in Crimea & Ukraine and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that lasted 7 weeks, Facebook users responded quickly to traumatic news. The conflict in Gaza drove the most conversations. The year 2014 also marked the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
And just as we were bidding a happy goodbye to 2014, Taliban militants stormed an Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan firing on school staff and children. 145 lives were lost including 132 school children between 8-18 years of age. Social media was flooded with messages of grief, condolence and solidarity to remember the kids who died in this ghastly terrorist attack.
6. Malaysia Airlines MH370
When Beijing-bound international passenger flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 carrying 239 people disappeared in the early hours of March 8, 2014, people around the world took notice. 9 months later, the mystery remains unsolved. On July 17, 2014, the airline again appeared in the headlines and conversations on Facebook when another flight MH 17 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam crashed, having been shot down, near Torez in Ukraine killing 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
7. Sporting Achievements
2014 started with a bang when the Seattle Seahawks destroyed the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl XLVIII. Other sporting events that trended this year besides the World Cup include the Winter Olympics, the Champions League Final and the Indian Premier League. The 48th Super Bowl, which was played on February 2, is 4th on Facebook’s “Top 10 Lists” for US topics.
Here’s a Look at Facebook’s Year in Review Video
Google’s “Year in Search 2014”
In 2014, people around the world made trillions of searches and these searches say a lot about us. We searched for:
Like on Facebook, the 2014 FIFA World Cup was the most searched sporting event not only in the past year but also in history. The top trending players were James Rodriguez, Luis Suárez and Ángel Di María. The world also searched for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in which Russia, the host nation won an impressive 33 medals and the 48th Super Bowl played in New Jersey, USA.
In 2014, people searched to make sense of headlines including facts and fiction about Ebola, the mystery and conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of flight MH370, political and humanitarian crises around the world and global news including the trial of Oscar Pistorius and the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, USA.
3. Famous Faces
Jared Leto, this year’s Academy Award winner for Actor in a Supporting Role dominated search in 2014 ahead of co-star Matthew McConaughey who won the award for Actor in a Leading Role for the same movie: Dallas Buyers Club. The World Cup also saw Colombian footballer James Rodríguez shine for the first time on the world stage. Searches for the winner of the Golden Boot grew more than any other player of the tournament. Last but not least, Conchita Wurst, born Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth became a global superstar overnight when she won the 59th Eurovision Song Contest in May earlier this year. Here’s the video of her award winning performance for the song “Rise like a Phoenix”.
4. Science & Technology
In 2014, Apple, Samsung and Nexus dominated search in the mobile technology category. Searches for certain products also spiked including ‘wearable tech’ (clothes and accessories that allow users to track and measure their movement, sleep patters and other parameters), lightweight HD cameras, remote-controlled flying vehicles (or consumer drones) and mobile apps with the purpose of helping people get or stay active. Another technology and science related topic that drove a lot of searches this year is robotic space probe Rosetta that successfully reached its destination- Comet 67P on November 12, 2014.
5. Pop Culture
And finally, let’s talk movies and shows that conquered search the past year. Between Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, it’s nothing short of a fight to the death. Both are giant shows with huge global audiences. Jon Snow of Game of Thrones was this year’s second most searched character behind The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper.
Movie wise, the highest grossing animated movie of all time and the winner of three Oscars- Frozen was 2014’s most searched movie on Google ahead of Interstellar and Divergent. Jennifer Lawrence who was 2013’s golden girl is still driving the most searches beating big names like Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio although the former stole the search headlines for a while around the time of the Brangelina wedding. The top search was for Angelina Jolie’s wedding dress by Luigi Massi of Atelier Versace. Here’s a look at Google’s Year in Search 2014 video:
Wrapping things up, 2014 was a year with challenges, triumphs and moments that affected us all. We saw new beginnings, extended frontiers of knowledge, witnessed courage and said goodbyes. As we approach 2015, let’s reflect on what we achieved in the past year and build on that to make 2015 awesome.Leave a Comment
When it comes to email marketing, many startups are so focused on gaining new subscribers that they fail to address another important matter: Retaining the ones they already have. This is counter productive because according to Marketing Metrics by author Paul W. Farris, it’s far easier to sell to existing customers than it is to brand new prospects. But how can you build true customer loyalty via email marketing? How can you get your subscribers to open your emails each time?
If you want to keep your subscribers eager to receive your email notifications and away from the unsubscribe button, you have to treat them as people and not credit cards. Most subscribers abandon ship because the list maker starts getting greedy, either spamming their emails or not delivering the value they promised. This is going to drive subscribers away. The process of building customer loyalty has a lot to do with caring about your customers and thinking about their needs.
7 Ways to Keep your Subscribers Happy
1. If you made any promises, keep them
A lot of work can go into getting people to sign up for email newsletters. If you promised them something in return- freebies or a 30-day course to help them increase their social media ROI, you need to fulfill these promises. Make sure to act before it’s too late. It takes a lot of convincing for people to sign up on lists but less than a few seconds to hit the unsubscribe button.
2. Don’t be Random
Usually, people sign up on lists for a specific reason. So don’t be random about the newsletters you send out. Be specific about your list so you can craft emails that subscribers will be eager to open each time. In essence, send out nothing that’s too “everything-under-the-sun”! Give your subscribers what they signed up for.
3. Timing is Important
When it comes to email marketing, moderation is key. With too many emails too often, you run the risk of exhausting your list; Too little too late and people may not even remember why they signed up to your list in the first place. A general rule: Keep the frequency at one email per week. Of course you are free to do some experimentation to work out the frequency that’s optimum for your niche.Leave a Comment
Posted on December 10, 2014
Filed Under Brand Building, Content Marketing Strategy, Facebook, General, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networks, Twitter | Leave a Comment
Over the last couple of years, we’ve all seen the importance of social media skyrocket for businesses.
- Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly. This means that if Facebook were a country, it would have been the world’s third largest with 3.5x the size of the U.S population.
- 1 in 5 young adults aged between 18 and 24 use Twitter daily.
- Overall, Twitter receives an estimated traffic of 300K users per day.
- Between 2011 and 2013, LinkedIn experienced a 105% growth.
- 72% of online adults use social networking sites.
It’s safe to say that the need for businesses to get their social media marketing right is only going to get stronger over time.
Social Media Marketing 101
1. It all starts with picking the right types of social channels
Most marketers have limited time and resources to invest in social media. This makes deciding where to focus your social media energy an increasingly important decision. The thing to remember is that not all social media sites are created equal. Three things will determine which network you should sign up for.
- Your business objectives and goals
- Your customer demographic
- The type of product and/or service you offer
For example, if you run a website that sells beauty products, you will be sharing a lot of image-based content. This makes Pinterest an ideal social site. It also has a more women-skewed user base.
2. Publishing and Sharing Content
Many marketers limit their social media content to promotional updates. This won’t help you build trust or a community around your business. You need to broaden the scope a little. In addition to the occasional promotional update, try other types of updates including:
- Adjacent content. This includes content relevant to but not exactly about your business that may interest your audience.
- Joining conversations. Social media is all about interacting and communicating with people online. Take an interest in the conversations happening around you and jump in if you have something of value to add.
- Non-promotional company information. It’s always a good idea to humanize your brand on the social media sites. Let people in on what’s happening behind the scenes like if you’re doing any volunteer work or if you’re having a Christmas lunch for your employees.
- Humor is subjective and it’s not always acceptable so this type of post can be tricky. If you’re not sure about what you’re doing, it’s always better to put safety first. Remember that a joke is supposed to be funny. Not awkward. Not inappropriate. And not painful.
Then of course, how often you should update your social media accounts is another important consideration. The bad news is that there is no best practice that’s set in stone. The best frequency for making updates will depend on what’s appropriate for your business, the best practices in regards to the social channels you use and your audience. You will need to experiment to know what works best for you.Leave a Comment
It’s amazing how a lot of the things that we do repeatedly can be automated. And it’s even more awesome that apart from us, marketers can benefit from that. Today we are going to talk about 10 browser extensions that were designed for social media marketers.
Buffer is a social media management tool. It allows you to share stuff you find to your friends and followers. It also allows you to schedule things to be shared for later.
Now you don’t even have to open a new tab to sign in to do that; you can just download the extension for your browser. It’s available on Chrome, Safari, Firefox here.
Sometimes we find something to share while we are on the go, but we might not want to share it right-away. This can happen when for example, you’ve just shared something else 2 minutes ago.
In those instances, Evernote Web Clipper might come in handy. This tool allows you to collect things you find on the web on the go, right from your browser window. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox here.
3. Instagram for Chrome
With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on 10,000+ reviews, this Chrome extension certainly deserves a mention on this post.
The Instagram for Chrome extension allows you to do almost everything that you can do in the Instagram official app, without ever leaving the browser window that you are using. Comment or like photos or browse your friends any time you want, right on the same screen. You can download it here.
4. Riffle by CrowdRiff
This nifty tool turns you into an instant Twitter-user analyst. It gives you an in-depth insight on a bunch of useful data, like the:
- Retweets to tweet ratio
- Favorites to tweet ratio
- Top hashtags
- Top mentions
- Top URLs
- Average tweets per day
- And more…
It allows you to see who is really important in the Twitter community (so basically, who you need to actually spend your time on to produce real results). Get this mini-detective for free here.
What if you could get the perfect hashtag for your tweet? A lot of people seem to fail miserably when it comes to the use of hashtags. They either use something that has been used to death or words that are a little bit too… “unique”.
Ritetag is like a hashtag-good-ometer. It tells you how well a hashtag is performing right now. It’s available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox here.Leave a Comment