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10 inspiring brands with a strategy for social media 0

Posted on June 21, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

strategy for social media

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin

To create a brand, a business usually follows the steps of creating a mission statement, core values, competitive differentiation, brand benefits, product messaging, logo, product and/or design, identifying mark, selling idea and the business strategy and measurement plan to achieve the desired results.

How many brands take these tangible and intangible benefits to their social media sites?

Here are 10 inspiring brands with a strategy for social media.

  1. CITROEN: Uses trust as a strategy for sales by letting its Facebook fans design its forthcoming C1 Connexion. It’s the world’s first crowd-sourced car.  Over 24,000 different versions of the final car are submitted. 15,000 extra fans join up. The strategy leads to the sales of 500 cars.
  2. 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.
  3. COCA-COLA: Has a mission statement, on their website: 1) To refresh the world – in mind, body and spirit, 2) To inspire moments of optimism – through our brands and actions and 3) To create value and make a difference everywhere we engage. Coca-Cola shares around the globe stories in social media that naturally highlight and unify its mission and values. Its YouTube channel isn’t divided up into smaller sub-channels by country, region or product line, for example. Instead, it features video stories from all over the world in one place.
  4. GENERAL ELECTRIC: Lives up to its “Imagination at Work” slogan. GE’s social media content is dedicated to scientific and technological innovation. They encourage engagement attracting their target with a mission statement that states: “We love science, technology, innovation, and hearing from you! So, say hello.” GE’s Facebook Page has 1,300,000+ Likes. GE utilizes multiple social networks for each of its business categories, such as GE Capital, Aviation, Healthcare, Industrial Solutions, Transportation, and Mining. Aviation is  the most popular division, with over 86K followers on Twitter alone. It gathers its community with the hashtag #avgeek.
  5. HUBSPOT: Practices what they preach about the value of content marketing by giving it away. But contest takes many form and Hubspot gets that visual content get  94% more total views and is now 40% more likely to be shared on social networks. They frequently give away packs of stock photos and have even created 60 customizable templates to help folks with no design expertise create dynamic social imagery.
  6. INTUIT: Has been voted as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Intuit uses social media to showcase the people that make up the company while offering lifestyle tips and advice for potential job seekers. Intuit is one of the rare B2B brands using Pinterest with great success.
  7. MAERSK: a leading shipping company with a fleet of 580 container vessels, explains its social media evolution on its website. Maersk states there that it finally got going with social media in 2011. Up until that point, it had been in “a listening phase,” trying to digest what social media is about and decide whether or not it makes sense for a B2B company. Maersk states that is main goal with social media is to “get closer to our customers.” Its Facebook page has over 1,100,000 million Likes.
  8. RED BULL: Gets huge per-post engagement from Instagram. Yet according to an analysis by SimplyMeasured, the company made fewer posts to Instagram than any of its other social networks, averaging just 0.6 posts per day. Red Bull’s Instagram story is proof that it doesn’t matter how much content you publish. It matters what that content is. Red Bull highlights people doing extraordinary things in extraordinary places. This content appeals to risk takers, recreational athletes, and all viewers who are stirred by the Red Bull vision of life.
  9. T-MOBILE: In an attempt to steal away customers from it’s competitors, T-Mobile offers 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.
  10. TURBO TAX: offers users a variety of ways to engage, including through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. As you might imagine, because the company deals with the most dreaded of things (taxes), a handful of disgruntled customers use the company’s social media to vent their dissatisfaction. nstead of ignoring the negative vibes, TurboTax addresses every concern. In doing so, its credibility skyrockets, because the fact is, we’re all going to be disappointed now and then. When we are, we want to know someone cares.

Do these stories inspire your brand with a strategy for social media?

11 signs when you don’t have a strategy 0

Posted on June 01, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

Peter Drucker

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”
Peter F. Drucker

A strategy is a plan of action to achieve a major aim and future result. It requires commitment because making change is difficult. To describe what’s involved, Peter Drucker said:

“Strategic planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their futurity; organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized, systematic feedback.”

So it’s not hard to see how businesses get off course, often unaware, and the commitment of a continuous process becomes a collection of words periodically reinforced.

To know if this is happening to your business, here at 11 signs when you don’t have a strategy

  1. STRATEGY IS A COLLECTION OF TACTICS: Often, we use the terms strategy and tactics interchangeably. They are interdependent but different. You need both. Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, philosopher and author of the Art of War said: The difference between strategy and tactics: strategy is done above the shoulder, tactics are done below the shoulders.
  2. STRATEGY IS MERELY AN OBJECTIVE: Increase awareness. Acquire new customers. Grow average order size. Inspire advocacy. These are not strategies. While they may explain the what of a strategy, they don’t explain the how, when, where and why where the heavy lifting is required.
  3. NO CONSISTENT EXPRESSION OF SUCCESS: A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a major future result. If your company isn’t clear what success looks like, you’re lacking the key ingredient of the strategy.
  4. NO CONSISTENT MESSAGE: Your brochure, website and sales collateral have inconsistencies. The content is even unclear to people in the company. When people within a company can’t understand it, neither can anyone else.
  5. IDEAL CUSTOMER ISN’T DEFINED: A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It’s not uncommon to mention them in a strategy. Every business should know who they are.
  6. EVERYTHING IS A PRIORITY: When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. A strategy focuses on a singular major future achievement.
  7. IGNORING COMPETITION: A strategy reinforces a competitive advantage. But the competition is not static and is not only direct competitors but innovations that could make your product or service obsolete. A good strategy takes the competition into account and maintains flexibility.
  8. NO  POLICY FOR OPPORTUNITIES: A reason to have a strategy is to guide new opportunities. When a business is not using its strategy for this purpose, your not taking advantage of one of its major benefits.
  9. DON’T DO MARKET RESEARCH OR SOLICIT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: A strategy has to be grounded in reality and the achievable. A sound strategy has been researched with quantitative data about the market and qualitative data from customers and prospects.
  10. NO KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs): KPIs are the metrics that matter most to the achievement of the business objective. They are generally in the range of 6 to 8 metrics carefully chosen to keep a strategy on track. They are the actionable scorecard to help guide the desired result of a strategy.
  11. NO RAVING FANS: No business can survive without enthusiasts. If a strategy isn’t created around them, then your strategy isn’t going to work.

Do these signs help you determine if your business has a strategy? Do you need help creating and putting a strategy in place at your company?

5 ways for marketers to win with Millennials (Infographic) 0

Posted on May 24, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

1

by Richard Kao and COS, (BarnRaisers Community Builders)

1. Make Your Products & Services Useful & Affordable

Millennial consumers had to absorb the impact of the 2008 financial crisis characterized by massive student loan burdens and recession. The generation is hopeful, yet they remain cautious of their spending.

57% of the Millennials surveyed said their spending habits won’t change even with the $30 billion inheritance money that will come from Baby Boomers.

If you want to earn this generation’s support, making your products and services as useful as they can be while staying within reach of budgets is the way to go.

And for good measure, revamp your return policy as 55% of Millennials are always on the lookout for the most affordable return option when shopping.

Just take Zappos.com who built a business around shoes AND their easy, efficient return policy. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, just return the merchandise (within 1 year of purchase) and that’s it. There are no shipping fees to deal with, and there’s no need for receipts as you shopped online and orders are tracked.

Lesson learned: keep your products high-quality and affordable and your return policy easy and clutter-free like Zappos’ – your business could take off because of it.

win with millennials #2

2. Focus On An Integrated Customer Experience

An integrated customer experience is about providing products and services to customers in the smoothest way possible by adopting a multichannel approach. And when you live up to your business’ promises while delivering such a seamless service, it leads to conversions.

Let’s put the spotlight to Grainger, which has sold industrial supplies, equipment, and power tools for contractors and building professionals since 1927.

Their almost-century long presence and experience in the industry shows, especially in the way they use technology (their app especially) for providing an integrated customer experience.

Their app lets you find highly specific products by typing them or speaking to the search box. Products purchased can also be shipped to your chosen location or a nearby store – while even tracking your order’s progress real-time.

Consumers’ shopping cart data is also synced across their PCs and other devices, making it easy to access Grainger and their selection of industrial products while on the job site.

Also, Grainger features a “click-to-call” for help feature which lets you find the nearest Grainger location and share must-buy lists with co-workers. The company knows exactly what their consumers need and has built a smooth service framework from there.

The business and IT world are starting to explore the concept of omni-channel shopping – the next step from multi-channel retailing.

This provides consumers with an across-channel experience. It’s the inter-linking of multiple marketing and sales channels that makes this approach to customer experience truly seamless, benefiting both the consumer and retailer.

For example: a customer can check a product’s availabilityvia his desktop (using the merchant’s website); reserve the item and purchase it 2 days later using his smartphone; and pick up the item at his chosen location.

win with millennials #2 win with millennials #3

3. Build Brand Loyalty Through Rewards & Product Quality

In a world where many products and services are alike, Millennial consumers seek to be rewarded for their buying choices. After all, they could’ve bought from someone else instead of your company – and they’d still get what they want or need.

Research carried out by Thrive Analytics and Local Search Association in 2014 revealed that 71% of US smartphone users (aged 18 to 29) shared their location with businesses to get personalized offers and deals, while 67% said the prospect of gaining loyalty points convinced them to do so.

So set yourself apart from the competition by rewarding your customers for choosing you over other product / service providers.

Follow the example set by Starbucks. Their My Starbucks Reward program makes it easy for users to be rewarded.

They can earn points by paying with their registered cards,completing incentivized actions, participating in product promotions, engaging with Starbuck’s mobile app and social channels,buying in grocery stores and more.

The Stars earned are saved in the customer’s profile and can be used for redeeming drinks, food items, etc.But that’s not all: the program also has Green and Gold levels that members can move up to once they reach a certain number of points, giving the most loyal of customers and avid fans the opportunity to get more out of their membership.

win with millennials #4

4. Use Social Media To Engage & Get Millennials Involved

The phrases of note here are “engage” and “get them involved.”

Millennial consumers do “Like” and “Follow” retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. They may find the brand cool but research has shown that their social media relationships with brands and retailers are mostly transactional.

In simpler words: to find good deals, coupons, and the latest promos.

One Millennial consumer noted:

“I would have to be pretty emotionally moved to just ‘Like’ a retailer for no reason.”

And that should be the plan! Businesses shouldn’t be on social media just to establish presence. The goal instead should be to generate positive buzz and to get talked about by Millennial consumers. Be the topic of social conversations for the right reasons and your brand and sales will enjoy a significant boost.

Consider this too: Millennials broke the record for volunteering hours, and the number of non-profit organizations and socially-focused businesses founded by the generation is just as astounding.

With that in mind, perhaps it’s a good idea to combine social media engagement with campaigns that address the social and economic issues this generation faces.

5. Create More Apps To Inform, Engage, & Educate

Tech manufacturers (especially those in the mobile industry) can look forward to sunny days ahead with 40% of Millennials gearing up to purchase a tablet in the next 5 years. Those ahead of the tech curve (38%), so to speak, are prepping to buy a wearable device like Apple’s new iWatch.

So what does that mean for business OUTSIDE the smartphone and tablet industry?

The statistics above means businesses should create better apps to inform, engage, and educate Millennial consumers…or risk losing brand exposure and even sales.

One fine example is CVS Pharmacy app which enjoys a 4.5 star rating and over 16,000 reviews on iTunes: it lets you easily find a store nearby,save money with digital coupons, and even collect points without leaving the app. The app also lets consumers scan prescription barcodes with their phone’s camera to refill their medications.

win with millennial #5

5. Create More Apps To Inform, Engage, & Educate

Tech manufacturers (especially those in the mobile industry) can look forward to sunny days ahead with 40% of Millennials gearing up to purchase a tablet in the next 5 years. Those ahead of the tech curve (38%), so to speak, are prepping to buy a wearable device like Apple’s new iWatch.

So what does that mean for business OUTSIDE the smartphone and tablet industry?

The statistics above means businesses should create better apps to inform, engage, and educate Millennial consumers…or risk losing brand exposure and even sales.

One fine example is CVS Pharmacy app which enjoys a 4.5 star rating and over 16,000 reviews on iTunes: it lets you easily find a store nearby,save money with digital coupons, and even collect points without leaving the app. The app also lets consumers scan prescription barcodes with their phone’s camera to refill their medications.

Below is the infographic. We appreciate this work from Richard and COS. Did it teach you something new about how to win with Millennials?

5 ways marketers win with Millenials

 

 

20 data-driven metrics every content marketer should know 0

Posted on April 26, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

data-driven metrics

Measure of success conceptual using measuring tape

  • 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a company or brand through original articles rather than through ads. (Entrepreneur)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional forms of marketing. (DemandMetric)
  • 61% of consumers report feeling better about a company or brand that offers custom content – and are more likely to buy from them. (Content Marketing Institute)

These facts suggest relevant content, after the product or service a company offers, is a brand’s most valuable asset.

Content marketing takes many forms from blogs, case studies, emails, guides, how-to’s, infographics, interviews, podcasts, product reviews, videos and even native ads. A brand should have a strategy for content marketing specific to the desired business results and then choose tactics.

Are there metrics to guide your company on effectiveness of the business strategy for content marketing? Ones that are most likely to give insights and serve as an actionable scorecard?

Here are 20 data-driven metrics every content marketer should know.

AWARENESS

  • VISITS AND UNIQUE VISITORS: The latter refers to the number of distinct individuals visiting your website during a given period; the former the number of times a site is visited, no matter how many visitors make up those visits. These are foundations for awareness. They let you know the size of your audience and if it is increasing or decreasing month to month.
  • TRAFFIC SOURCES: Tell you where your audience is coming from: Organic search, paid search, social media, other websites or coming direct, typing your website URL in their browser. This helps you learn if you’re attracting the type of people you want and if it is in line with how you are spending your time and/or money.
  • LINKS: Come from other websites, blogs or social network pages that mention your content with a link. It is not only a measure of your awareness; it is a measure of  your level of authority on a particular topic.
  • KEYWORD SERP RANK: 54% of people find a website through a search query. 34% click on the first website listed in organic search; 90% of clicks occur on the first page (source: Forrester). If your Search Engine Rank Page (SERP) is high for a particular keyword, consumers are likely to be aware of you on a particular topic.
  • KEY CONTENT: Is the best indicator of content on your website that visitors find unique and differentiating.
  • FAN AND FOLLOWER COUNT: 37% of consumers use social network sites for research to obtain information and feedback (source: Marketing Land). Social network followings are a source for awareness.

ENGAGEMENT

  • BOUNCE RATE: Is the percentage of visitors who enter your site and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing. It is a key measure of the relevance of your website, content and ability to engage your audience.
  • SHARES: Measure content that consumers find most interesting. They also are a means of showing the value of your “earned” media.
  • COMMENTS: Are important for lead generation, building relationship and finding your advocates and influencers.
  • SUBSCRIPTIONS AND REGISTRATIONS: From email newsletters, ebooks, webinars, subscriptions and registrations are a key lead generation vehicle in a content marketing program.
  • KEY INFLUENCERS: Are valuable in promoting your content. They are the people who share, comments, like, and re-tweet your content as well as people you might seek out through tools like BuzzSumo, PeerIndex or Klout who others turn to on topics important to your brand

CONVERSION

  • EMAIL OPEN RATES AND CLICKS: Represent the percentage of your audience that usually opens what you send or clicks on actions you want them to take. These metrics also come with their email addresses.
  • DOWNLOADS: Usually occur for more content rich pieces like ebook, product information or a podcast. They measure the most interested segment of your audience as well as people who might share your content with others.
  • RETURN RATE: If you send a survey out, hold an event or conduct a webinar, the return rate is a valuable measurement for seeing the percentage of people who express interest and respond.
  • UNSUBSCRIBES AND OPT-OUTS: It’s as important to know the percent of your audience you may be annoying as interesting with your content and to keep at a minimal level.
  • SALES: Are the most important conversion. But, so is understanding buying behavior and the buying cycle which all of the above help to do. For many content marketing programs, there are often “micro” conversion as well as macro conversions. That is, smaller actions that are often predictive of major events.

BUSINESS VALUE

  • QUALITY LEADS: Is a metric relative to the segment of your audience most likely to take desired conversion activities
  • PIPELINE GENERATED: As is it likely other sales and marketing activities are used to generate quality leads and sales, the pipeline from content marking should also be evaluated relative to its value.
  • PRODUCTION COST (TIME AND MONEY): Whether it’s time or money (or both) that are being invested, the human and dollar value should be calculated.
  • RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): Just like any other investment, from the metrics above, the return on investment of content marketing can be calculated.

No business should take any major initiatives without an actionable scorecard. Do these data-driven metrics convince you of the measurement value of content marketing? Are there others metric you would include? Do you need help measuring content marketing?

21 surprising facts on companies with Social CEOs 0

Posted on April 12, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

Social CEOs

  • 79% of Inc CEOs have an active social media presence
  • 30% of Fortune CEOs have an active social media presence
  • 50% of these CEOs are most active on Twitter, 47% on LinkedIn and 45% on Facebook (source: CEO.com)

The 10 most active Social CEOs are:

  1. Richard Branson: Founder, Virgin Group
  2. Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
  3. Msrissa Meyer, CEO, Yahoo
  4. Adriana Huffington, Group President, AOL
  5. Elon Musk, Chairman/CEO, Tesla Motors
  6. Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD, Mahindra & Mahindra
  7. Kaifu Lee, Chairman/CEO, Innovation Works
  8. Jeff Immelt, CEO GE
  9. Jack Welch, CEO, Welch Management Institute
  10. Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry Group (source: BBC)

Key attributes of Social CEOs are:

  • Insatiable curiosity
  • DIY mindset
  • Bias for action
  • Relentless givers
  • Connect instead of promote
  • Company’s #1 Brand Ambassador
  • Lead with an open mindset (source: Harvard Business Review)

These stats, examples and character traits indicate Social CEOs are different than CEOs in general. Not only are Social CEOs different, but, as a result of their social media participation, so are public perceptions of their companies.

How do Social CEOs change a company culture, perceptions and workplace? Here are 21 surprising facts on companies with Social CEOs.

  1. 87% of US employees and 79% of UK employees agree that having a social media policy in place allows a company’s leadership team to be proactive rather than reactive in response to company challenges (source: Brandfog)
  2. 85% of US employees and 75% of UK agree social media is a valuable public relations channel for managing brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
  3. 84% of US employees and 76% of UK believe that social media is an effective way to monitor conversations about a brand online and to help brands prevent potential reputation crises (source: Brandfog)
  4. 83% of US employees and 73% of UK believe that CEO participation in social media builds better connections with customers, employees, and investors (source: Brandfog)
  5. 82% of US employees and 71% of UK believe that CEO engagement on social media helps to communicate company values and shapes a company’s brand reputation (source: Brandfog)
  6. 82% of US employees and 71% of UK overwhelmingly believe that executive use of social media raises brand awareness (source: Brandfog)
  7. 82% of customers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team are active on social media (source: Adweek)
  8. 81% believe CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies in the modern world (source: Brandfog)
  9. 79% of US employees and 68% of UK believe that having a socially active C- Suite leadership team can mitigate risk before a brand reputation crisis occurs (source: Brandfog)
  10. 77% of US employees and 69% of UK agree that executive use of social media fosters brand transparency. (source: Adweek)
  11. 75% of US employees  believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
  12. 67% of UK employees believe a company’s C-Suite executives and leadership team use social media to communicate about core mission, brand values and purpose is more trustworthy (source: Brandfog)
  13. 67% of US and UK employees agree social media has become an essential aspect of PR and communications strategy for C-Suite executives (source: Brandfog)
  14. 61% of US employees and 50% of UK are more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership are clearly communicated through executive leadership participation on social media (source: Brandfog)
  15. 55% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good communicator; this compare to 38% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
  16. 52% of employees feel inspired by CEO participation in social media (Weber Shandwick)
  17. 51% of employees with Social CEOs believe their social media participation is not risky (source: Weber Shandwick)
  18. Between 2012 and 2013, the perception that C-Suite and executive participation in social media leads to better leadership increased from 45% to 75% (source: Brandfog)
  19. 48% of employees believe a Social CEO is open and accessible; this compares to 37% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)
  20. 42% of CEOs participate in social media today; 63% are estimated to be participating in social media in 5 years; that’s a 50% increase (source: Weber Shandwick)
  21. 37% of employees believe a Social CEO is a good listener; this compares to 29% in companies with CEOs does not use social media (source: Weber Shandwick)

Below is an infographic that shows some of the facts about Social CEOs.

Do these facts about companies with Social CEOs surprise you? Do they change your perceptions? Does your C-Suite and CEO need help learning how to participate in social media to realize these Social CEO benefits?

Social CEOs

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