27 June

Instagram Video battles with Twitter Vine – which is best for marketers?

Instagram Video launched on June 20th to much fanfare and media attention.  Now the dust has begun to settle, we ask how has it been received and look at the inevitable Vine comparisons.   Also, what value can it create for marketers in future?

Instagram Video – The Vital Statistics

Instagram Video arrived with a strong array of user functions.  It promised 15 second clips, easily created via any IOS or Android device.  Instagram maestros were delighted to hear that it contains 13 filters, which is arguably the killer app for their existing photo platform.  To place a cherry on top, the on board stabilisation technology ‘Cinema’ is truly impressive function within a free product.

Instagram users can now create quality video and have it online within minutes.  Great news for everyone, from the #catstagram documenters of everything furry and feline, to brands and businesses looking for an easy to use, cheap way of creating visual content and sharing with their audience.  With millions of existing subscribers ready to use this new addition, has Instagram Video changed the game?

Instagram Video vs Vine

Not only are these two video apps vying for your attention, but they are steered by the two social media behemoths – Facebook own Instagram while Twitter are behind Vine.  Vine has a six month head start and now has over 13 million users. Instagram has over 100 million users who (with a simple app update) instantly have video at their fingertips.

The debate over which platform may triumph is mainly centered around the functionality of both and the 6 seconds of Vine content versus the 15 seconds Instagram offers in particular.  Getting your message or story across in these small times is a challenge, but this allows creatives types to get creative!  TechCrunch asked a professional photographer and Viner (who builds Vine content for some of America’s biggest brands) to shoot the same content via both platforms and then polled her followers over which offered the best aesthetic results.  The verdict?   Vine has the edge…  An interesting early blow in this clash of the titans.

Interestingly, just prior to the Instagram video launch, on June 8th, Topsy Analytics noted that the amount of Vine shares via Twitter for that 24 hour period surpassed Instagram for the first time ever, with 2.37 million Vine links to Instagram’s 2.17 million.  We now know that Instagram were biding their time until their video launch but Vine’s growing presence means they will not be going anywhere soon.

Instagram Video For Digital Campaigns

Instagram Video has great applications for business – from the biggest brands to small and medium enterprises too.  You can move from a campaign concept to launch in mere hours, and share your video online with your followers and fans to build social engagement (and maybe even virality if you are lucky!).  Without needing big marketing budgets or specialist expertise to create, shoot, edit and share a visual idea, both Instagram Video and Vine bring content creation into the hands of businesses of any size.  We expect to see more instances of visually creative and quirky story-telling, behind the scenes footage, ‘how-to’ guides and even customer created video content appearing on brand’s social media feeds soon.

The Early Adopters – Brands Taking the Instagram Lead

Burberry Instagram Video

Already there are many big brands active and experimenting with the new platform.  Jamie Oliver (a brand unto himself) announced the launch of his new restaurant via Instagram Video, while Starbucks show you around their first ever cafe (opened in 1912).  Many of the early adopter brands and businesses using Instagram Video are doing so to give a ‘behind the scenes’ view of their business.  This humanises brands and in Starbucks case especially so, they show that even the biggest corporations had humble beginnings.

Other brands have already released slickly edited and gorgeously shot ‘advert’ style content, none more impressive than Burberry.  Just click the image to the left to take a look.  This example is but an early indicator of the stylistic promise that this medium holds in future.

National Geographic Instagram Video

 

.

We leave you with the finest examples of Instagram Video so far that we have given a well deserved standing ovation to – Burberry’s slick statement of intent, and then National Geographic’s quirky, fun, made for social sharing approach that we are sure will become a popular use of this medium in future.  Click on the photo to the right to view (Instagram have not allowed off-site embedding for their video, not yet at least).

.

If your business would like assistance and guidance in creating and using video as part of a great digital campaign, we would love to offer our advice.  You can get in touch with us at team@socialmedia.ie.

Read More

20 June

Select The Right Digital Channels For Your Next Campaign

For any type of campaign or marketing plan your business has run in the last few years (and certainly in future), digital channels may be playing an increasing role.  They make your audience easier to reach, providing instant delivery and the chance for rapid response.  Any offer or update you deliver digitally also allows easy sharing over social media and possibly best of all, digital marketing channels are so easy to measure.  Digital can now stand shoulder to shoulder with traditional marketing channels in the majority of businesses.

The various types of digital marketing channels all hold different strengths that will make some more important for your own business to focus on.  The mix you select depends on your own goals for your online marketing plan, the type of message you hope to deliver, and of course the audience you hope to reach.  Let’s start with a quick look at some popular uses of different channels.

Digital Channels – The Usual Suspects

Email – For lengthier announcements like new product launches, monthly newsletters, email is often the channel of choice

SMS – Great for bite size offers and updates.  Often includes a prompt or code to redeem on another channel (e.g. purchase online with voucher code).

Website – With the rise of content marketing, a company website often houses important areas like the company blog.  It is now usually the hub for many digital marketing campaigns.

Mobile Apps – Often used by existing customers. GroupOn, Booking.com, eBay are some of the companies keeping customers ‘captive’ while browsing this way.

Social Media: Facebook – Great for awareness based campaigns.  Allows brands to humanise themselves and improve interaction with their audience.  Useful for promoting offers too.

Social Media: Twitter - Useful for building interaction, and for improving customer service satisfaction.  Suited to important announcements, breaking company news and pop-up sales.

Don’t Overload Your Digital Audience

SocialMedia.ie consumer digital overload

As you can see above, some digital marketing channels are more suitable for certain messages than others.  It is important to bear in mind too that many members of your audience may have simultaneous access to several of these channels at once.  The smartphone means that your offer could be received by SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter all at once to the palm of the owner’s hand.  This can reduce the effect of the message you hope to deliver so consider this when planning a campaign across multiple digital channels.

 

The Power Of Measurement

Digital marketing channels offer a reliable, instant and easy to digest measurability that can be key in monitoring performance during and after a campaign.  You can actively monitor digital metrics such as responses and shares, viral reach of your social media posts, click-through rate and many more. We explored metrics such as this in a previous post.  Match what you are measuring to your own marketing goals and all can be useful signposts on the road to a successful multi channel marketing campaign.

Always be testing

It could be seen as conventional wisdom to say that younger consumers, especially ‘digital natives’ are best contacted through digital means.  Will they eagerly share an offer posted via social media, or any digital medium that pops up on their SocialMedia.ie digital metricssmartphone?  Then consider older consumers, do they still prefer the tried and tested ways, loving a letter in their postbox to offer them a discount or bonus?

If you assumed this is the ‘norm’ for these different types of consumer, this may be a good guess, but what about your customers, can you be so sure?  Don’t rest on your laurels and assume you have everyone figured out.  Your own audience will tell you by previous behaviour how they can be tickled with an offer and what digital channels they are happiest to respond by.  Your own findings may even surprise you.  Launch, test, refine, repeat!

.

In Summary

Whether your next digital marketing campaign is primed to raise awareness, build customer interaction, increase sales or to generate new leads, you have many marketing channel options to ensure you can deliver your message successfully.  Match your channel mix to your own campaign focus, always be aware of what your customers are telling you by their previous responses.  Don’t be afraid to evolve the process over time.

The next time your business has a new product or offer ready to promote by digital means, delivering it appropriately to your audience is a big step in turning a good campaign into a great one.

 

Read More

13 June

10 Killer Tips For A Sales Focused Website

Your company website is your virtual shopfront – the place online that anyone interested in your product is likely to arrive at.   Here you highlight the unique value your products can offer everyone in your target market.  As with anything that can be sold online, new markets may open up for your business worldwide.  Of course with opportunity comes competition.  Now you may not be competing only against your rival across town but with similar firms from Melbourne to Milan.

As some online shoppers will never set foot in your own physical store (if you have one), you must wow them and woo them through your website.  The question we ask today is – once they visit, do you make it easy for them to move from curious, to interested, to sold?  Here are 10 tips to help improve user experience and increase sales.

 

Tip 1: Get Your Landing/Home Page right! - Once visitors click onto your homepage or through an ad to a specific landing page, make sure they know (a) where they are and who you are (b) what they can do while on your site, and (c) why they should stay longer.

 

Tip 2: Write great copy - Ensure your copy and content is persuasive and highlights the value of your product.  Does it

  • read well and is understandable by everyone?
  • focus on benefits for the customer, not just features?
  • provide answers to any fears or uncertainties visitors may have against purchasing?
  • give clear instructions on how to buy?
  • provide information on what happens after buying (delivery, returns process)?

 

Tip 3: Use product images - This seems an obvious point, but a text heavy site with no product images or visual cues often has visitors nodding off if they haven’t already clicked away.

 

Tip 4: Offer less products per page, with better description - Rather than following a ‘something for everybody’ approach and offering dozens of product alternatives, maybe try to focus on fewer.  This way you can zero in on the benefits of each in more detail.  Some web design guru’s give advice that for online retailers, 4-6 items on any one page is the magic number.  Did you know that Amazon follow the rule of 6?  They limit their highly effective ‘customers who bought this also bought these’ list of related items to a max of 6 per screen.

 

SocialMedia.ie importance of testing

Tip 5: Test/Change which benefits you use to sell each product - You may be very proud of a certain product benefit.  Do customers feel it is equally as important to them though?  Test different benefits within your headline or sub header and see what visitors are responding to in biggest numbers.

 

Tip 6: Test layout of any call to action - anything from the headline, copy wording, placement on page or even colour scheme of any ‘call to action’ box or button can increase response rate.  Tweak, test, repeat!

 

Tip 7: Reduce clicks to get to sale - Ensure that visitors don’t have to jump through too many hoops to avail of a free trial or make a purchase.  The longer the ‘click trail’ they have to follow, the more likely they are to baulk.  Simplify when possible.

 

Tip 8: Offer time sensitive offers/stocks etc - This is a great way of keeping your website up to the minute, and keep customers coming back to your site.  A timely offer can make your product look scarce and exclusive to potential buyers.  Google loves websites that update content often too, so it won’t do your SEO any harm either!

 

Tip 9: Promote shareability - using sharing buttons on your site allowing visitors to share an offer or product with their social network can be great exposure.  An example would be a clothing or art & design site allowing Pinterest pinning to special interest community boards to gain you viral attention the easy way.

 

Tip 10: Be your customer! – The more input you have had in your website design, the more a labour of love it will be to you.  Try to take off your designer hat and wear a visitor’s hat instead.  Use your site like they would.  There may be holes in user experience that you are not seeing, looking from the inside out.

 

These tips will get you thinking about your website and any potential for improvement.  It may be purring like a kitten to your eyes, but tweaking, testing and always looking at every change from a user perspective can glean even those small improvements that can snowball into better sales.

Read More

06 June

Match Metrics To Your Strategy – A Focus On Facebook

We have looked at the main success factors in great digital marketing last week, so today we’re going to laser in on one of the social media giants: Facebook.

Besides your own website, Facebook is arguably your online shopfront.  With this in mind, using Facebook to build customer satisfaction is key but monitoring your performance is just as vital.

 

Facebook – Made to Measure

Okay, so you have built up a healthy following and you feel you are engaging your fans well.  Regular updates and the odd cat meme?  Excellent, but remember that every aspect of your Facebook interaction with fans can be measured to hone your efforts further.   One point to note however, is to link these metrics with your Facebook strategy.

The basic (and the most popular) metrics to note are fan count, likes & comments.  As these grow, they provide many a marketer with a warm and fuzzy feeling of success!  Simply speaking, a rise here is a positive step but if not allied to your objectives they mean surprisingly little.

Measure Against Your Goals – An Example

A brief example that this humble writer can recount was from time spent working with a local visual arts festival.  One early objective was a campaign for artistic submissions launched worldwide to give the festival an international flavour.   The net was spread wide to forums, Facebook & Twitter communities etc to attract them.  After this big push, the event’s Facebook friend count increased by 400% in three weeks!   Cue the celebrations, until the next phase of marketing began.  This was centered upon promoting ticket sales and attendance, where local fans are the obvious target.   The discovery was sobering – our hyper-inflated friend count revealed that most of these new fans were international, from Asia, South America, even Australia…  None exactly in a position to attend a festival in Dublin!

Ready, Take Aim, Measure

What to take from here is that while basic Facebook metrics often highlight positive trends, they may not be the right ones for your aims.

Looking to spread great content?  – Look for number of shares of your links, or its ‘viral’ spread

Promoting an event? – Measure if fans are primarily in your area, promote posts to local users only

Increasing leads & referrals? – Check Google Analytics, are clicks from Facebook to your website growing?

If you want to use social media to improve your business, you’re in for the long game.  Returns may not be rapid, or easy to pinpoint at first but keep your objectives in mind and stay the course.  Growing your Facebook presence must be a means, not an end.  Whatever your business is looking to achieve, use Facebook to assist these goals and measure to suit.

Read More

22 May

Installing The Digital Marketing Cog Into Your Business Engine

Think of your business as an engine (a finely tuned one, no doubt)! If you introduce a new part or component into any engine, it will affect how the rest of the system performs. This principle is certainly true when looking at the explosive growth of digital marketing and its integration into your marketing and business functions. Let’s look at your business holistically and ensure that any digital integration assists and augments your existing business engine – a new part installed to increase performance!

 

Digital VS Traditional Marketing – No Need To Argue

Your business now has access to an already massive and ever growing digital marketing toolkit – a huge array of methods to interact with, understand and sell to customers online. Pulling back the curtain into this world means that you can dispense with traditional methods in future and bask in the warm success web based marketing offers? Not quite!

Traditional methods should rather be combined with and enhanced by digital options rather than being dispensed with. These methods have not been made obsolete by any means. Depending on the size of your business, the old reliables of TV, radio and print advertising can still be highly effective means for creating mass brand awareness. Direct mailing has stood the test of time but has arguably been surpassed by email marketing and is an example of digital’s great impact on the marketing old school.

Many companies have married old and new and created a little synergy by making the call to action on these campaigns digital based. Point customers to your website, encourage them to follow and interact on social media. Now these passive, unknown customers are made visible and ready for you to build relationships, leads and sales. This gives your brand an extra dimension through digital and is something we will delve into more tomorrow.

Tune-Up Your Other Functions With Digital

Once the marketing department have caught the digital bug, it often takes longer for these same approaches to be considered throughout the rest of the organisation.

Many firm’s customer service is still primarily phone based, but this burden on costs and man hours can be reduced by introducing platforms such as customer forums, live chat services and even website FAQ sections. If you are increasingly savvy gaining customers digitally, they may be disappointed that they cannot then follow up at other stages of their life cycle with you by these means also.

Digital is here to stay, so integrate it when possible all around your business, it should improve performance to misfiring parts and have the already finely tuned functions purring like a kitten.

Read More

29 April

Social Media Training – Special Offer for May

Training

SocialMedia.ie is continuing to train more and more people every day in the basics of social media. That’s why we are launching a multipart, introductory course to Social Media.

These days you need to be engaged with social media programs and platforms to stay up to date with the latest tools, technologies and trends especially if you work in business.

Choose from one of the three options:

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
May 8th May 8th and 15th May 8th, 15th and 22nd
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy. Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube in more detail plus Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, mobile media and online strategy.
 You will also learn about budget software tools for measurement, monitoring and managing social media like a pro.
€55 €95 €145

If you’re interested in this offer then please call us at  +353 (0) 1 906 0006

All classes starts at 6:30pm and finishes at 9pm.

The classes will take place at the Digital Depot on Thomas Street, part of the Digital Hub.

 

Read More

16 April

Learn to love your social media competitors: They can do your market research for you.

lettt

Market research is difficult and expensive, in both time and money. There are, however, those that already understand your market and they’ve been researching it for years. They are your competitors.

Don’t try to understand the market by yourself, let your competitors do it for you! Using Public data available through Social Media, you can analyse the market, see the status quo and understand what works and doesn’t.

Here are some of the things you can do by looking at your competitors data.

customer-segmentationSegmentation

Understanding your potential customers is of paramount importance. Who are they, what age are they, where are they located? Rather than trying to figure this our yourself you can just analyse the audience that follow your competitors. This will allow you to see the average customer that’s targeted by your competitors, which will make it easier for you to target them as well.

Which channels to use

Not every channel is equal. For some businesses LinkedIn works better, for others it’s Facebook. Experimenting to find out which works best for you can be time consuming. Instead, look at the channels your competitors are using. See which channels get the most attention and which gets the most shares. These are the channels you should be focusing on. There’s no point putting all your energy into a channel your competitors have already proven to be ineffective.

influencer-social-webInfluencers

Finding influencers takes a lot of effort, tools like Klout can make it easier, but a large time commitment is still required. There is a simpler way, use your competitors audience as a sample. Look for users that are highly connected in their communities. Look for people featured in multiple communities. These people have real sway over their audience. If you can get them to publish your content then you instantly get access to their market. Click here to learn more about influencers and how effective they are.

Emerging opportunities

Look at your competitors audience, listen for areas where they seem to be having problems. This will give you a much larger audience to listen to than just your own. Use the tips we outlined in our previous post to see the kinds of things you can learn. You’ll get a much broader picture of the problems people face. These problems are opportunities, by identifying them across the sector, you’ve given yourself a serious advantage.

These are just some of things that can be learned about your market by looking at your competitors. Remember, don’t waste your time performing extensive market research when you can use your competitors to do it for you.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest Digital Marketing news, tips and trends, then signup for our newsletter here!

Read More

15 April

SocialMedia.ie Whiteboard Masterclass No.1 – Targeting Social Media Influencers.

This is the first in our series of videos explaining Digital Marketing concepts. This week we’re explaining Targeting and Influencers, two of the most important concepts for a focussed marketing strategy.

[hana-code-insert name='Whiteboard 1' /]

Read More

12 April

Why listening to your competitors audience on Social Media can greatly improve your online business

wltycauWe’ve all done it: eavesdropped on a conversation on a train, in a restaurant, on the street – it’s human nature.  Sometimes though, we’ll over hear some nugget of information that we can use to our advantage. A bit of ‘right place, right time’ opportunism can make all the difference!  This certainly applies to your business and its position of the digital marketplace. Monitoring your competitors’ dealings with their audience can gain you valuable insight into how the larger market works.

CustomerSegmentationBroadening/sharpening your appeal

Do you know who your audience is yet?  If not then you’d better get started. You can use tools like Facebook Insights or Tweetreach to get some starter information.  Once you know the vital statistics on your audience, eg. gender, location, age, look for segments where your competitors have a foothold and you do not.

Ask yourself, how did they get them, and how do they interact with them?  Use this information to tweak your own message, this will give you access to this untapped customer segment.

problem-freePre-empt problems before they occur

Monitoring your competitors can be used to future proof your business against upcoming problems. Customers can now escalate complaints and service issues with ease, and they are not afraid to do so!  You can fill gaps in your customer experience before your own clients even realise that one may exist, just keep a keen ear to the ground.

Let’s say you noticed a problem with your competition’s customers over delivery times.  So far, nothing has gone wrong for you, but it’s an increasing bugbear for their customers. Why not strive to improve yours further?  Implement a new next day delivery promise and make that your next campaign!

Use these opportunities to your advantage. Play to your strengths by locating chinks in your competitor’s armour!

surveyListen out for great client feedback

It is an old adage that for every ten complaints you get, you’ll only receive one compliment, but that doesn’t mean that compliments should be ignored. Customers will often post about their purchases to their own network. Be it bragging or genuine feedback to the company, these messages give real insight. Listen to compliments about your competitors, then cherry pick the best parts to strengthen your offering.

Etsy sellers (who live and die by word of mouth) now offer little ‘extras’ with orders, eg. branded stickers or hand-written notes.  This increases their client’s affinity for dealing with them again, and they will often tweet the seller with photos of the extra items and thank them for going above and beyond for them.  Of course, an active monitoring of this competitor will unearth these nuggets and allow you to add this type of value to your own orders.

In summary, no brand is an island, and you cannot hope to enjoy a harmonious and undisturbed relationship with your clients indefinitely.  If you ensure that you are keeping an eye out over the fence for how your competitors are doing things (their successes and failures) you can bring more understanding and better customer experience into your own backyard.  A little digital eavesdropping can go a long way…

 

Read More

11 April

The TOP 3 things you can learn from your social media audience

3thingsyoucanlearnfromyouraudienceAre you listening to your audience? You should, they’re the people that want your product or service. They are your market and they have more power than ever before.

Here are 3 things you can learn from your audience that will keep your business alive and adaptive.

1. Find weak links in your marketing, then fix them

bouncerate

Look for links and services that your audience frequently ignore. For example, links that never get clicked, or pages that have high bounce rates. Then go out there and talk to fans/customers directly, ask them what they didn’t like about the content or why it didn’t interest them.

This will give you a strong insight into what works and what doesn’t. It’s far more effective than a generic questionnaire and it delivers real results. Armed with this knowledge you can quickly fix the weak links, ensuring your brand message is working.

2. Highlight pain points in your service

sentiment

Sentiment analysis will give you a good idea of how people feel about your brand or product. It’s not an exact science, but it is a good indicator of pain points/potential problems.

To use it effectively, listen to what your audience says to you. Categorise these messages by sentiment eg (good, ok, bad) and then look for patterns. You’ll quickly notice inconsistencies in your service and pain points for your customers, be it poor customer service or technical problems. This knowledge is invaluable and it can be used to turn your business around, improving the experience for everyone.

3. Spot market shifts as they happen

influencer-social-web

The key to a successful business is adaptability. In order to adapt, you need to know the status quo of the market. That’s why you should listen to your audience. Who better to tell you the status quo than the people that are part of it? Don’t just listen to what they say to you, but listen to what they say in general. They’ll outline their problems and possible solutions, they’ll talk to people about their issues and they’ll post content that resonates with them.

We suggest listening to key influencers in your audience, here’s why:

  • They tend to be ahead of the curve,
  • They’re a smaller sample, so they are an easier group to listen to
  • They are vocal about their problems.

Listening to this subset of your audience will tell you many things. You’ll quickly see the status quo of the market. You’ll see trends emerging based on the content they distribute. You’ll also spot shifts in the market that you can use to adapt your business.

These are just 3 examples of what you can learn just by listening to your audience, but there are many more. Listening is a powerful tool that can be used to deliver real results. Get the edge, listen to your audience.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest Digital Marketing news, tips and trends, then signup for our newsletter here!

 

 

Read More
Contact us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Questions, issues or concerns? I'd love to help you!

Click ENTER to chat