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Fresh Thinking

Category Archives: Social Marketing

Quit Clickbaiting, Start Chatbotting: 5 Lessons Marketers Learned in 2017

Quit Clickbaiting, Start Chatbotting: 5 Lessons Marketers Learned in 2017

By | Branding, Content Marketing, Digital advertising, Social Marketing, Strategy | No Comments

Now that the holiday hustle is nearly over, our marketing team has some time to reflect on the past year – what worked, what didn’t and what we want to try in the future – because even us pros have a lot to learn.

  1. Millennials are no longer brands’ first priority. Another key demographic has come of age: Generation Z, otherwise known as those born during or after 1995. With close to $44 billion in purchasing power (according to Forbes), their attitude toward social media (they like more privacy) and advertising (they’re resistant) will shape the future of both.
  1. Influencer marketing is bigger than ever. People always follow the popular kids – and these days, they follow those kids on Instagram. Engaging pillars of social media for brand recognition/profit is a strategy that’s steadily gaining traction; a 2017 study determined this marketing tactic got the second-highest ROI of all.
  1. Clickbait isn’t fooling anyone. Hooking customers by declaring that an article or product will “Literally Change Your Entire Life Forever” is suspicious and, let’s face it, dishonest. (Unless you’ve invented a workable method of teleportation, in which case please contact us immediately because that would literally change our entire lives forever.) Rather than leading with hyperbole, test out longer, Inc.-recommended headlines.
  1. Chatbots are the new liaisons. More than ever, computerized customer service reps are connecting companies with customers. While the technology isn’t perfect, chatbots are getting smarter every day; and according to Grand View Research, the global market is predicted to reach $1.23 billion by 2025.
  1. Video content is exploding. Content is always crucial, and that content is increasingly being delivered through video. Forbes estimates half a billion people are watching a video on Facebook every day. Pro tip from Buffer: Square videos not only command 78 percent more space on a mobile news feed, they also get more engagement.

Bonus lesson: We take epic group photos.

Quit Clickbaiting, Start Chatbotting: 5 Lessons Marketers Learned in 2017

What was your most valuable 2017 takeaway? Let us know in the comments below!

Why you should use influencer marketing with your marketing strategy

Why you should add influencer marketing to your marketing strategy

By | Social Marketing, Twitter | No Comments

Influencer marketing is a relatively new form of marketing that feeds off the fact that ad-wary millennials trust people, not brands. The traditional approach to advertising is losing its effect. We can’t just tell ‘em what we want them to hear – in fact, 92 percent of consumers say they trust peer recommendations while a mere 33 percent trust ads [Nielsen]. What does that mean for marketers? 

“Many marketers realize the power of connecting with influential social media users, and as a result many have increased their budgets throughout the year.” [AdWeek]

Here’s why you should consider it too.

  • It’s social.
    Love it or hate it, social media is a huge component of successful branding, and it’s also where to find the best influencers. Finding people with a large network (i.e. lots of followers) or someone who’s tagged your brand in a post is a good place to start; from there, it’s a matter of reaching out to your selected influencer and asking them to start a dialogue with their followers about your product.
  • It’s effective.
    According to AdWeek, 81 percent of marketers who have tested this strategy found it effective (with 47 percent voting “very effective” and the remaining 34 voting “somewhat effective”). The influencer approach lets you tap into a market you might otherwise not have access to. People follow influencers because they value (and are more inclined to listen to) their opinion. As Who Pays Influencers founder Amber Discko puts it, “They don’t care what the brand has to say, that’s why they’re not following the brand” [TechInsider].
  • It’s the next big thing.
    If you hop on the influencer bandwagon now, you’ll be riding a pretty sweet wave. While it’s not brand new on the scene, this type of marketing is still developing and establishing a presence. In 2015, only 35 percent of social media professionals considered it to be at a “mature stage” and only 14 percent had no intention of integrating it into their social strategy [Altimeter Group’s “State of Social Business”].

Ready to give it a shot? Give us a shout!

GIF It Up: Why You Should Incorporate GIFs into Your Marketing Strategy

GIF It Up: Why You Should Incorporate GIFs into Your Marketing Strategy

By | Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Fun, Social Marketing | One Comment

The GIF (pronounced with a hard ‘g’) has ventured far from its natural bitmap habitat in the CompuServe nerdosphere. It can now be found posing as punctuation, starring in texting conversations, dancing through every Buzzfeed article you’ll ever read, and hogging any available space on your phone. (Do you have available space on your phone…? Teach us your ways.)

Recently, the GIF has also become an important presence in email marketing, digital ad campaigns, and company blogs and social media – for good reason. Here’s why you should consider working these little guys into your marketing strategy:

They’re a great solution for that short attention span we’re always talking about. People just don’t pay attention the way they used to; a 10-second lull and they’re already deep in phone mode, sucked into an endless Reddit thread they may never escape. GIFs are an easy way to keep people interested – because regardless of how easily distracted they are, who can look away from this?

Images boost your engagement. Facebook posts with images see 3x more engagement than those without, and researchers found that “colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent.” [Xerox] Additionally, people are 40x more likely to share a post with visual content.

GIFs are trendy. Want to be seen as a cool, hip company? GIFs are the ticket. They show that not only do you keep up with pop culture (from which GIF-makers most often draw inspiration) but you’re in tune with your younger audiences – and that counts for a lot, considering millennials count for one quarter of the American population and boast approximately $200 billion in annual buying power. [Forbes]

Already using GIFs in your marketing? We’d love to hear how! Let us know in the comments section.

Counterintuity | More than 30% of ALL businesses advertise on Facebook

More than 30% of ALL businesses advertise on Facebook

By | Digital advertising, Economy, Facebook, Social Marketing | No Comments

If you’re not advertising on Facebook, you’re losing out.

Facebook has more users than China has residents, and that number includes your customers.

According to a recent article on the Denver Business Journal, “About a third of small businesses are starting to use Facebook advertising to promote their businesses.”

Facebook advertising is not some “trendy” tool that coffee shops with $7 lattes and funky e-commerce retailers use as a way to sell to millennials – in fact it hasn’t been anything close to that for a very long time. It’s the go-to tool for news and all things current for many, many people.

This data was collected from a survey SurePayroll conducted of small business owners nationwide. It continued with the observation that “about a quarter are advertising on Google, and roughly between 1 percent and 10 percent are putting dollars toward LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.”

Page likes matter, here’s why.

We disagree with one of the findings here, namely that on Facebook, “Page likes don’t matter.” The justification for that statement is quoting statistics that reveal that only 3-4% of the users who “Like” your page will see your organic content and that only 3-4% of those who see your content will actually engage with it.

While that may be true for the entire universe of content on Facebook, that isn’t at all true for relevant, well-designed and well-written content such as what someone well-versed with social media might create for your business (and hopefully that person is you!). The pages that we manage have 3-10x the interactivity that this article outlines, and we would expect the same to be true for any Facebook pages that are, well, treated appropriately. So while spending money on “Likes” in a vacuum is a bad idea, so is doing any single small, isolated marketing thing and expecting it to move mountains.

In addition, having more “Likes” can help with your Facebook advertising plans, as you can target just those users with sponsored content (that you will know they’re inherently interested in). By utilizing that tool, the number of your “Likes” who see your content can move from 3-4% to 20-50%, or more.

Facebook posts and Facebook advertising are at their most effective when they are a part of a marketing plan and not simply expected to perform on their own.

The Power of #: Using Hashtags to Heighten Marketing

The Power of #: Using Hashtags to Heighten Marketing

By | Content Marketing, Digital advertising, Social Marketing, social media, Twitter | No Comments

Once upon a time (aka 2006), using “#” in a sentence meant that you either (1) neglected to check it for typos or (2) were referencing the number of typos you made in the aforementioned sentence.

Flash forward ten years, and hashtags have become a truly unavoidable aspect of life. They’re everywhere: in movie titles, on magazine covers, sprinkled into casual conversation (#seriously). Twitter was the first platform to hyperlink hashtags to search results, and that practice has since infiltrated the digital marketing world. Of the world’s top Interbrand 100 brands, 97 percent had embraced the hashtag by 2015.

As a small business owner, it’s unlikely you have the cash to fund a massive marketing campaign. Hashtags are free, fun, and a truly valuable method of connecting people with your brand. Case in point: Tweets with one or two hashtags show 21 percent higher engagement than those with none.

  • Come up with a unique hashtag and ask your employees/clients/friends/family to use it whenever they mention your company on social media.
  • Hashtags enable users to categorize an often overwhelming amount of content. Use the same hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to identify and organize posts about your company retreat, conference or other special event.
  • Ride the wave of an already-trending hashtag. Check Twitter for a popular tag that relates either directly or abstractly to your business and join the party! But be careful to research the context first – you don’t want to follow in DiGiorno’s footsteps.
  • Make your hashtag actionable. Audi’s wildly successful #WantAnR8 campaign encouraged car enthusiasts to use the hashtag for a chance to get behind the wheel of an R8. Even if you don’t have a $160,000 sports car to use as bait (which, unfortunately, most of us do not), you can still offer your customers incentive to use your hashtag.

Still want help nailing modern usage of the symbol formerly known as “pound sign”? #CallCounterintuity!

3 Things We Learned from F8 2016

3 Things We Learned from F8 2016

By | Facebook, Social Marketing | No Comments

We have a very important announcement to make:
Facebook is taking over the universe.

Ha! Just kidding. That’s not an announcement – you already knew that.

But this week’s Facebook Developers Conference (a.k.a. F8 2016) only provided further proof that everyone’s favorite social media hub is officially infiltrating all aspects of human life. How, exactly? Well…

  • They’re attempting to connect the world. Like, the whole entire world. How? By deploying giant Internet-dispensing drones, duh.
  • They’re ensuring that you need never leave your house. Love/hate the selfie stick? Well, you’re really going to love/hate the VR selfie stick, which invites users to act like tourists without making those pesky travel plans. Facebook’s latest foray into virtual reality begs the question: Why buy a plane ticket when you could buy an Oculus Rift headset and tour London or France in your underpants?
  • They’re rescuing the bot from social exile. Most of us hear the word “bot” and think one of three things: “nerdy,” “spammy,” or “STAR WARS! Right? Oh, sorry, that’s a droid.” Bottom line? Bots are decidedly uncool and undervalued. Facebook hopes to change that with the Bot Engine, which boasts a fancy new framework. Assuming you’d rather talk to a robot than your friends, you’ll be delighted to hear that the Bot Engine has been incorporated into the Messenger app – although word has it, execution thus far is underwhelming.

Basic takeaways? Virtual reality, robots, and world domination. So, basically, the future of Facebook is the plot of most sci-fi movies. Put on your cyber seatbelts!

Image by Esopebot is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

WhatsApp: Making Privacy a Priority

WhatsApp: Making Privacy a Priority

By | Business Etiquette, Social Marketing | No Comments

WhatsApp’s latest update will ensure that both texts and voice calls sent via the popular messenger app are fully encrypted. Meaning, WhatsApp employees can’t snoop into your private data (even if they want to) – and neither can the government. This has roused some controversy, but we’re in support of the change. Why?

  • It makes apps trustworthy again. If you were one of the people who read Snapchat’s now-infamous privacy update and promptly deleted your account, you’re not alone. We often download third-party apps assuming our privacy will be somewhat compromised. It’s refreshing to have evidence to the contrary.
  • It sets a positive precedent – as does Apple’s recent battle against the FBI. It’s comforting to know that big corporations will stick to their guns when faced with legal trouble and keep private information private. Hopefully, it will inspire smaller startups to do the same and make way for a more secure app-centric world. 
  • It establishes the user as a primary concern. WhatsApp provides a unique platform for communication. By encrypting all exchanges, WhatsApp guarantees its users’ messages and calls reach the intended audience – and that’s it. That’s what their app offers, and that’s what users signed up for.

Our bottom line? The customer comes first. If we set out to provide a service, we’ll do just that. We won’t take liberties with your time, information or intentions. So while you’re waiting for WhatsApp to update, make your marketing a priority – shoot us an email!

Image by Sam Azgor is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Kardashians: Capitalizing the ‘K’ in Marketing

The Kardashians: Capitalizing the ‘K’ in Marketing

By | Content Marketing, Social Marketing, Strategy | No Comments

The past decade has been permeated with a pop culture phenomenon unlike any other: the Kardashians. Since 2007, the Kardashian/Jenner family has captivated audiences around the world by doing…well, the verdict is still out on exactly what they all do, but suffice to say it’s been enough to consistently entertain, appall, and otherwise engage millions of people for going on 11 years. So what’s the big secret? Is Kris Jenner a marketing genius? (Probably.) Are we all simply mesmerized by the mind-bending amount of beauty and booty in the K/J gene pool? (Definitely.) Regardless of the questionable tactics and unquestionable body parts that have kept them on top all this time, there are a few things we marketers can learn from the Kardashians – even if we can’t keep up with them.

  1. Never surrender. Say what you will about this family, but they don’t back down from a challenge. Someone leaks your sex tape? Turn it into a reality show. Get both married and divorced within the span of one year? Brush it off and proceed to marry someone infinitely more successful. Have psoriasis? Endorse a cover-up spray. While many would willingly fade into obscurity following such misfortune, the Kardashians make their problems work for them. Obviously, starting a reality show isn’t an option for most of us (what do you mean, Paris Hilton wasn’t a childhood friend and Ryan Seacrest didn’t come to dinner last Thanksgiving?) – but regardless, there is a lesson there.
  2. Socialize. All five of the Kardashian/Jenner sisters have massive social media followings and post regularly. Recently, they all created their own apps and websites (subscription-based, of course) so that, for the bargain price of $2.99/month, fans can feel even more involved in the lives of these mythical creatures they’ve never met. Not only have the Kardashians maintained a valuable online presence, they’ve monetized it.
  3. Incentivize. The Kardashians reach out to their fans in a way that both shows appreciation and provides motivation. For instance, Kim is known for rewarding each landmark number of Instagram followers with a cleavage selfie. Of course, in a professional setting, we recommend expressing thanks with something like a fruit basket. No one forgets a nice pair of melons.
  4. Know your audience. The Kardashians know their fan base, and expand their empire accordingly. What do hordes of teenaged girls want? A new lipstick line with Kylie’s face on it! What do female 20-something professionals need? Styling products created specifically for their hair type! What do straight males between the ages of 26-35 want because they secretly think the sisters are super hot but won’t admit it to their girlfriends? A Kardashian conveniently bikini-clad on the cover of Maxim!
  5. Be consistent. Even when you don’t want them, there they are. It’s hard to escape the Kardashians, simply because…they’re everywhere. On social media, on magazine covers, on TV, on billboards. No matter how you strive to ignore them, their omnipresence is undeniable. You have to talk about them, if only to talk about the fact that you don’t want to talk about them.

So there you have it, folks – five valuable things we’ve learned from America’s most famous family. Now go kill it like a Kardashian! (But don’t say we told you to.)

Image by Faye Harris is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.