Social value is a critical element to any brand's marketing strategy. One major metric that affects social value is the SHARE. The more organic shares content receives, the more impressions -- and potentially engagement -- it receives as a result.
Although often associated with Facebook, the idea of sharing content relates to any platform (including a physical discussion that carries an idea that starts online to the offline world).
So why do people share content?
They were so affected by the content, they want to give others that feeling.
Knowledge is power and being able to inform others makes one powerful.
(Almost) everyone wants to be: inspirational, funny, helpful, and part of something larger than themselves.
The reasons to share content help you understand what kind of content is highly shareable:
DEALS:Discounts and offers should be available for everyone (after all, with the power of a share your deal could end up on another continent in no time at all). The standard neighborhood phone call exclaiming, "There's a hug sale at Macy's!" has been replaced by a network-wide click of a button.
HUMOR:Because who doesn't need a good laugh? Just make sure it isn't offensive to anyone or you could see some major backlash.
ADVICE:We are in the self-help era. People want tips (and to share tips) that can help everyone. Think "3 easy ways to save money," or "Everyday household items thatremove stains."
ADORABLE ANYTHING:From babies to puppies -- if it's adorable, it will at least merit a like, and more often than not, a share from your Aunt Janine and her fellow book club members.
AMAZING FACTS:Did you know? More importantly… do you care? If both answers are YES, people will share your content.
WARNINGS:Is something major happening in the world that relates to your brand? Get the word out.
INSPIRATION:Everyone has a motivational quote that gets them every time. Be the mid-afternoon pick-me-up folks need.
UNITY:People love being a part of teams, clubs, groups, etc. They wouldn't "like" your brand if they weren't proud of it. Whether you're promoting #USA, #TeamBieber, or #CoffeeLovers, give your fans a reason to feel proud.
Didn't this blog post make you feel so incredible that you want to SHARE it? No? Okay. Comment below about what inspires YOU to share.
Submitted by Lauren on September 30, 2013 - 9:18am
Choosing an email marketing service can be overwhelming – the list is long and the options plenty. The first step should be creating your email marketing plan (don't worry, it's not set it stone). Knowing an idea of what you plan to do will quickly narrow things down.
3 questions to ask when choosing an email marketing provider:
How much does it cost? Fees are based on two criteria: the number of subscribers in your list or the number of emails you send. Reference your marketing plan here to see which approach will be the most cost effective for you.
Do the email design tools match your skill level? Even the most experienced HTML programmer chooses to use a template once and again. If you are a novice at HTML (or specifically programming for email), find a service with user-friendly email templates you can customize for your business's campaign. This is important, unless you enjoy pulling your hair out.
Which reporting and measurement features will you need? Make sure the service you choose has the reporting capabilities you want and need to track. Also, email marketing is moving more towards a "test and revise" strategy and A/B testing is a great way to see which email approach works best before sending to your full email list. Not every email service provides these capabilities, so make sure you check before making a commitment.
For years, people have been saying, “Mobile is the next big thing.” The truth is, mobile isn’t next. It’s now.
It didn’t happen overnight, but there’s no denying that understanding the way people use their mobile devices has become super important – to retailers, to publishers, and to marketers. Here’s the mobile explosion, in 11 impressive stats:
General use: 1. Consumers now spend 25% of their total digital time at home on tablets or mobile phone 2. 75% of all mobile ad impressions are viewed within the home 3. 80% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners use their devices in front of the television 4. 51% of mobile traffic is sent from mobile video 5. 63% of cell phone owners use their phones to go online
Shopping: 6. Consumers using mobile devices to make purchases, or to take a step toward purchasing, now account for 31% of total web conversions 7. 58% of adult smartphone users regularly engage in showrooming (checking out products in stores to compare prices on smartphones or later at home online) 8. 32% of smartphone shoppers are using their mobile devices to make a purchase on a weekly basis. That’s almost double the amount in 2012, with an additional 25% of smartphone shoppers now purchasing items every month
Social media: 9. 78% of Facebook’s 128 million of daily US users are mobile 10. 27% of mobile Internet time is spent on social networking sites 11. 60% of users access Twitter through mobile
Remember 10 years ago when it became evident that every brand, big or small, simply couldn’t afford not to have a web presence? Yeah, that’s where we are with mobile now. But it doesn’t have to be daunting. We’ll be following this post up with more info about how to make the most of mobile.
References: 1,2 and 6. AOL and the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, August 2013 3. eDigitalResearch, October 2012 4. Cisco, February 2013 5. Pew Center for Research, September 2013 7. Parago, July 2013 8. eDigitalResearch, July 2013 9. Facebook, August 2013 10. Experian, April 2013 11. February, 2013
If you log on to Facebook daily, like 70% of Facebook's 1.15 billion users, you may notice that you see content from the same groups of people or brands in your news feed. You may also find that the same people like or comment on your updates, links, and pictures.
Facebook has an algorithm for sorting posts and giving certain stories priority in your news feed – it’s called Edgerank. Edgerank (and everything I am about to explain) applies to Facebook relationships between brands and individuals as well as individuals and other individuals.
Edgerank puts three metrics into its equation and spits out stories for you. Those three metrics are affinity, weight, and time decay.
Affinity: the relationship between users (remember, this applies to both brand-individual and individual-individual relationships), which is based on repeated interaction in the form of likes, comments, shares, messaging, and clicks on stories in the news feed.
Weight: the priority your post gets based on the type of post and the interaction it garners. Traditionally photos are given highest priority, then videos, followed by links, and, finally, plain text. However, if a text post received lots of comments (which are weighted slightly higher than likes, and a bit lower than shares), then it is likely to appear higher and more frequently in news feeds than a photo with less interaction.
Time Decay: how long the post has been live, and how long it's been since the last interaction with that post. Ever wonder why friends "like" a photo of you from 2008? The odds are that someone was creeping, liked that photo, and started a chain reaction because the activity of that friend "liking" your photo appeared in your mutual friends' news feeds.
While these three metrics are weighted to determine how Facebook will display content in your feed (and your content in your friends' or fans' feeds), there are also four factors that determine the success of your post each time you make one.
1. Past interactions with the author
2. Past interactions with the post type
3. Activity surrounding your post
4. Amounts of negative feedback
The bottom line on Edgerank?
It's complicated, it's always changing, and although it has a formula, it's still unpredictable amidst such a saturated channel.
What can you do to get on Edgerank's good side?
Create quality content. No interaction is better than negative interaction, so make sure you're posting what your fans want to see.
Encourage engagement. What's the best way to get what you want? Ask for it. Use open-ended questions and fill-in-the-blanks, seek captions from users, or ask for a certain action based on their opinions or experiences regarding your post.
Post consistently (and at the best times). There is no magical time of day here. These times will be different based on each brand and its audience. Through a little trial and error (and monitoring your Facebook Insights), you'll be able to tell when fans engage with your content most.
Have questions about your brand page's Facebook success, and how Edgerank may be playing in that? Comment below to share your experiences, and hopefully we can help you understand them!
A few weeks ago, I was searching online for a new shirt to help me look my patriotic best on July 4th. A few days later, while checking my newsfeed on Facebook, a certain clothing company I had been looking at popped up with ads of American flag shirts. Was I being stalked? No, I was being retargeted, a strategy companies are quickly adopting to capture customers.
Here’s how it works: After someone searches for products, engages with a company’s social profile, or interacts with that company’s website, ad networks can place cookies in users’ browsers and essentially “follow” them on the web, serving up relevant ads.
It’s been considered somewhat controversial by those who see it as an invasion of privacy, but done right, it can be a boon to brands while also improving the online shopping experience for consumers. Here’s how:
Make sure your ads are well branded: Be certain that a customer can recognize an ad as your ad. Including your company logo goes a long way in aiding recognition.
Avoid serving too many ads: You can seem pesky or bothersome (read: stalkerish) if everywhere your potential customers look they see your ads. ReTargeter suggests serving between 15-20 impressions per person in your segment pool.
Don’t retarget everyone: Identify the potential customers who may have the most value to your company. If someone visited your products pages while another bounced from the homepage, focus on the former – this potential customer has clearly shown more interest by exploring your site more.
Following these best practices should help you get a great start. How do you feel about retargeting? Do you have any suggestions or tips that could help others? Let us know in the comments!
YouTube gets more than one billion unique visitors every month: seems like a great place to promote your brand. But how do you go beyond banner, pre-roll and overlay ads? Or, if you’re running your own YouTube channel, how do you reach a bigger audience?
You could reach out to YouTube creators who already have big audiences – but how do you get them to endorse your product if they’re already living on Adsense revenue for stuff they don’t have to endorse directly?
The UK branch of Kellogg’s Krave cereal is reaching those YouTubers by helping them create cool content their audiences will (pun alert:) eat up.
How it works:
Kellogg’s ships a Krave Challenge kit to some popular YouTubers. Each challenge is funny, ridiculous and personalized – appealing to a particular interest or talent of the YouTuber.
After completing the challenge on video, each YouTuber invites his or her audience to complete a similar challenge and tweet about it for a chance to win various prizes.
The YouTuber tags a friend who is also doing a Krave Challenge, so the audience can find more hilarious Krave content.
I love a good event. A party, a festival, a summit or even a conference. Offer me the chance to be around people, learn something new, see new places...well, I've already grabbed my notebook and some business cards.
A few months ago the PRSA Southwest District team announced the line up for a June event in Austin called "Keep PR Weird," a nod to Austin's famous phrase to encourage uniqueness in local culture and enterprise. It has been years since I attended a public relations conference so I couldn't wait to hear what other PR pros believe to be the nuggets we all need to know this year. Notebook in hand (and colleague Susan Schoolfield in tow), I captured some things I think are "now" and "next" in the industry based on the 10 sessions I attended over two days. If we were chatting over dinner, here are the highlights that I'd share with you.
Storytelling is a sure way to connect with others. Speaker and columnist Dave Lieber does it every day writing for the Dallas Morning News. His best advice is to go for solid story construction: set the scene, dialogue it out in full and help people live through the moments. Everyone loves a good story...and every person (or product, or company) has one.
Stay intentional about tracking and retaining good PR talent. "Good people do good work," summarized Starr Million Baker of Ink PR during her session. She's got a point because talent is what we're asking our clients to believe in every day. In our business, creative and strategic people seem to thrive best under freedom and encouragement. Treat people right, provide a motivating environment, and watch what happens.
Be an advisor, not an order taker. As an account director, I feel great responsibility to meet client requests. But, this is a powerful reminder from Stacy Armijo of Pierpont Communications, who talked about reputation and influence being central to healthy client relationships. We're all seeking the client's success, yet our job as public relations professionals is to interpret, counsel and advise.
Manage a crisis situation in a 21st century way. Every one should have a crisis plan in place, particularly for communications needs. Now is the time to try tactics like video updates to spread news fast, the way that the team at the Austin Humane Society has recently done with great success. And while you're at it, go ahead and think beyond the typical protocol. What would your team need to survive a multi-day crisis situation? Batteries, phone chargers, water bottles and granola bars, etc., are all good ideas for a "go bag." Your team will think more quickly on their feet if the basics are a given.
We're in a 1440 news cycle--act accordingly. There are 1,440 minutes in a day--and you'd better believe that news is being developed during each one of them. No stranger to high pressure and quick deadlines, Jenifer Sarver of Burson-Marsteller's Austin office has blazed the campaign trail and served as counselor to government officials. I'm in full agreement with her reminders to respond quickly and be ready. And, her commitment to persuade--not bludgeon—others in a fast-moving environment is right on target.
Data gatherers as the rising influentials in any company. I can almost hear the Balcom team saying a resounding "yes" to this one. We're committed to analytics, key words, and online insights because of what they can tell us about the customer. The people who know where to find the data are the researchers we all need...and who all marketers need to become. The WCG team's presentation on building digital stories through analytics emphasized that there is no better channel for awareness than social media.
Communications managers as the first responders to any situation, particularly critical ones. It's a true saying that as social goes, so goes the story. That means the PR pros and community managers monitoring and responding online are setting the new framework for managing disasters. The team who worked on recent hurricanes in Louisiana kept us on our toes during this presentation. My favorite take away? "We don't do PR for the disaster. We do PR for the info people need." I happen to think that is both well said and right on. Read more about my recommendations in this recent blog post on crisis needs.
Annual reinvention in messaging. The team from the Austin-based South By Southwest Conferences & Festivals (SXSW) puts on a new event every year, and they push for the brand to undergo review as part of the preparation. The messaging has to be timely, fresh and on track. I also loved what the PR team shared about how programming, partnerships and production are a modern publicist's job description. You'll find that every public relations professional at Balcom operates in this way: we seek to keep it current and work with clients on the details. And, we'll encourage you to stay relevant by thinking of what's next in regular strategy sessions.
Balancing shrinking newsrooms with more outlets for coverage. It is no surprise that traditional media newsrooms are shrinking, while reporters are balancing more beat areas than ever. In this day and age, we're all being asked to do more with less. Recognize, though, that the flip side of that PR challenge is that there are more opportunities for content than ever with blogging, online publishing, social and other outlets. Smart, strategic media relations professionals will help their clients make the most of all opportunities each time they pitch and share a story, as a panel of PR pros stressed. Our team at Balcom, for example, searches more than just media databases when we're looking for the right outlet for our clients.
Honest, proactive responses delivered even more quickly. The most talked about moment came during a passionate closing session with Katherine McLane with the LIVESTRONG Foundation. When their founder Lance Armstrong proved that he had been deceitful on multiple fronts, the organization took a lot of criticism, even while they took tough action by cutting off an official connection with him. Through it all the organization's messaging pointed back to the mission: to provide cancer support for millions. You could find that statement in the press, in social media and lots of places, asking people to #fightwithus. That simple response put the situation in perspective for an upset public back when the crisis broke, and it is still fresh now. More than being the right thing to do, it was the right message for all that is now and next.
What do you think is next in PR? Tell us in the comments!
I talk a lot about the ROI of social and digital media. I can produce all sorts of amazing figures, graphs and examples of how we've measured online media and the results. Awesome. Good for the internets.
But a lot of times you can NOT measure the direct result of social media. I've talked about this before, but now I have the perfect example. Last weekend, my wife and I decided to have a little "staycation" in Dallas since we were visiting for a wedding shower.
I started to think where we could stay and I really wanted a great pool. I ended up booking a room at the Omni Hotel in Dallas. Being the over-analyzing, advertising nerd that I am, I decided to retrace my steps as to why I picked the Omni.
It all boiled down to this Instagram:
You may be asking yourself, "Chip, what are you smoking?! That's not even a picture of the Dallas pool!!!" Correctomundo. That's exactly the point. I saw this photo several days before we even decided to get a room. When we decided to stay at a hotel, the first place I thought of was the Omni in Dallas.
Had I seen a picture of their pool? No, but I remembered there was an Omni in Dallas and I knew they always had great pools. I decided to see what deal I could get and looked on TripAdvisor and OmniHotels.com. After looking a couple other hotels, I ultimately decided the Omni would be the perfect place.
Now, can Omni Hotels track the purchase of my room to the view of a photo on Instagram? No way, Jose. Can they track it because I clicked on a link from Instagram? Nope, you can't even have clickable links on Instagram (at the time of this writing). There is no way for Omni to track this. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
So was there value in their social media? You bet. Were they able to measure it? With the exception of this blog post, there would be no way to measure it.
Social media is becoming a bit more like TV, in many ways. When you go to the store, you don't know why you want Mio instead of liquid Kool-Aide, but you do. You forgot the ad you saw 26 times in the past three weeks. Obviously, us marketers track this whenever we can (for example, does a larger TV media buy result in more sales?), but we don't know if spending $1,000 in TV will result in $2,000 more sales.
Tracking and measurement is always improving. I wouldn't be surprised if, in three years, Omni is able to track the purchase as a "view-through" conversion (the technology exists, but it is not used by Instagram today).
The morale of the story? Just because you can track so many different metrics does not mean that you are really tracking everything.
Every marketer is familiar with the traditional vehicles for brand awareness: TV/radio commercials, billboards and newspaper/magazine ads. But it almost goes without saying that the rise of media and audience fragmentation, along with the decline of print, have made traditional vehicles less effective at best. Which is not to say there’s no place for traditional advertising—just that it must be complemented by other means. And by “other,” we mean digital.
You’ve got to meet the people where they are, and that’s increasingly online. Long seen as a more transaction-oriented space when it comes to marketing, online has great applications for raising brand awareness. Some might surprise you.
If you think of online video as just a showcase for cats that say “no” to bath time, think again. From pre-roll that features more traditional spots to longer pieces that offer branded experiences, online video gives you an opportunity to tell your story in unique ways—ones that often wouldn’t fly on TV. A recent study found that 46 percent of online video viewers are likely to look up a brand that’s mentioned in an online video they’ve watched1. One of our favorite examples of online video is still Blendtec’s Will it Blend?, which has been going strong since 2007.
Content marketing is a real multi-tasker—it can do wonders for your search engine optimization and create loyal customers all while raising brand awareness. Content that raises brand awareness is content that keeps people not only coming back for more but also sharing across social networks. Bloomberg is a pioneer here—the company started out as a financial services provider, but it’s become almost synonymous with business news. In fact, Bloomberg.com takes you to their news site, not their company site.
Forrester Research recently found that 70 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends, while only 10 percent trust advertising2. That means it’s not enough to simply have a social media presence. You have to make it one that is truly integrated with your customers. You can post about your products and services until the cows come home, but that’s nothing more than traditional advertising in social media’s clothing. What you want is to get engaged—have meaningful conversations, offer information or tools that are relevant and useful and make it easy for your customers to tell their friends about you.
There are lots of other ways to raise brand awareness in the digital age – even pay-per-click advertising can have an effect. What are you finding to be the best ways to give your brand a boost online? Tell us in the comments.