Sep 10

Digital Musings

I have been quiet of late, having had loads of change in my life including a break to enjoy my now 10 month old.  I have also shifted countries, had a 2 month holiday in New Zealand, and survived 6 months with 2 kids and just suitcases as we have found a new house and our belongings were in storage.  But with that all out of the way (just), I am now embarking on some study to solidify all the Digital Marketing work I have been doing and also the latest in what is happening out there.  Google in conjunction with the Home Learning College have designed a Digital Marketing Course that sounds super exciting, with everything being online through G+ and Google Hangouts, it’s gonna be an interesting few months.  It’s new, very new in fact but as you know (if you are reading this) I am not new to the world of Digital, but I’m up for a challenge.

The first part of the challenge is for me to write a blog. Nothing new, I write content all the time, content blogs for clients is quite different however to a personal reflection blog about my experiences on the course and what I want out of it.  So as I make a return to the world of digital, I will be contributing back into this website again.

However, if you want to know my personal digital musings, you can find them here…

Digital Musings

Oct 16

Is Content Marketing the new linchpin?

Econsultancy recently released their first Content Marketing Survey report, of which they have produced in association with Outbrain.  1,300 Digital marketing professionals were surveyed (professionals working for brands, publishers and agencies conducted in July and August 2012) and finds that 64 percent of them agree that content marketing is emerging as a discipline of its own.  The main agreement is that content marketing as a discipline is becoming ever more important in digital marketing strategies.

That’s not new, I wrote about why I thought content marketing ruled the roost back in March.

But there were some really interesting titbits that came out of the report, here are some highlights from the Econsultancy blog;

  • Ninety percent of respondents believe that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months.
  • Nearly 3/4 (73 percent) of digital marketers agree that ‘brands are becoming publishers’.
  • Sixty-four percent of in-house marketers agree that content marketing ‘Is becoming its own discipline’.
  • Thirty-five percent of in-house respondents and 58 percent of agency respondents are saying that they (or their clients) are working on a content marketing strategy.

However even more interesting was that when asked if their companies or clients have a defined content marketing strategy, the majority said no (see chart below)

29 percent not even planning on a content marketing strategy for their clients over the next 12 months? But why?!?!?! They have just admitted the perceived importance?

Content Marketing Objectives

Differences were reported between B2B and B2C marketers.  In-house B2C marketers listed that increased engagement (52%), Increasing traffic (49%), and raising brand awareness (38%) as their top 3 Content Marketing Objectives. For B2B marketers it was increased engagement (58%), generating leads (44%) and increasing traffic (34%) as their top 3 Content Marketing Objectives.  Not that new really, and it’s about their business objectives.

I think these objectives are spot on, and part of the increased engagement and awareness is all about education your prospects about your offering, adding in your unique value proposition, gaining trust and developing respect (or thought leadership as it is sometimes called) in your chosen area of expertise.

 

Related articles:

Content Marketing Boom

Why Content Marketing Rules the Roost

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 04

Facebook hits 1 billion monthly active users

Wow, that’s a lot.  Mr Zuckerburg gave a little Facebook newsroom briefing to update us all on the milestone.  September 14th at 12:45pm Pacific time, Facebook officially reached 1 billion active monthly users.

So when did you join Facebook?  Were you an ‘early adopter’ or a ‘late starter’?  Did you resist the tempatation, like many of my friends thinking it was just a fad, or were you in there with both feet.  Interestingly I found being an expat from New Zealand, that there was a definite country shift in people using Facebook.  It took several years for New Zealand to use Facebook en masse where it would seem the majority of my friends over there still used Bebo and other smaller social networks.  But then they too all discovered Facebook and the country specific swarm of ‘friend requests’ began.

Mark Zuckerberg also kindly also provided a little factsheet with some great statistics that are worth sharing.

Since Facebook’s launch:

  • Over 1.13 trillion likes (since February 2009)
  • 140.3 billion friend connections
  • 219 billion photo uploads (total number of photos on the site and excludes deleted photos – ability to upload photos came in 2005)
  • 17 billion location-tagged posts including check-ins (launched August 2010)
  • 62.6 million songs have been played 22 billion times

The timeline for growth is as follows:

  • September 2012 = 1 billion monthly active users
  • July 2010 = 500 million monthly active users
  • August 2008 = 100m monthly active users
  • October 2007 = 50 million monthly active users
  • January 2006 = 25 million monthly active users
  • February 2004 = Facebook launched from a Harvard dormroom

I wonder what will be the next big thing?  Will Facebook survive the growing need for new, more interactive social networking?  Will the ever whispering question about privacy and ‘ownership’ of online information on Facebook be addressed?  Mr Zuckerberg was in Russia only during the last week, was this an attempt to win over the Russian social networking circles?

What do you think?

Apr 30

Get your Social Media SWAG on

SWAG, a word to me that conjures the image of a hippy female walking down the road.  But actually it has grown to mean a lot more that just that.

According to the Urban Dictionary, SWAG is about the entire package, and how you propel that image. I mean Simon Cowell is using the word, Soulja Boy is singing about it, when we go to a conference we want to get some complementary swag and we all hope we have just a little bit of it swag when we’re walking down the street.

Swag is the way in which you carry yourself.  Swag is made up of your overall confidence, style, and demeanor. Swag can also be expanded to be the reputation of your overall swagger. You gain swag, or “Swag up”, by performing swag worthy actions that improve this perception. A person can also “swag down,” by being an overall pussy and garnering negative swag for their actions. Swag is a subtle thing that many strive to gain but few actually attain. It is reserved for the most swagalicious of people. Swag can also be quantified, with point systems existing in some circles of friends.”

So, lets look at this from a Social Media angle, from your personal brand or even from your employer brand.  We’ve all got some swag, but how are you projecting yours?  Does your brand emit negative swag?  I guess in professional circles they like to use the word Klout (whether or not you like it or not) but it’s a little bit more scientific and loses the cool factor to be honest, and it has it’s own little Klout following which, well if it works for you then that’s great.

Deborah Shane broke swag up into 4 easy terms, and these are terms I think are very relevant for your social media circles.

“It starts with a Sparkle, grows with your Wisdom, endures with your Authenticity and is remembered by your Generosity.”
Sparkle
Wisdom
Authenticity
Generosity

I like this, I think it says a lot especially if I consider it with my twitter feed.  There are some people, companies and brands that totally have SWAG, but then there are the ones that are missing a letter or 2 and it changes everything completely.  You really don’t want to be a SWA because you never RT or thank people and you don’t want to be remembered for your lack of generosity in social circles.  And you don’t want to be just another WAG, no sparkle and really it makes it a bit boring for people to even find you.

So the aim is in the projection of the entire package, imagine being like a twitter superstar, you have followers, you engage, your content is interesting and authentic, and people are enthused and possibly thinking, ‘Wow, I want to work for this company, they rock’.  Then you have a job opportunity and you push it out there via your many social media sources and it links back to your recruitment website that hasn’t been updated since 2005, has istockphoto imagery, a clunky ATS, that is anything but smooth for the applicant, oh and the icing on the cake is that there is no onward communication with the applicant. ‘Poof’ like an application that disappears into thin air.  Even worse, it tells you to download and print a pdf, write on it, and post it in.

Your brand or employer just gained massive “swag down”.

Think about the entire process, is your marketing team communicating with your recruitment team, is your sales team communicating with your HR team, does your receptionist hold the key to the telephone swag of your company?  Swag runs through the company, and negative swag can happen when someone finally picks up that telephone to call your company and is let down by the response, wherever that response is within the company.

So is it time to consider your own Swag?

 

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Apr 16

Swiss Recruiters get their own #TruGeneva

Now I have never been to a Tru event, so I am writing this from my perspective as someone who will be very new to this event.  Much like the majority of Swiss Recruiters that will be attending I would imagine.  My other point is that I am not a recruiter.  I have worked for an online job board in a marketing and social media capacity and as such I had to keep up with what was happening in the world of recruitment, but I never felt these events were really aimed at me or what I do, so I knew about them, I just didn’t attend them.

So TruGeneva is on Friday 4th May, and these are not new events to Recruiting circles, just new to Switzerland as the first official Tru event to be run in this country.  There have now been over 25 Tru events worldwide, and I am glad to say that the style is NOT that of a conference.  Now this approach sounds strange, it does to me.  However then I realised the reason I don’t attend a lot of conferences is that it is a series of slots where one person is standing at the front talking at you.  IF they don’t talk too long (which seems rarely the case), you may get 5 minutes of selective questioning at the end, other than that if you disagree/agree/have an opinion you just write it down on your conference notepad, with a little star beside to follow up, or check that website or email that person at a later date. If it’s boring, you can’t leave, you are stuck, trapped, in row 10 seat 23 beside a man on a laptop and 3 women with their handbags spread in front of them like a walking death trap.  You can’t move, so you just have to sit it out, and find yourself wondering what conditioner the woman 2 rows ahead uses as her hair is extremely glossy in this light.  Been there?  I have.

So I have asked a lot of questions to Etienne Besson, whom is organising the TruGeneva event, on exactly what is the Tru event concept. I first met Etienne at the ‘after drinks function’ of one of the TruLondon events in February 2010 (Yes, I attended the networking drinks post work, but not the event, so slap my wrists), prior to my shifting to Geneva.

Since then I have attended several ‘meet ups’ or what Etienne calls #HRTug, where a group of us meet up at a local establishment and have some great discussions on recruitment, online job boards, Linkedin, Facebook advertising, how to attract for hard to fill vacancies and the like. I have come away from these revived, enthused and with a greater breadth of knowledge on areas I was a bit hazy at before on how in house recruiters actually ‘used this stuff’, or what aspects of social media they were, are were not comfortable using.  These are very off the cuff, can be what’s happening in the news, something someone has seen, read, or just a question that sparked a grand discussion.  But its a conversation among friends and colleagues, where everyone’s opinion is valued, it could be different, but it is valued. And these discussions are all based around Tracks, that you can chooses to attend, and even, pop in and out of these tracks without fear of a faceplant over a badly placed handbag because you are seated in a circle (love the concept). In fact, I have been told, popping into and out of tracks is encouraged so that you can ensure you get what you need too out of the day and from each of the tracks.

This I think, from my conversations as a current non-attendee, seem to be the essence of a Tru event.  You can read more about the ‘Unconference style‘ on Bill Boormans blog, and I think it’s important to understand this before you attend, because there won’t be any powerpoints or people speaking ‘at you’.  And in order for you to get the most out of the day, you need to participate, talk, communicate, agree, disagree, or if you want to happily stand on the fence, then that is fine too.  A bit like a social media network really, just that instead of an avatar (that could be ridiculously inaccurate), it’s you.

So as a marketer involved in social media and recruitment and having lived and breathed it in my last job for over 4 years, I am attending my first event at TruGeneva and I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ve had opinions at HRTug meet ups where I have informed recruiters that recruitment shouldn’t just be about the HR department, and that involving the organisation more fully, and the marketing team, there is a wealth of knowledge out there that they could assist you with.  I guess that’s why people start blogging so that they can get their view out there, but healthy debates are good, they encourage change and growth, find a better, easier or simpler way of doing things and I think this will be a benefit of an event such as this.

Maybe I will meet you there?

To register for the TruGeneva event, please go to the TruGeneva EventBrite page and secure your ticket before they all run out.  The location is super easy to get to as it is about 3 minutes walk from the main Geneva Cornavin Train Station, so you can’t miss it.

Mar 15

Social Media and ROI – not a dirty word

Two big terms and two big words bundled together alongside ‘KPI’s’ and ‘results’. I have read posts that say you can’t measure social media, or it’s too hard to measure ROI. I don’t believe this is true, there are metrics, and it’s a matter of finding the right metrics that can explain what the specific activity for you is trying to achieve.

But this is all a bit too late if you don’t actually know what it is you are trying to achieve.  Are you Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C), are you trying to warm up leads for your sales team to follow up, are you trying to create a community to find out more about your products/offering, are you wanting to inform and engage with current clients, are you wanting to shift your support activity to a faster, leaner online version using social media, are you wanting to drive traffic to your website, are you wanting to become a source of information, or a ‘go to’ website.  You can’t be everything to everyone so you have to decide what your approach to your social marketing is, so you can then determine the best strategy to use to start achieving your goals.  By determining what it is you are trying to achieve you can then determine the best set of metrics to use to map your progress.

There are many made up equations for social media ROI, based on the simple financial calculation of investment vs gain from investment.  That’s where it can get silly…

Social Media ROI = [(tweets - followers) / (comments x average monthly posts)] / (Facebook shares x Facebook likes) / (mentions x channels used) x engagement

One word …’Seriously!’ This is far from a true indication of how your specific campaign on your specific social media channel is performing.

 

 

Yes, gaining followers is a nice to know, but what are you doing with them, do you know who they are? What they like? Where they are based? Could you then perform a relevant specific campaign around groups of your Facebook community.

Yes you can measure a lot of statistics on social media, traffic to your website, blog traffic, engagement, communication etc.  But if it’s not specific to your actual planned strategy you need to take a step back and look at why.

Return on Investment isn’t a dirty word with social media, if your end game plan is to sell products then you have to take it on the chin and harden up.  But remember there are a lot of activities within a business that ROI isn’t applicable too, that social media marketing could also fit into. Customer service, crisis management, R&D, reputation management, technical support, sometimes we just need to broaden our horizons on the uses that social media opens up within an organisation (please see the list of social media impact areas in the image on the left).

 

Two questions I think are really important to the impact and assessment of ROI for a company I found in Olivier Blanchard’s blog.  He writes,

‘For an organisation, the value of social media depends on two factors:

1. The manner in which social media can be used to pursue a specific business objective

2. The degree in which social media activity helped drive that objective.’

So if it is about investment and gain and that is where the marketing KPI’s lie, then that needs to be assessed as ROI. But this is not always the case, and if financial gain isn’t relevant then ROI doesn’t matter and there are other metrics more suitable to assess the social media impact. These should be dependent on your organisation but along the lines of:

Are you converting leads?

Are you increasing your following?

Is your engagement going up? Are they coming back for more? Phone, email or web?

Are people viewing and sharing your content? If so what? Do you need to focus on your content in this area?

So, if you have a social media plan you will be able to effectively map the metrics and/or ROI as it relates to your company. If you don’t have a plan, then how can you even measure the effectiveness of your non-specific objectives.  My advice, sometimes it pays to slow down and get the basics right, before leaping in and trying to be everything to everyone.  Focus, work on your objectives, determine whether ROI is appropriate, and start making a proper impact with your social media marketing.

Other blog posts of interest:

Google Plus for Business

Personalising your LinkedIn Profile url

The expansion of Customer Service

Profile Fatigue

Responding to negative feedback

Mar 14

Google plus your business

I found this infographic via Chris Brogan’s blog and made via Bluegrass, and I have to admit, I love a good infographic.  It’s clear, concise and states good statistics, you can save yourself reading through a 40 page report to find the few hidden gems you actually want or need.

So if you have a business, and are still undecided on the Google plus phenomenon, logic would have it that you need to find out a bit more about it, get all your eggs in one basket.  I think this one does it.

 

 

Other Articles you may enjoy:

Kony 2012 – Marketin Genius or Marketing Ploy?

5 Facebook Engagement Basics

Why Content Marketing Rules the Roost

 

 

 

Mar 08

Kony 2012 – marketing genius or marketing ploy?

Last night I watched a movie that had appeared several times in my Facebook timeline, with several I mean it probably jumped up about 10 times.  I’m going to be honest and say that it is rare for me to click through and follow many of the videos that are posted on my timeline, but the fact they they were repeatedly posted not by the friends my age, but by my younger relatives, my friends teenage children, and their friends made me wonder what this was all about.  And what it is is a fantastic piece of emotional marketing titled ‘Kony 2012′.

Kony 2012 is a viral movie who’s target is a Ugandan warlord named Joseph Kony whom for the past 30 years has been allegedly abducting children in Central Africa and forced them to be child soldiers.  Now this isn’t the first time I’ve heard or read about the child soldiers, and I have also read about some of the work been done to assist them once they have escaped from the Lord’s Resistance Army, but this is the first time I have seen a large scale viral campaign, effectively targeting outside intervention to bring a warlord to justice.

Now politically, I don’t bother too much, and yes I have also read the posts about the legitimacy of the Invisible Children campaign, funding issues, financial statements, a dodgy photo etc. That I don’t know much about, but what I am seriously impressed with, is the wave motion that has occurred throughout social media and the passion that has been invoked by the youth.  It was quite compelling to youth, especially with the evocative images of Ugandan teenagers talking to teenagers, a youth movement, and feeling like if they unite in something they can actually make a change.  Who are we to start telling them to ‘get their facts straight’, and ‘it’s all farce’.  People act on emotion not logic, these are young people passionate about a movement, wanting to take action, feeling like they can make a difference. Have we become so complacent about world issues that our first thought is to sit back and pick holes in it? Automatically assume propaganda, and an ulterior motive? Are we raising a world of cynics? That is a sad thought.

Now back to the marketing.  Yes he is a filmmaker and he has done a brilliant job of reaching his target audience, used friendships and influence among friends to move and shift this video virally, shown a target of celebrities and influential people to get assistance to target, put the audience into an emotional state where they want to act against a warlord, and provided them with the ease and steps of what to do next.

Brilliantly big name brands have been trying to do this for decades!  It was an intense 30 minute video that followed a logical flow and with a path to action. He wasn’t coming across as pushing the message as an activist, but emotionally as a father, think of the number of big brands who have tried to intertwine family marketing into their advertising.

I have read a lot about the ‘intentions’ of this campaign, from monetary, to pushing for war, to ‘they’re after the oil’. I didn’t take away any of that, I saw it as a brilliant piece of emotional marketing that has spread an important message far and wide, through ‘Awareness’, and virally through what used to be ‘word of mouth’ from our trusted friends, but is now via social media channels. 1.9 million likes on Facebook and growing, 26 million views of the video on Youtube, thousands more on vimeo, #Kony trending on Twitter, Joseph Kony 2012 and Invisible Children trending on Google search.

Invisible People Kony 2012 Facebook Page

Take from it what you want, it does push for justice, bringing this man Kony in front of the International Criminal Court, making him accountable for 30 years of abuse.  Having worked in health promotion many years ago, we spend 10 x as much money trying to fix health issues after they have occurred, even knowing what causes them.  It’s like fixing the hole in the bucket instead of trying to mop up the water once it has spread everywhere. As an awareness raising campaign, wow, has this got people talking or what, this is the new digital activism.

 

Mar 06

5 Facebook Engagement Basics

Sometimes you need to take a big step back and ask yourself ‘Why am I posting this’.  Have I bitten off more than I can chew and how does this post benefit my readers? Time and time again I see organisations that have rushed in, started a Facebook page with no real understanding of what the purpose really is.

Have you had any conversation on your Facebook page in the last week? Month? 3 months? Remembering that a conversation is two ways.

Think about what you are posting.  Is it too long?  Is it ‘easily digestible’ – can someone glance, read and understand it? And the most important one, does it provide any value to your audience?  Any of these will not only result in low engagement but in some cases no engagement.

What is the bigger picture here? Are you using it to drive traffic to your main website? Is it a communication tool to engage more with consumers? Is it used for lead gathering? Is it to push out your specials, deals and real-time activities? Is it for relevant news distribution about your products, services?

Here are my 5 Facebook Engagement Basics

1. Know your audience

You have a pool of people who have ‘liked’ your brand or organisation, are you making the most of them? Do you even know what they want from you?  It is very simple to add in a poll to your Facebook page and ask them what information they want from you. There are some quick and simple ways to find out a little bit more about your audience just from the statistics within Facebook. My advice – use them.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Is your post Relevant?

You now know a bit about your audience, so is this what they want to hear from you? Are they excited about it? Are they interacting? Sharing? Engaging? If you need to generate comments, ask for them.  Keywords like ‘like’, ‘check’, ‘tell us’ are some of the best performing keywords for generating interaction. Invite discussion…

3. Keep It Simple – you know the rest

Short and to the point, This isn’t an essay, and if I have to click on …more because I still haven’t understood what the point is, it’s probably too late.  Posts with 80 words or less receive a 66% higher engagement on Facebook.

4. Know the best time to Post?

Brands need to post at optimum times to maximise their engagement. When are your users online? What time of the day or week should I post?  There are some simple yet very helpful tools that can help you with this including Bufferapp.com  Remember, sometimes less is more.

5. Happy News

Who wants to read depressing news in their Facebook news feed? I for one have enough of that reading the paper and watching the television, I want to know the good stuff, the uplifting stuff, that positive message that makes me want to click and find out more. These are the reasons I ‘liked’ your page in the first place, so if it’s continually depressing news posts and updates, be prepared to be unliked.

Time to have a closer look at what your company or brand is posting, and for some a bit of a rethink.

Inspiration from Wallblog

Image from Sample Stuff

 

Mar 05

Why Content Marketing rules the roost

In 2011 Google released their very controversial Panda update, otherwise known as Farmer.  But what this changed in the importance factor of websites worldwide was that original content, new and engaging content was now more important than ever.

Basically Google wanted to wipe the slate clean of some of the content farms that were out there, word for word copies, no original content and the dreaded word of ‘plagerism’. So to improve the search results for all, they introduced us to Panda.

What this update did overnight is basically kill the copycat game that some websites happily played. But it also meant a far greater emphasis is put on good quality original content, like blogs, like news, like papers and articles.  For the Google searcher it was brilliant, it performed like a vacuum cleaner on the web, getting rid of the fluff and leaving the good furniture behind.

For small businesses this has meant a leap in demand for content, and not farmed content, but original, ‘this is my view’, ‘this is where we see things moving’, ‘this is why we designed this’ type of content.

I have spoken to friends about the pressure some are finding themselves in to produce this content. I need to reiterate quality over quantity.  Yes, there are some keyword tools you can use to ensure you are writing good searchable content that is aligned to your marketing and content strategy, but the pressure should not come from the quantity of articles you produce.  If you create good content, it will then be shared via twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, which in turn spreads your reach further and further. So concentrate on the good stuff rather than the pressure to produce.

Yes I believe having a structured plan in place can help you to define your topics, your interests, and your market. But don’t forget the opportunities that come from ‘real-time’ updates, articles that are current, that are hot topics and in the news now, today.  Any content marketer knows that the ability to do a fast update to your website, a quick relevant and timely post, can make a company incredible newsworthy.

If you would like more information on content marketing consultancy, you can check out the web page on this website.

 

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