Social Media has been a great tool for communications and more so conversations between a web audience and brands/businesses. Brands have been attempting to capitalize on the inbound aspect of marketing through social media platforms for the past few months. While some have achieved to capitalize on such social media chatter or dialogue many businesses and brands alike have sort of missed the boat on social media effectiveness. Partially this is caused by the apparent lack of an effective social media strategy and a part of it is understand the true essence of having a social media presence. Here is some insight on some of the current challenges we are going to face when it comes to Social Media in 2014.
#1 The Interactive Audience.
When a brand can segment their following or understand their following it is easier to customize a brand message towards that respective group or following based on their background, who they are and what the need. This avoids a brand blasting a general message to an overall audience to determine what will stick and catch on. Most brands are directly trying to tap into their customer base but it is more important to identify the social authority that your customers are certain to follow.
There are 4 different quadrants of people one must follow as a brand or business:
- Audience Reach – These are profiles your audience follows such as authority figures in the digital web space.
- Influencers – These are profiles that can influence or increase exposure of a brand over night
- Customer Personas – The audience that matches your customer demographics
- Competitors – These competitors that are either directly impacting your sandbox or indirectly ranking you based on search results.
#2 The Interactive Content
Brands today are continuously trying to understand the secret recipe to going viral. Brands are continuously hoping that they will hit the jackpot when it comes to exciting and engaging content. It is no secret that creating awesome content is the first step to deliver shares, likes and reactions on social media platforms. It goes further than just a retweet or share moving forward. To justify effective content a brand must show a return on investment on the energy put in towards creating and delivering content. Brands will have to start capitalizing on the inbound marketing that comes with becoming a content authority. More and more websites now offer live chat as a feature for a brand to communicate with a live audience. We are already seeing this with the chat feature tool on Google Plus and Facebook being used a format to have a sales opportunity. Businesses are reporting success with sales conversions through social media interaction.
#3 The Perfect Timing
Brands try to find out when is the most effective time to publish content to capitalize on social media engagement. It is every social media managers dream to find out the right time when a brands most engaged followers are online. The formula here is posting social feeds during peak times when followers are logged in to social platforms deliver automatic social media reactions and engagement. Some brands tackle this by repurposing content to capitalize different audiences see the respective content. Brands also use other forms of integrated digital marketing such as email marketing and delivering the same content in other formats to capture various audiences. Integrated marketing will become reinvented to compliment social media reach. We are already seeing this with email marketing programs develop and offer social media email marketing campaigns.
#4 The Exposure Factor
While many brands are starting to realize the importance of deploying an effective content strategy what makes great content engaging is also the exposure you give it. Gone are the days where social media content will be exposed only through organic means. The second element of exposure comes from alliances you have with social media influencers. Content distribution will become a job description and community managers will become even more relevant as we approach this digital age. Brands will focus on building a digital tribe of influencers to get the message out and content syndication, distribution and influence will resonate with any brand trying to become an authority. Brands are advised to create content and speak to their strengths. The context of ones content will determine how viral it becomes.
#5 The Right Platform/ Network
The common question is which social network or platform should a brand have a presence on. The bigger question to ask is understanding how the network or platform compliments a brand. Each social network can be capitalized or used in a certain way where some elements are more visually interactive while others might be more text engaging. Either ways with mobile platforms shaping the way for a future trends of visual engagement brands will have to get creative and give visual engagement the priority it deserves. A trend of digital creative companies that compliment social media will start to emerge as we start to see more visual forms of social media engagement. Banners, Posters and Digital pictures of brand messaging will have an even bigger effect than a traditional blog post. In fact we will start to see an infusion of text. Images and video even more. This format of integrated and interactive digital content will be used even more on social networks/platforms. To focus on this challenge brands must ask how can they utilize each platform or network as opposed to just being present on the network.
#6 The Growth Factor
How can I get more social media followers without paying for fake followers? A brand must simply give an audience a reason to follow them and have an effective message. An audience that can understand or relate to a brands why will become even more loyal going forward. Many brands today miss the boat on an effective call to action. If a brand has a hard time explaining what they do it becomes even harder to translate this message on social or digital platforms. Brand consistency across social media channels is another killer for growth. One must position themselves as an authority to portray any format of brand attraction moving forward. A brand should also give direction to the general audience to promote an effective call to action. Events, Guest posts, Media and social shares can allow you to capture a following you might not necessarily be able to tap into. Your social media growth is dictated by a brands ability to tap in to the need of the audience and providing clarity on your brand messaging.
#7 The SEO Impact
While some social networks indirectly impact SEO, a social platform that is doing wonders for social media is Google Plus. Social Media Networks impacts social media traffic to web platforms or assets and in turn impact SEO. Regardless if some networks don’t compliment SEO directly it will still impact the social rankings through other means. We will hear the term Social Marketing Optimization more often in the near future. Every platform will play a role in complimenting SEO and as much as we see some limitation’s with rankings social triggers will be prioritized in the future when it comes to search results. Social reactions, shares and going viral will be elements to search filters that will compliment a brand going forward.
#8 Social Advertising
With recent algorithm changes on Facebook, the Edge-rank calculates that only an even smaller fraction of your followers get to see what you organically post online. The latest news mean that companies will almost have to overnight pay to play! The new age of paid media will certainly create a divide between brands wanting to capitalize on a wed audience. We will see an even bigger divide in the months as many early adopters will either jump ship to find the next free tool they can use or give up on their content strategy deployment. Social media advertising will become the norm as some of the bigger platforms like Linked In, Twitter, YouTube already joining Facebook using social advertising as means to revenue.
#9 Time Management
Quantity matters less than consistency and quality. A healthy schedule of being present on a social platform and setting some time daily for social is key and pivotal. Followers on social media tend to have more conversations with regular presence and engage more. Any brand that is consistent with their posting will do wonders on social media. The balance of curated content versus created content will really depend on the time put into the creation of content. Like anything with time, effort and patience a brand will see success on social media if done correctly. Brands will also recruit social media managers for an even more full-time approach to tacking the social presence factor.
Social Media Metrics will show a brand how effective their content really is based on knowing what to measure in the first place. The traditional elements of measuring social media based on follower counts isn’t effective any more. The engagement and actions taken by a web audience are even more essential today. The 5 more common elements to look at are as follows
To summarize it all social media is evolving rapidly with more changes, enhancements and features and capabilities added to a social network Rolodex. Brands have a need to invest in being aware of these changes now more than ever before. Social media strategies will have to be adjusted and more emphasis on social media budgets will become mandatory. One item that stays the same is that social media will compliment an overall marketing strategy for any brand. It’s a question of how much are brands or businesses willing to embrace this notion. Paying attention to social could be a game changer for any digital presence over the next few years!
Just before Google’s 15th birthday a seismic change to how Google performs search had been introduced to the world. Coined as the “hummingbird”, the algorithm is designed to focus on precision and speed when it comes to search query results. An algorithm is the formula Google uses to sort web pages and digital assets in order to return the best results or SERP’s. (Search Engine Results Pages).
The major emphasis is to deliver semantic search and as opposed to the previous algorithms that focused on keywords or search terms, the new algorithm will pay intelligence to user intent. Google is making a play to increase its dominance as a search engine authority by focusing on the intelligence of search as opposed to providing results on search. A sentence, a phrase, conversation, context are all being considered when delivering the results as opposed to just search terms. In short Google’s Hummingbird is applying search intelligence on a user query.
Companies now have an even bigger playing field from a contextual perspective to sell a unique selling proposition. Strategically content managers can now focus on delivering more context to products and services than just the usual element of white noise and trying to gain authority by keyword placement. The intelligence factor will allow calls for social media, engagement, and social influence to play its part in gaining authority when deploying a content strategy.
While content or inbound marketing has been the poster child for the last few years when it comes to digital trends, the semantic language on how search is being looked at calls for an even bigger outlook on contextual marketing and making content sexy. While much can be said about the white noise also called “crap” that being shoveled online, Google will focus on quality content which will open the digital playground to a smarter way we deliver and view content.
The introduction of the ever-increasing voice search, and smart phone usage rising will cause the algorithm to embrace such advancing technology by making search easier, faster and even more accessible. Companies will be forced to start paying attention to the quality of web pages, the clarity in messaging as well as the user journey as opposed to the traditional approach of putting it out there and hoping for the best. Much focus will be put into a website architecture and overall page performance going forward.
The Knowledge graph and local search will play a huge role where quality content delivers an authority as opposed to just content. As a business we will need to focus on the intent, needs, wants, solutions and problems to our audience as opposed to just ranking for authority.
My good friends Andrew McGivern and Bob Garlick have just started up a new series of Maven Interviews and recently invited me to come on their show to discuss context marketing. Now everyone knows some of my talks on content however my take on context marketing is a recent finding and a game changer. Bob asked me some great questions and I ended up defining digital story telling and recent trends in the content market.
The big take away is writing content is no longer just for authority but also for influence. I highlighted the importance of the web user journey and how that impacts conversion. We covered elements of inbound marketing. I think this was one of my most relaxed interviews and the answers were unscripted. I really had a ton of fun on this interview with Bob.
You can review this awesome interview by clicking on the Maven Podcast.
One of my favourite things to do is networking. There are so many interesting people in the world, and the more events you get to, the likelier you are to meet the people that will make a difference in your life and business. It’s also great to do a bit of people watching while at these events, to see how other people approach networking.
It can become pretty obvious when someone is a little too eager to try and sell themselves or their business, and it can turn people off quickly. I’ve always been a firm believer that your initial few minutes of meeting someone should include trying to connect with them on at least one of these fundamentals: vision, value or purpose. Once you have a connection it will be easier to have a natural conversation about what you do, what services you may offer, and if you think you have something to offer them.
But when people come out of the gate sounding like gypsies selling a magical snake oil remedy that you can’t live without, that chance to have an authentic connection is lost. It’s more important to build the value of your fundamentals than to claw desperately at a chance to make some money. In this life I’ve learned it’s not always about what I know, but who I know, so I try hard to avoid coming off as a snake oil salesman, instead searching for meaningful interactions that leave all parties involved feeling like they’ve gained something. This has proven to be an effective method for me time and time again. And the more I practice it, the more the opportunity to collaborate with different people presents itself.
So instead of looking at your next networking event as a chance to sell, sell, sell, remember that connecting with people and showing them who you really are is the most effective secret weapon to assist in selling yourself or your business.
Balance is talked about a lot these days, and it can mean very different things to everyone. When I think about balance in my work and life I relate it to managing the time I spend on any one thing. This can be challenging in this busy world we live in, but if you manage your time effectively you will be more productive in the end.
For example, when I have a meeting or a call with a client its important to me that I make sure we do not go over the planned time commitment. This way I won’t have to sacrifice the time I need for other tasks. While it’s ideal to believe I’ll never spend more time with someone than I scheduled, it’s not always realistic, so I make sure to not over schedule myself in a single day or time block. This way the extra 15 minutes here and there won’t throw an entire schedule off kilter!
Balancing your time to increase productivity also has a lot to do with distractions. Take some time to identify which distractions are your kryptonite. Things like social media, TV and email or web surfing are the biggest culprits for most people, so start to assess how much time you “numb out” with these kinds of mindless activities….woops, there goes 2 hours! If you genuinely need to use social media, email or web to do your work, then make sure you have clear and achievable goals for that time you invest, so you’ll be able to identify if suddenly you’ve wasted too much time.
This plays right into the reasoning for having an agenda, and I do mean an agenda in mind and on paper. I’ve always found that when I’ve got my time mapped out in a physical agenda it keeps me accountable and realistic about how much I can cram in to one day. This is also effective for preventing mind wandering, and scatter brain habits of thinking.
But the single most important idea I’ve come to accept is that time for personal growth and living a full life is critical to overall balance of my well-being. Too much work can burn you out, too much play can slow you down. It’s all about the balancing act.
I recently sat down for a drink with my good friend fondly called “Skim” who is a PR marketing genius. We share similar immigrant backgrounds and stories and decided to talk about how we are building our personal brands in Vancouver. I gently said, ” It’s not what you know but rather who you know!” Skim then responded, ” It’s not what you know, It’s not who you know but rather who knows you!” This statement hit a strong chord with me and my mind started just going in so many different directions. In fact this statement has been on my mind for the past few weeks.
So last week I decided to put this to the test with some amazing results. I decided to talk to influencers that knew me well to explain what my goals were and where I want to go. Today was a great day for karma. My influencers became my heroes and put me in touch with decision makers, bigger influencers and movers and shakers. I have had three call this evening and two of which are introducing my brand and speaking to a market I haven’t tapped into or cracked. The third call was a referral with a huge celebrity in Canada that I have been on the phones with for the past few weeks.
The lesson here – People you know have the power to influence your brand by putting you in touch with people who need to know about your brand, your story or what you have to offer.
My friend Skim was absolutely right, “It’s who knows you in this big city that can make all the difference!”
My strongest recommendation is genuinely build and nurture relationships. Give back to people who may not be your customers and let them know more about you. The biggest gift a friend can do for you is to become your hero by promoting you or connecting you with someone they know! Who do you know that can help influence you? Who knows of you? Questions to ponder and figure out!
On January 31st 2012 I founded a local Meet up group called the Internet Marketing Thinktank in Vancouver, British Columbia. The group was designed to provide entrepreneurs, businesses and the corporate crowd to learn, connect and take action. In the past 18 months we have held various types of events, mixers, panels and conferences. Most of all our content is always free and geared towards fresh and current trends as well as a plethora of resources.
I was so proud to see the meet up grow and hit the 500th member earlier in July. The meet up is starting to turn into a high impact business community with so many different backgrounds and experiences. The last three events have been growing and I am pleased to say that we have been having full house events with high turnouts for our monthly events.
Where do we go from here? The answer is simple, we will continue to stand out and bring out some of the industries most talented and knowledgable speakers with the intention of keeping our content current and resourceful. We will also display an exciting summer and fall line up of events that will leave you wanting more. IF you would like to join our free business community, click here.
Integrated techniques are the marketing fusion of traditional offline strategies blended with digital and social strategies. This blend of marketing strategies builds an all around diversified approach making your overall strategy versatile and integrated.
Integrated Marketing is the tactical delivery of blended strategy to ensure that you capture all touching points with your clientele. As we are morphing into a more digital arena we are seeing an increasing trend of consumers using different forms of communication with respective brands through various platforms.
The three elements to consider when creating an integrated campaign is
- Consumer Reach
- Consumer Behaviour
- Consumer Reactions
A unified marketing strategy can tap into all three elements above with tremendous results if done correctly. The ultimate goal for an integrated campaign is conversions and many different campaigns show success in different mediums and marketing strategies based on industry and product line.
One of my proudest achievements was close to home. I was recently approached by the Merita Movement group for an interview for a documentary labeled “Our beloved land. After arranging a time to meet and an hour interview I recently heard that the finishing touches were being put into this exciting documentary about inspiring youth from Africa.
I was truly honoured to be featured in this documentary having been born in Tanzania, East Africa. Here is a little description taken from the Merita website on what the movement is all about.
“Merita is a passion driven movement comprised of individuals who desire to see young people on the continent of Africa empowered, unified and strengthened; Concurrently grounded in their indigenous roots and yet avian in their dreams and aspirations.
Our intention is to accommodate space, resource and method to breakthrough old cycles and advocate self actualization and growth amongst creative entrepreneurs both individually and collectively.”
I am excited to show case the video trailer on my blog below. The trailer is truly inspiring with the screening to showcase later this fall. Tweet me @boscoanthony if you would like to attend this screening in Vancouver, British Columbia. Enjoy!
I recently designed my very own life hack productivity task sheet to help me deliver on my accountability. As my brand evolves my time and direction is spent on various elements and I was feeling of anxiety as I felt I was being pulled in so many different directions. This is when I needed to start listing my various priorities and tasks by the different categories. I was able to manage what was urgent and tasks that could use more time.
I also found that my writing manually on this sheet it gave me a sense of accountability that was even more effective than a smart phone or a digital copy. Yes you heard me say that by writing tasks manually on this task sheet delivered better results. There is something about writing on a document that gives me a sense of responsibility and ownership.
The key is to have a visual listing process. The checking of tasks out of the priority lists gives you a sense of accomplishment and rewards. The beauty of this template you can print as many copies and use them either daily or weekly based on your needs and the goals you set for yourself. Since I started using this format I have been on top of my priorities and manage to complete anywhere from 20-30 tasks a day.
I have seen so much rapid success with this sheet that I have been asked to share it with my colleagues and friends online. So here is a visual copy created through MS Excel on my cheat sheet