Just about everyone today knows the power of social video; however, some do not know how to articulate the top reasons why marketers should incorporate video into our marketing campaigns. I have combined my 15 years of experience in marketing, communications, e-commerce and social media management with degrees in Videography and Public relations to compose the top 3 reasons for integrating video. These top three reasons will help you modernize your marketing efforts by giving you best practices in video that will not only enhance your marketing budget/efforts but will also extend your ROI by way of greater adoption through engagement and reach.
Blogs can be tricky. They are a great asset until you realize you haven’t posted in a week. Or, one day you wake up and there are 13 blogs you have to review and approve.
An essential component to any social media strategy at a company is a good blog program. We have an open blogging system and authors are able to publish directly – this is a good thing! However, how do you manage an influx of blog requests that can impact the overall engagement and metrics of your blog?
What can you do when your blog becomes wild and untamed?
1. Start with an audit of all bloggers
When we performed an audit we realized some of our authors had changed organizations and were no longer focused on blogging and a number of the authors had not blogged in over a year. We removed the individuals who had changed focus and those who had not blogged for a significant amount of time.
2. Re-train the authors
After the audit, we noticed some of our active bloggers had another issue – blogs were written in formal, company-branded voices that read more like a press release. We wanted our blog to highlight the individual voices and share real stories. We trained over 100 bloggers in three different sessions on how to bring their own voice to their blog, encouraged them to share photos, graphics, and videos. We also reviewed best practices such as SEO for blogs, how to use the “read more” function, and create a custom tweet for each blog article. This kind of training can help even seasoned bloggers understand new trends in blogging and social media, new tools available in the blogging platform, and reinforce company guidelines.
3. Use Gamification
Cisco had recently partnered with Bunchball to create Social Rewards – social gamification and badges on the blog site for authors and subscribers to the blogs. In our training sessions, we encouraged authors to use the Social Rewards to help boost their own author profile and to support the other authors on their team. After we reviewed the program we had some very healthy competition going on who could reach higher levels.
4. Focus on Engagement, Not just Page Views
In all our training and efforts, we focused on engagement and social shares on the blog, not just page views and visits. When an individual puts their social profile behind content by sharing it on their social media accounts, they are giving you a true stamp of approval. This is a significant measure of just how well your content is resonating with your audience. As a team, we set an initial goal of a minimum number of social shares per blog to encourage authors to think deeper about what their audience wanted to hear – and to encourage personal sharing on their own account. It was a naturally occurring result that by encouraging our audience to take part in the Social Rewards program, we were also encouraging social shares.
5. Build an Editorial Calendar
We set a self-service editorial calendar where bloggers could sign up for their blog timeslot. We limited blogs to no more than two a day and limited posts on “big news” days. By having a public editorial calendar, we allow the authors to see what is being planned and if their content is redundant or something fresh and new. When conflicts arise, we leave it to the bloggers to decide amongst themselves which topic should be a priority.
6. Measure and Report
Measurement is critical. I ran a baseline for five months before we started the audit and all other aspects of the new program. Then, every month we ran reports on top blogs and the lowest performing blogs. We looked at social shares, unique visitors, and page views. We tracked month over month success and called out the areas were we did not see success.
By implementing the steps above we saw a major change in the blog content and performance. From January 2015 to July 2015, the average social shares per post increased by 40% and the average unique visitors per post increased by 555%! In addition, after May we saw zero blogs with under 50 social shares. This is our success story!
You may have heard the news coming in from Twitter this week…
Cisco Data Center, @CiscoDC, received the opportunity to be one of the first Twitter handles to have the polling enabled on to our account. (Yes, we do feel special too). Here at Cisco, we are excited to test the feature so we conducted our first poll yesterday with great results.
Benefits of Polling
One of the biggest benefits to Twitter Polls is that it gives brands a new opportunity to engage with their Twitter network. The most obvious benefit is that brands now have the opportunity to ask anything and get feedback in real time. The real time aspect of Twitter’s new polling feature will enable quicker decision making that will help brands create more effective social media campaigns.
Time and Analytics
Each poll is live for 24 hours, which gives people only 24 hours to choose one answer of the two you can provide. No third or fourth answers are possible. During this time you will be able to see real time analytics of the number of respondents and the current results of the poll . Your respondents are able to answer the question anonymously.
During Polling Analytics Information
During the 24-hour response period, mobile users are able to see the question rendering in two big buttons like this:
Participants are also able to see how many people have already voted and how many more hours the poll is open to respond.
After participants have answered, they are able to see via visual confirmation, their choice and also the real time results of the poll as show below:
Post Polling Analytics Information
Once the poll has closed, everyone (whether they have participated in the poll or not), will be able to see the results of your poll. As seen here:
For the initial tweet, you are limited to 95 characters and for each of the possible answers; you are limited to 21 characters. Clear messaging and a concise plan will be critical for using this feature.
Are you excited to use this feature on your account? What would be your first poll question be?
Tell me in the comments below.
You need to purchase new software on behalf of your company – how do you decide which product/company to choose? You probably go and check out some vendor websites and ask the opinion of people you know and trust, but would you ask a vendor’s employees what they think about their company?
Fact is that employees’ social posts generate 8X more engagement than posts from their employer. Wow! This has the potential to radically alter the marketing landscape by changing the way we discover and buy goods and services.
What is employee advocacy?
As traditional marketing practises like advertising lose effect in this noisy, ‘always-on’ world, new methods – like employee advocacy – are stepping in to take to take their place (for more on this topic see my blog, “Inbound Marketing: What Comes After the Tipping Point?”).
Employee advocacy is empowering a company’s employees to support the goals of the brand using company content cascaded via employee-owned social channels. Said another way: it’s word-of-mouth marketing for the digital age. Through employee advocacy we can increase share of voice by encouraging employees across the company to be more active on social media.
Why is it good for marketing?
Giving employees a voice on social media accomplishes two key goals for marketers:
1. Brand awareness/reach
According to Dynamic Signal, with employee advocacy, “You can increase brand awareness by 14x. Your employees are already on social all the time. The average social employee has 10x more followers than your corporate network and 90% of their social audience is new to the brand.”
This is significant because increased brand awareness drives customer loyalty, which drives revenue.
In fact, having 135 employee advocates is more powerful than having 1,000,000 Facebook fans. Why? As the graphic below demonstrates, employees’ social networks amplify reach in a big way.
Now more than ever, people want to buy from people, not faceless companies. In fact, according to WeRSM, only 15% of people trust recommendations from brands, while a whopping 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know.
This stat is backed by compelling research from the 2014 Edleman’s Trust Barometer. As the chart below indicates, not only do customers trust their peers and regular company employees, their trust in these sources is on a dramatic rise.
Why is it good for business?
Employee advocacy programs have the power to deliver results beyond marketing value and can have a huge impact on the business.
Social selling: According to a recent Social Media and Sales Quota Survey, more than 40% of salespeople say they have closed between two and five deals as a result of social media.
Customer insight: In the Globe and Mail, Peter Aceto, the CEO of Tangerine Bank, says, “I would rather engage in a Twitter conversation with a single customer than see our company attempt to attract the attention of millions in a coveted Superbowl commercial.”
His sentiments are echoed in a Harvard Business article, “The 7 attributes of CEOs who get social media,” which explains that savvy CEOs “don’t want to hear input from customers filtered through 13 layers of management. They want their input raw and without any manipulation.”
Attracting talent: Enabling your employees to post about job openings and talk about why they like their job is an incredible competitive advantage. A Fast Company article, “How to Make Your ‘Employer Brand’ Shine and Attract The Best Tech Talent,” mentions this success story from Apple: “Apple, coming in at number three on the employer brand index, features photos and quotes from current employees on its job website. In other words, the company has effectively turned its employees into brand advocates.”
Marketing Engine of the Future?
Employee advocacy is a new source of trust for today’s consumer. It has the power to fuel brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, and drive new revenue. So is it a Marketing Engine of the future? As “word of mouth” marketing for the digital age, I think the answer is YES! Do you agree?
“Inbound marketing is more effective than outbound marketing.”
Sound like a quote from a recent marketing article? It’s actually a key takeaway from my doctoral thesis, published back in 2008 and entitled, “How Companies Use Customer Insight to Drive Customer Acquisition, Development, and Retention.”
No, I’m not Nostradamus, nor do I have a crystal ball. But, for a long time, I have been watching the signs that B2B buyers’ needs and patterns are changing.
Today, buyers – not sellers – are firmly in the driver’s seat. In fact, according to a recent DemandGen Buyer Behaviour report, almost half of buyers create a short-list of potential vendors and a third conduct initial research on solution options before the first communication with a sales rep. (For more on the evolution of buyer behaviour, see my blog post: Smarketing: A Sales and Marketing Love Story)
How are buyers conducting this research? Through search engines, vendor websites, and social media sites.
Hence the tipping point for inbound marketing. But what comes next? Here’s how I see the marketing landscape changing over the next 12 – 18 months:
1. Social media will gain traction in new ways
Social media is playing an increased role in marketing and buyers are now connecting to sellers via social channels rather than just browsing. DemandGen reports that 72% of respondents said they used social media to research the solution purchase.
This total is unchanged since 2013. What HAS changed is that there is a 57% increase in buyers connecting directly with potential solution providers via social networking channels. So they’re no longer just browsing social channels to do research, they’re using social channels to connect directly with sellers.
2. Marketers will adjust their budgets accordingly
In reaction to buyer behaviour, marketers will continue to adjust their spend on inbound marketing. Sirius Decisions predicted back in 2013 that there would be a slight increase from 51% to 53% spent on inbound marketing by 2015. But what’s really interesting is the portion spent on social media: a big bump up from 36% to 44%.
3. Traditional sales and marketing roles will be turned on their heads
We used to say, “Marketing opens the door and sales charges through it to close the deal.” Today, social media is driving role reversals within sales and marketing functions.
Increasingly, marketers are learning more about customers through their digital footprint and social media usage. We’re using real-time, behavioural data and analytics to complete a 360 view of the customer. And we’re leveraging this deep customer insight to close deals – because we’re able to make the right offer through the right channel at the right time.
Conversely, salespeople are now using social selling techniques to open doors with clients and prospects. They’re using social channels to connect, start conversations, and share knowledge and content. These nurturing techniques are paying off. According to a recent Social Media and Sales Quota Survey, more than 40% of salespeople say they have closed between two and five deals as a result of social media.
4. Revenue Marketing will become Profit Marketing
Using Revenue Marketing principles, sales and marketing have begun to ensure that marketing strategies align with sales and business objectives to generate a measurable return to the bottom line.
But that’s just step one. As marketing shifts from a cost centre to a revenue centre, there is a deeper realization of the fact that not all customers are created equal. Inbound marketing tends to generate more new customer logos than outbound marketing. Based on lifetime customer value, new customers could be more desirable to a company which could translate into more importance placed on inbound techniques.
5. Employee advocacy will fuel marketing
Although traditional advertising techniques (like TV advertising) are on the decline, social media makes it possible for employees to be a company’s best brand champions. Employee advocacy programs empower a company’s employees to support the goals of the brand using content and employee-owned social channels. This approach can have a huge impact on marketing and sales. According to Dynamic Signal, a digital marketing company, “Your employees are already on social all the time. And since people trust their social connections more than marketing messages, you can increase brand awareness by 14x and sales leads by 25%.” (Stay tuned for more on this topic in an upcoming blog post).
When will these 5 trends reach their tipping points? Last time my crystal ball looked 7 years ahead so let’s set it at 5 years this time – 2020! Watch this space….
Are you seeing sales and marketing changes in your markets and geographies? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.