March 29, 2015 by
Americans spend more time on social networks than any other internet activity, including email (source: Business Insider).
This fact may be a key reason many brands pursue social media, but it’s an even better reason why they should have a social media engagement plan, first.
Social media engagement is communicating in a distinctive way so your audience pays attention and has a relationship with your brand in a two-way conversation. A recent survey of 45 CMOs found the majority of CMOs don’t know the definition of engagement.
How to brands practice social media engagement? Offer customer support, attract and retain valuable employees, show they have a sense of humor, distribute relevant content, ask for user generated content and say they’re sorry in a heart-felt way that wins customers when they make mistakes.
Brands that are successful with social media engagement define a purpose and role for social media, first; one that gives them both a business and relationship building reason for being there.
Here are 10 best brand examples of social media engagement.
- BISSELL: The vacuum cleaner company knows how to crack a joke from time to time on its Facebook page. What’s great about Bissell’s humor is that it never sacrifices brand relevancy, as is evident by this smartly funny Facebook post.
- CHOBANI: One of the most popular greek yogurt brands embraced digital storytelling offering to publish users stories. Real fans made original videos, creative photos, and left praise on social media channels about their favorite greek yogurt, supplying Chobani with an impressive amount of UGC to use for marketing purposes. Tweets were put on their billboards. Videos were featured on their website, and others were sent out to their social media followers.
- CLEVELAND CLINIC: In a regulated industry generally far behind the content marketing curve, the hospital delivers posts that help people deal with chronic diseases, overcome depression, and the battle to live a healthier life. And all of the content is written by physicians who practice there. No wonder a regional hospital has more than 1.2 million Facebook Likes.
- ORACLE: The Instagram profile of Oracle consists of photos from company events and conferences around the country, while providing an inside look at what it’s like to work for the company. Their team’s dedication and enthusiasm is reinforced with employees commenting #proudtobeoracle consistently across photos. This transparency allows other businesses and prospects to experience the company’s highly engaged staff. The company also shares short video clips with their followers to better tell the brand’s story.
- KRAFT MAC & CHEESE: How do make an ordinary noodle into something customers want to have a relationship? By giving it some personality so it the kind of brand you’d like to sit down and eat with, just like the team at Kraft does with endearing posts?
- SALESFORCE: The Facebook business page of Saleforce shows an active and engaged community. Tabs are set up which allow visitors to explore and learn about the company’s offerings, such as their CRM (customer relationship management) solutions, without a single high-pressure sales message. Their posts, which average one per day, ask thought-provoking questions and share their own and others’ blog posts.
- TIME: If you’re going to practice social media engagement, you’re going to deal with disgruntled customers. Here’s how Time magazine does it. Don’t just say the words but mean it. Come right out and say “I made a mistake and I am sorry for that.” Apologising and admitting to an error are not bad things and will not result in you looking weak.
- T-MOBILE: In an attempt to steal away customers from it’s competitors, T-Mobile offered to pay the contract cancellation fees of any person who “broke up” with their existing cell phone service and switched to T-Mobile. They launched an ‘Un-Valentines Day’ with a Facebook App that let people create a custom break up letter to their carrier and print it out or share it on their social networks.
- WHOLE FOODS: Would you “Holla for Challah bread”? Whole Foods wants you to, and that’s just one of its witty little Facebook updates. Mainly sharing recipe and food ideas through its Facebook page and Twitter feed, Whole Foods adds a dash of humor that makes it a lot more fun to follow than your average recipe source.
- X-BOX: Anyone who’s owned a gaming system knows they can be buggy at times. What makes them stand out is that they’re not just an intermediary between the user and the call center; they actually troubleshoot and solve problems on Twitter when possible. No waiting on hold. Instant customer service and expectations exceeded.
Do these examples show you the value of social media engagement? Do you have a plan for social media engagement?
June 02, 2014 by
- 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content (source: Demand Metric)
- 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally (source: Sirius Decisions)
- 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it (source: Demand Metrics)
The facts show content has a major influence on buying behavior. And, when done effectively, content marketing improves the journey.
How? Here are 7 ways content marketing improves the buyer journey.
DISCOVERY: Potential buyers are likely to learn about your business from relevant content.
- KEYWORDS ARE THE CURRENCY OF THE INTERNET: 54% of people find websites through natural search results according to Forrester. This means, when people type in their unmet need in the query box of a search engine, relevant content is likely to begin the brand relationship. A good tool to use to find the right keywords with the most search volume for your business is the Google Keyword Planner.
- BUYER NEEDS CHANGE; CONTENT MARKETING QUICKLY ADAPTS: Buyers’ needs change but content marketing can maintain relevance. To illustrate, here’s how consumer needs in pajamas have changed using Google Trends. But content marketing could easily be adapted to changing needs, tastes and seasonality.
CONSIDERATION: There are different Buyer Personas and stages to the Buying Cycle. Content Marketing builds 1-to-1 reach relationships with all of them to facilitate their journey.
- BUYERS GO THROUGH FIXED STAGES IN BRAND CONSIDERATION: There are three stages to our buying behavior on the internet based on three personalities: Researchers, Shoppers and Buyers. Researchers expect the business to educate them. Shoppers expect comparisons to other products. When ready to buy, Buyers want an experience that is clear, easy and fast. Content marketing is one of the most practical and thorough ways of appealing to all of them.
- CONTENT TAKES A LOT OF FORMS: They include:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Email campaigns
- Web content
- Case Studies
- LINKS CREATE AUTHORITY, INFLUENCE AND ADVOCACY: One of the most effective ways to be recognized as an expert in your area. It might seem like a paradox but if you extol competitors you admire, you elevate your brand to that competitive set. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to link with other authorities. Content marketing is an effective ways of incorporating links. They raise authority and search rank.
SELECTION: Content marketing is one of the most measurable means to find the audience you want to attract, find more just them, get them to take the actions you what and prove effectiveness. So, you can repeat this process over and over again.
- ANALYTICS GIVE AN ACTIONABLE SCORECARD: Every piece of content can be measured to see who visited, spent time, opened, shared, commented and their behavior flow. Whether through Google Analytics on a websites, short links like Bit.ly on social media or a download, everything can be measured. It shows what worked, what to keep doing and what to improve.
- RELEVANT CONTENT CREATES COMPETITIVE DIFFERENTIATION: After the product, relevant content is a brand’s most relevant asset. All things being equal, a brand that produces relevant content, vs. a similar brand that doesn’t, has significant competitive differentiation.
For more facts on content marketing and buying behavior, check out the infographic below.
Did this convince you content marketing improves the buyer journey? Are you ready to do something about it?
August 24, 2013 by
More businesses are blogging for marketing purposes. And more people are reading them. Blogs are the lowest cost marketing channel; yet, as the fact below show, they can produce high returns.
Why? Blogs drive traffic to a website; raise page rank on search engines; create high quality leads and generate revenue and ROI.
They reveal a truth about human nature and relationships: People like to do business with people they know. After a product or service, relevant content is a a business’ next best asset.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. The benefits of blogs don’t accrue without regular publishing, listening to the needs of your audience and engaging.
Is it worth it? Here are 40 facts on blogs every business needs to know to grow.
VISITORS TO A WEBSITE
- 55% of businesses with blogs see more visitors to their websites (HubSpot)
- 3X more minutes is spent on blogs by US internet users than on email or social networks (HubSpot)
- 5X more website traffic comes to businesses that blog 20 times per month (4-5 week) than those that blog fewer than 4X times per month (HubSpot)
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
- 434% increase in “indexed” search pages for businesses with a blog; said another way, businesses with a blog are found on 4X the number of search pages (HubSpot)
- 97% more inbound links are found on website that have a blog. This means the search engine are much more likely to credit a business with a blog as being an “authority” in their industry and raise their search rank (HubSpot)
- 95% of businesses with a blog report higher search rank (HubSpot)
- 85% of blogs use tags (Technorati)
- 75% of us read a blog a day (Technorati)
- 4X more search pages for businesses with blogs than those without blogs (HubSpot)
- 77% lift in median monthly leads occurs to businesses with over 51 blog articles (HubSpot)
- 4X more leads occur for businesses that blog 20X per month than those that don’t (HubSpot)
- Average % cost per lead of various marketing strategies: Tradeshows=47%, Direct Mail=27%, Telemarketing=21%, SEO=13%, Blogging=9% (HubSpot)
- Average % lead acquistiion by companies through internet marketing channels are: 57% Blog, 57% Linkedin, 48% Faceboook, 42% Twitter (HubSpot)
- 70% of us say blogs influence what we buy (Marketing Sherpa)
- 67% of marketers say their company blog is “critical” or “important” to their business (HubSpot)
- 45% of companies with a blog track additional revenue from their blog (HubSpot)
- 15% say they are paid to give speeches on the topics they blog about (Technorati)
RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): CASE STUDIES:
- GENERAL MOTORS’ FAST LANE BLOG: GM’s blog, written by senior execs, saves the company $200,000+ a year (Forrester)
- IBM: Let company employees set up their own internal blog to crowd-source innovation and new product idea across its global network. Crowd-sourcing identified 10 best incubator businesses, which IBM funded for $100 million. They generated $100 billion in total revenue for a 100-to-1 ROI with a 44.1% gross profit margin (Social Media Examiner)
- ZAGG: an online retailer, knows its blog results in sales, as it earns 172% ROI and 10% of the company’s site traffic (Marketing Sherpa)
- 71% of all respondents who maintain blogs for a business report that they have increased their visibility within their industries through their blogs (Technorati)
- 59% report blogging more frequently this year than they did last year (Technorati)
- 58% say that they are better-known in their industry because of their blog (Technorati)
- 56% say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry (Technorati)
- 64% of bloggers say brand representatives treat them less professionally than they’d like
- 42% of bloggers say they blog about brands they love (or hate)
- Among respondents who say they do blog about brands, 51% they said they rarely review brands, services or products among companies
- Among respondents who say they do blog about brands, 48% say they post reviews weekly
- 87% of all bloggers use Facebook (Social Media Today)
- 81% use Facebook to promote their blog (Social Media Today)
- 64% use Facebook to interact with readers (Social Media Today)
- 45% say Facebook drives more traffic to their blog than it did a year ago (Social Media Today)
- 73% of hobbyists and 88% of professional bloggers still use Twitter (Social Media Today)
- 50%+ of all bloggers link Twitter to their blog (Social Media Today)
- 34% of bloggers say Twitter is a more effective traffic source than it was a year ago (Social Media Today)
- 64% trust the information in a blog post by someone they know (eMarketer)
- 46% trust traditional media less than they did 5 years ago (eMarketer)
- 36% trust the information in a company blog (eMarketer)
- 35% believe blogs are taken more seriously (HubSpot)
- 19% believe blogs are written better than traditional media sources (eMarketer)
- Blogs are the #1 most trusted social media source (eMarketer)
A great infographic on the “Blog Economy,” developed by Ignite Spot and shared by Linda Bernstein in a recent session of #blogchat contains some of these facts and more. It is well worth reviewing.
Almost half of all companies now have a blog; roughly double the rate from five year ago. But that mean half of companies still haven’t started blogging, yet.
Where does your business fall? Do these facts convince you to start? Do you need help getting started?
January 27, 2013 by
The reason I began to blog was inspiration I got from others’ blogs.
It wasn’t a plan but what I lacked in planning was made up in heroes. People in my field who blogged were knowledgeable, smart and generous in spirit with information and ideas I found of great value. They stood out, seemed genuine and real. They still stand out. (A few of the posts that served as inspiration years ago are listed at the bottom).
It motivated me to start, learn and stay with it. After that, I learned there were many benefits to blogging. What are they? Here are 36 reasons why I blog.
- It’s how to have 1-to-1 relationship with 1-to-many
- Nothing works like writing about what you know
- We want to share what we know with others; it’s in our DNA
- Studies show no other form of digital expression is better at securing trust (source: eMarketer)
- People return to a place where they know they will learn something new
- It’s never stopped being gratifying to teach someone something new
- It’s synonomous with the term, personal brand
- It’s how you find and attract people who share the same values
- Your audience is global from the moment you begin
- It’s friendships and bonds you couldn’t have developed any other way
- It’s how to put you personal values into your profession
- Blogs get through to people in ways that an email or phone call never could
- Blogs provide the means to move between personal and professional with credibility
- Blogs help people get to know you; people like to do business with people they know
- It is the best way to drive traffic to a website
- The search engines recognize and reward those who continually put out fresh content
- Each and every one of your blog posts are individual web pages, indexed by search engines to build your brand presence
- A keyword strategy is easier and more effective to execute through a blog than any other digital medium
- Blogs help with long tail search term rankings and keyword phrases you never would have found otherwise
- Other bloggers link to you; the search engine recognize your authority in a particular niche or market.
- Relevance and authority are the two attributes that drive search rank; blogs are designed to accelerate both
- The algorithm of search engines, especially Google, recognize original content and “social authority” from blogs more and search tactics like “metadata” and “metatags” less
- The content and keywords that drive people to your blog is very measurable
- The content from your blog can be re-purposed to many other aspect of your content or communications plan (e.g. email marketing, social media marketing, PR)
- This re-purposing of content doesn’t re-duplicate anything; it sends your message to new audiences
- Although there are lot of tips for blogging, the only way to really go wrong is not express yourself genuinely
- We all have a story to tell
- Blogs make it easy for others to share what you have to say
- It’s a direct and authentic way to ask readers what they want to hear and grow your audience with their collaboration
- It’s how you can do market research without research and travel costs
- Ir brings peace of mind
- It forces you to think better and smarter
- It brings out your innate ability to create and share ideas
- Like everything, you’ll get better at it the more you practice
- You’ll lead a more intentional life
- You may just inspire someone, like the posts below did for me, and there no greater legacy to leave than to inspire others.
These are reasons why I blog. Are they the same as yours? Are there any I missed?
If you blog, do they help to keep you going? If you don’t, do they motivate you to start?
Here are a some posts that inspired me:
David Berkowitz: 100 Ways to Measure Social Media
Chris Brogan: Grow Bigger Ears
Mack Collier: How Much Does Social Media Cost Companies
Peter Kim: Social Business ROI
December 09, 2012 by
“Big Data” is shorthand for the collection of large amounts of data from places like web-browsing data trails, social network communications, sensor and surveillance data that is then searched for patterns, new revelations and insights.
It’s a catchy term that’s easy to say and implies major transformation. In less than a decade, Big Data is a multi-billion-dollar industry.
But more data isn’t better data unless you know what to do with it. Many believe Big Data with help make better decisions; ones that are more informed; more profitable more predictive and preferred by more customers. Should you be paying attention? Here are 38 big facts on Big Data every business leaders should know.
- 91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
- 90% of the world’s total data has been created just within the past two years (source: IBM)
- 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
- 86% of people are willing to pay more for a great customer experience with a brand (souce: Lunch Pail)
- 75% of companies say they will increase investments in Big Data within the next year (source: Avanade)
- 70% of data is created by individuals – but enterprises are responsible for storing and managing 80% of it (source: CSC)
- 70% of enterprises say their marketing efforts are under greater scrutiny (BRITE/NYAMA)
- 65% of companies deploy Big Data technology to boost the speed and quality of business decisions (source: CIO)
- 59% of organizations lack the tools required to manage data from their IT systems (source: Saffron Technologies)
- 57% of companies are considering Big Data analytics tools (source: EMC2)
- 49% of organizations are somewhat or very concerned about managing big data (source: CIO)
- 40%-60% annual growth increase is occurring in the volume of data available every year; in media intensive sectors and financial services, the increase is 120% (source: Fathom)
- 38% of organizations don’t understand what Big Data is (source: CIO)
- 34% of organizations say they have no formal strategy to deal with Big Data (source: Information Week)
- 33% of business leaders don’t trust the “old data” information they are using to make business decisions (BRITE/NYAMA)
- 33% of all data will be stored, or will have passed through the cloud by 2015 (source: CSC)
- Only 33% of business leaders differentiate Big Data from Traditional Data (source: Information Week)
- 28% of data in 2010 required some level of security (source: Wiki Group 7)
- 27% of organizations have a partial understanding of what Big Data is (source: CIO)
- 25% of organizations now have a data scientist on staff (source: EMC2)
- 24% of companies are using Big Data analytic tools (source: EMC2)
- 18% of companies say they have a formal strategy to deal with Big data (source: Information Week)
- 16% of companies believe Big Data will remain experimental (source: CIO)
- By increasing the usability of data by just 10%, the average Fortune 100 company could expect an increase of $2 billion dollars (source: Fathom)
- 5% of companies believe Big Data will “fizzle out after the hype dies down” (source: CIO)
- $300 billion could be saved if big data was used effectively the US healthcare sector; thereby reducing expenditure by 8% (source: McKinsey)
- 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month (source: McKinsey)
- $3.2 billion was spent by companies on big data in 2010; it is predicted companies will spend $16.9 billion on big data by 2015 (source: CIO)
- $500,000,000 in venture capital funds have gone into big data technologies, startups, and vendors in recent years (CIO)
- $200,000,000 has been invested in Big Data projects by the Obama administration (source: Wiki Group 7)
- 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytic skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts will be needed by 2018 to fill jobs in Big Data (source: McKinsey)
- In 15 of the US economy’s 17 sectors, companies with upward of 1,000 employees store, on average, more information than the Library of Congress (source: McKinsey)
- Amazon and PayPal use their Big-Bata capabilities for fraud detection in line with their reputations as secure e-commerce and payment platform (source: McKinsey)
- American Express, by contrast, for B2B clients—uses proprietary big data it holds to create new services to enhance customer acquisition and retention programs for marketers and merchants (source: McKinsey)
- IBM converts 350 billion annual meter readings through Big Data to better predict power consumption (source: IBM)
- IBM analyzes 500 million daily call detail records in real-time with Big Data to predict customer churn faster (source: IBM)
- Big data monitors 12 terabytes of Tweets each day to improve product sentiment analysis (source: IBM)
- Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, uses Big Data as part of its “pay as you drive” program, offers drivers the chance to lower their insurance premiums based on real-time analysis of their driving habits (source: McKinsey)
We believe business leaders thinking about Big Data should start with this question: What business decisions do you want to make with Big Data you couldn’t before? If you can take this step, we can help keep get there with Big Data and keep your strategy on track. Are these 38 facts on Big Data a helpful start? Does the fact that Dilbert is talking about Big Data convince you it’s here to stay?