It’s ‘Open Mic’ night!
In this session, our 13 expert voices are sharing their insights on ‘Social Media’, covering: the evolution of social platforms, social business, employee advocacy, competitive analysis and marketing field testing, through to PR, ‘dark social’, and more, all right here…
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Embrace The Shift To Live Experiences
The biggest shift in social media is from virtual interactions to live video streaming. Apps such as Blab are leading the way for this shift. People can participate in conferences, webinar chats, and discussions from their home, with other people anywhere in the world. This ability, which usually requires little or no special equipment, could disrupt event attendance, traditional sales channels, and even ticket sales. As live video streaming takes hold, it will benefit those who want to showcase their personalities and be completely authentic – something that is difficult to do when only through text and photos.
Virtual reality – another level up from live streaming – is still in its infancy, but what has been produced so far is creating quite a gold rush, according to the New York Times.
Recently, Elisabeth Murdoch launched a mobile video company called Vertical Networks. Live video streaming will start making its way into our current social media channels, whether we are ready or not! I predict that we’ll see more brands hiring influencers to live-stream fashion shows, events, conferences, and other such events. I recommend that everyone start honing their speaking and presentation skills. Smile – you’re on camera!
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Take A Page From The Journalist’s Notepad
Social media leveled the playing field for marketers. There are now a thousand ways to reach an audience – and a million others looking to do the same. And they have the same access you do. So how do you stand out, break apart? Leverage. You have to create leverage.
Build social capital. Having a large network opens doors, allows you to provide value where other can’t, creates confidence with prospective clients and makes you unique in the marketplace. And in 2016, it requires planning and dedication to be heard. There’s a lot of noise.
The best way to get noticed is to consistently create value. If it’s one thing a journalist does well, they know how to connect the dots.
In this new economy, being able to connect the most dots is the shortest distance from Point A (building relationships) to Point B (delivering success).
If you’re going to be a dot connector, have a long memory. Journalists may go months or even years between calling on a source, but they make sure to keep in touch just in case. Do the same. A small thing you do for someone can and will turn into a big break when they circle back later.
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The Key To Viral? Offline…
Social media is great. Technologies like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have made it faster and easier to communicate with large numbers of people very quickly.
But as I talk about in ‘Contagious: Why Things Catch On’, only 7% of word of mouth happens online. That’s right. 7%. Most word of mouth is actually offline: Face to face interactions around the dinner table, the water cooler, or while watching sports.
So, when thinking about generating word of mouth and get something to catch on, don’t just think about social media. Think about offline as well. How can you getting people talking and sharing, online and off, so that word spreads about your product or idea?
Further, rather than thinking just about technology, you need to understand the psychology. Why people talk and share in the first place. You can have 10 million friends or followers, but if no one shares your stuff, it doesn’t matter. We need to understand why people share and use those insights to craft contagious content.
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Social – A Boon For Competitive Analysis
Social provides a goldmine of competitor insight for companies prepared to do their research. First, you can look closely at what the brands are saying on their owned social media channels; who are they talking to, what are they saying about their brand, how do they sell their products? You can do this as an ad-hoc research exercise or, with a tool like Sysomos Expion. Simply plug your competitor’s social profiles into your dashboards to track their activity on an ongoing basis so you can always keep tabs on them.
You can also use social media to understand what your competitors’ customers are saying about them. While many companies scrutinise their own brand conversations in social, many don’t track competitor conversations, which is a missed opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to know what consumers love or hate about their biggest competitors? Using the right tools, it’s very easy to search for conversations in Twitter and Facebook, and then to analyse that data to draw out actionable insight.
Social media provides a free, constantly updated source of insight into what your competitors are doing and how their customers are feeling, so why ignore it?
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Field Testing Is Simple With Social
Social presents tremendous opportunities for brands of all sizes to test their marketing campaigns. Smart marketers can dip their toes in the water before wasting money on campaigns that may not work.
Some easy ideas for testing campaigns with social media include testing visuals, content headlines and themes, different mediums and call to actions. These can easily be tested with a simple Facebook update, Twitter post or even a live stream.
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Smart SEOs Understand Social
Web pages rank for two reasons: they are relevant to a topic (keyword usage) and they have authority from other websites (links). It’s not difficult to research keywords, but winning links is a hard art form to master.
Ultimately, it’s based on having relationships with content creators. In other words, networking. And these days, networking means social media. So smart SEOs do what PR people have been doing all along: using social media to research, connect with and collaborate with content with content creators.
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PR And Social – A Perfect Match
PR, as we know, stands for Public Relations; but a very smart person once told me that it should actually stand for Problem Resolvers.
Social Media is a great way to resolve even more problems for brands, businesses, client and internal comms people alike. It’s no longer just thinking in one way; it’s all about the mix of communications and strategies to reach your audience in the moment.
The average person checks their phone 85 times a day to communicate, complain, find out where/when/how they can make their lives easier, faster and more convenient. PR practitioners need to consider this when planning their approach to resolving the problems that brands – and customers – face day-to-day.
Research is a great starting point for social media. Scanning keywords, brand profiles, and competitor activity is a great way to garner insight and understanding of verticals and customer sentiment. Following publishers, brands, influencers and innovators that are great at social is a good way to stay inspired and come up with new formats and ways to communicate in the field of social media.
Including a social specialist in your approach is something that can really make a campaign and communication fly. If you are creating assets to communicate to journalists, why wouldn’t you consider talking to your consumer through your owned channels too?Social is the perfect complement to PR.
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Beware (And Aware Of) Dark Social
Dark social is a term used to describe social media that appears in analytics as “direct traffic” instead of “social traffic.” As we continue to increase our use of mobile applications and mobile sharing, it is important that we become aware of dark social. Brands should know which situations create “dark social” and how to avoid them.
There are several situations that create dark social. When a person is using a native mobile app, such as Facebook or Instagram, the app has to fire up a browser within the app causing the traffic to appear as direct. If someone shares a URL via email or chat (like Slack), the referral source will not be passed. Secure browsing is another one. If you are on a site using HTTPS and you click a non-secure HTTP link, the referrer will not be passed. Lastly, there are instances where Google will not share the referral source via organic search results.
Brands need to be aware and avoid attribution issues. Use link builders and link shorteners to track dark social traffic. In some cases, more than 50% of traffic can be coming from dark social – and that is an attribution problem you don’t want.
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Your People Are More Valuable Than Your Tools
After performing hundreds of Social Reconnaissance missions, I’ve learned that it’s more about the “who” than the “what.”
That is to say; we’ve used numerous tools over the years from enterprise level listening tools to simple Google searches and in the end, the most informed, accurate and insightful Guerrilla Insights Reports consistently came from analysts that could connect the dots to create plausible and actionable narratives.
Much like the CIA often contends that human intel (feet on the street) is essential to good spy-craft, I have found that no computer or algorithm can replace a highly intuitive, creative and dedicated social analyst. While high-powered social listening and analysis tools, placed in the hands of a talented social analyst, can certainly speed up the intelligence gathering process, they are still just a tool, whose effectiveness is directly related to the talent of the person behind the keyboard.
For companies looking to exploit the power of the social web and digital data, finding and investing in intuitive analysts is the single most important step they can take to paint more effective, real-time pictures of their target audience and sales prospects.
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Social Profiles – Windows To Your Brand
What does someone do when they want to learn more about you?
They Google your name.
And what shows up?
At the top of the Google search results, you will find your social profiles, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. So your profiles ultimately become your first online impression. What kind of impression are you currently making?
Incomplete, unbranded or unprofessional social media sites are certainly not making the impression you want. Ensure that each site has a custom branded image to fit the dimensions of that site. Also ensure that your profile is fully complete.
After that, people will start to look at the type of content you share online. Here’s my rule of thumb… if you don’t want your grandmother, mother, father, husband, wife, future partner, clients, prospects, children or anyone else to see it… don’t post it.
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Don’t Be Scared Of Customers Complaining On Social Media
When a customer complains via a social channel like Twitter, Facebook or on one of the many review sites (Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc.), it’s an opportunity.
First, you can turn the customer around from foe to friend. Second, they are telling you how to get better. So first, embrace the complaint. Then deal with it. The worst thing to do is ignore it. Even if the rant has gone viral, respond as quickly as possible. Acknowledge the problem, apologize and suggest connecting with the customer offline or via direct message to resolve the issue.
The public viewing audience likes to see companies step up and handle customer complaints. Once the customer is taken care of, go back online and publically thank the customer for the opportunity to resolve the problem. And if you are lucky, the customer will come back on and acknowledge that you’ve turned their “Moment of Misery™” into a “Moment of Magic®.”
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Know Your Employee Advocacy KPI’s
Similar to the ROI of social media in general, the ROI of an employee advocacy program really comes down to the objective that each company might have for their own program.
Some companies are tactically focused on implementing social selling as part of their employee advocacy program, and thus their ROI measurement will be primarily based on leads generated, pipeline deals touched, and sales closed. For other companies employee advocacy might be part of a general employee engagement initiative, in which case the metrics of ROI will be very different from those of a social selling flavor.
To understand employee advocacy ROI, first take a step back, and ask why the program was created , and from there how its success should be measured can be determined.
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Find Your Biggest Brand Advocates – Inside The Company
To be successful in social media, you need to be trusted. So, who trusts you more than your employees that work for your brand day in and day out? While you may not realize their power, your employees are likely the best brand advocates that you have.
These individuals are passionate about your business, its values, and their everyday focus is on helping your business succeed. They are authentic, educated, and will put themselves in other customers’ shoes to help create a stronger understanding about whatever it is that you’re selling. In fact, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 22%.
Activating your own employees can be one of the best strategies you can put into place , so why not learn how to engage them to become an advocate for your business? Foster trust, build authentic relationships and work with the greatest resource you already have to activate a global employee advocacy program.
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