Social media rules to adhere to for sureshot success

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, Google+, Tumblr, Slideshare, Instagram, so on and so forth, the list goes on. For a company that’s serious about marking and imprinting its social media presence across the World Wide Web, the Web offers innumerable platforms, and which ones to choose becomes a tough decision.

Any social media strategy depends on some basic tenets to witness phenomenal success. These tenets when followed ensure that your social media strategy takes off vertically and once this happens, your company can plan some focused campaigns around each of the channels to leverage and grow their followers.

8 - Social Media Rules for Success

1.     Focus:

It’s important to determine which social media channels your company would be focussing on as a part of the digital marketing process. Being everywhere and keeping some profiles dormant is not a very sound idea. Instead, by analysing the area of business and understanding what works for the industry, a company can wisely choose the most important channels for its digital marketing strategy.

2.     Visual Candy:

Remember reading boring essays in school? Same is the case with long never-ending essay type articles on the Internet. Content marketing has become the order of the day since the time search engines started giving importance to keywords. Everyone is churning content by the mills. But how do you make your content appealing? Visual candy is very important to grab eye balls and make them stay. So, always represent your content with good relevant images that enhance the context and meaning of your content.

3.     Interaction:

The essence of communication is always a two-way affair. Single-handed sermons do not work anywhere, more so in the online space. How can you elicit interaction from your customers, followers and prospects? You can ask questions – pertinent questions that your followers would be more than happy to answer. Thus starts a conversation. Debate – all the more desirable, but ensure that the area of discussion does not result in a controversy.

4.     Hash them all up:

The Internet has come up with so many ways to generate and file conversations. Tagging, categorising, hashtags, etc. are ways of ensuring that your content comes up in searches. Whenever hash tags are used, your content tends to get found globally and you get more traction to your website and social media pages.

5.     Gratification Mantra:

Your customers love freebies. Make good use of this general psyche of a buyer prospect and give them a sneak peek to your product by offering free previews or free giveaways. Encourage by requesting reviews and involving bloggers for the same. This not only creates legitimate backlinks but helps you to leverage the popularity of bloggers to your company’s advantage. For example, several beauty product companies have tied up with blogger communities in engaging bloggers to write about their new launches in return for a chance to win big prizes/hampers.

6.     Brevity is the key:

Remember that users tend to scroll away from your screen if you have pages and pages of boring content. As discussed in Point 1, in addition to images, if you can keep your social media posts brief and blogs concise, you will have more readers and takers for your social content.

7.     Numbers:

Stay on top of them. Numbers are your strength. Keep a track of how your posts are faring. In fact, these days, marketers are also calculating the best time to post their social media broadcasts in order to catch their readers when they are actually more likely to be online.

Social media is not about random posting and hoping with fingers crossed that followers will increase. It is all about strategy – planning for goals and making those numbers happen.

8.     Take feedback seriously:

Your readers are your best judges because they are the ones who take your content and are likely to share it across. So, when you receive negative feedback about any of your content or social posts, take it seriously, acknowledge it and move on with the changes. This not only places you on a credible pedestal but also ensures that your followers feel important, needed and heard.

9.     Get personal:

Literally. One-on-one interactions with your audience will take you very far. Communicating with your audience will ensure that they know that you know them personally, and you recognize them. Make them feel important. Address them by name and include them into your community, whatever it may be – Twitter or Facebook. This creates a personal relationship and your audience tends to become loyal to you and your brand.

So, follow these simple rules and you will be there on the top in no time.

If you need assistance in managing your social media presence, do get in touch with us here to understand how we can chalk out a Social Media Optimisation strategy for you.

Social Media Roundup: What’s gone and what’s to come in 2014

As 2013 bids goodbye and ushers the New Year with a lot of expectations, the Social Media scene remains as dynamic as ever. Rapidly changing trends, viral strategies, changing algorithms and the capitalistic tricks of search engines to trap users into using their products have all grabbed headlines in the year past.

Several trends were predicted for 2013 in the year 2012, and these trends have today become a vital part of digital marketing strategy.

Quick Roundup of social media scene:

Content marketing was one of these and the latest Google update underscores the trend and further reiterates the importance of producing high quality and intelligent content. The Hummingbird update rolled out by Google during the last quarter of last year took everyone by the wave. Google timed the launch to coincide with its 15th birthday on 27th September 2013. Most Google’s updates are looked upon with apprehension because they are aimed at quashing the digital marketers who misuse and abuse the search algorithms to play with the rankings. One such example is keyword stuffing.

However, with the Hummingbird update, Google has now started understanding user queries to display better results. So, while we all were typing ‘grocery stores street name’ onto the search bar, Google was revamping its algorithms to understand ‘grocery stores within 5 kilometres of street name’, or ‘grocery stores inside malls’.

Trends in Social Media 2014
Trends in Social Media 2014

Hummingbird update signals the era of intelligent searching. The technical word here is ‘semantic search’, which means search by queries/context in totality, and not just by keywords alone. So this in simple words means users get what they want in the form of answers. This calls for writing more How to content, questions and answers, and phrasing content in simple words that converse rather than preach, teach or sermonize.

The last quarter of 2013 witnessed the release of direct messages at Instagram, and the launch of Twitter IPO which rose to 70% of its initial offering price on the same day of launch.

Facebook tried acquiring Snapchat for $3 billion, while Google tried offering $4 billion. Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel turned down both!! 2013 was the year of “Selfies”, so much so that the word, meaning self-picture was added to Oxford dictionary owing to a 17,000% increase in its frequency. The year not only saw a boom in the social media space, but also suffered with rise in social media spam by almost 355%. And Google Plus took the second spot after Facebook for the most active users.

What a year!!

Looking ahead at 2014: What’s in store?

Of course, it goes without saying for it’s been said and repeated umpteen times, how content is going to be a really strong player in the coming years. More so, the use of visually pleasing and graphical content such as Infographics will heighten the ‘shareability’ factor by leaps and bounds. Content will be developed exclusively for mobile devices with brevity as the foundation.

Geo-tagging is taking off in a big way. Findability on Google Places and elsewhere will become the most important strategy for businesses. Pinterest has teamed up with FourSquare to allow geo-tagged pins to be posted. As mobile users increase, digital media efforts will be more focused towards roping all the alternate platform users into the funnel.

The void of certified courses in the area of online media and marketing is expected to be filled by international universities, some of which have already introduced graduation and online programs to produce skilled digital marketing talent.

Short copy will rule as users’ average attention span keeps dwindling, owing to a surge in the available devices at hand as well as overload of information. Marketers will use attention grabbing techniques which include colourful images, graphics, info-graphics, repackaged and repurposed content. ‘Less-is-more’ is still going to be the mantra.

All in all, 2014 is going to be an interesting year in the digital marketing space – a lot to look out for.

Source:
The State of Social Media 2013 by Infographic Promotion

How Digital Marketing can change the landscape of your company – for the better

As more and more users add I-pads, tablets, and smart phones to their list of connectivity devices apart from laptops, digital marketing becomes all the more vital for a company to sustain itself in the online space. Not only are today’s companies required to enter the digital marketing arena, they need to also figure out how to impart the right message to the right audience at the right time. Effective online marketing is the order of the day.

However, digital marketing is a whole lot more than online marketing. It encompasses detailed selling strategies towards goal (leads) oriented outcomes, targeting specific categories of users, in depth analytics, visitor tracking, and leads generation. And yet, it is not complete in itself, because the online world experiences changes by minute time frames.

Numbers on the plate: A quick glance at digital marketing statistics

Digital Marketing is a broader term that includes all those set of activities that directly or indirectly help promote a brand, website, service, or company online. While traditional marketing techniques employed print, radio and television as the media for advertising, today, Internet has taken a fair chunk of the same. According to the PwC IAB report1 titled “2013 Half Year IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report”, Digital ad spending in the US grew 18% year over year and has already surpassed $20 billion in the first half of 2013.

This report is testimony to the fact that many small, medium and large enterprises have woken up to the current importance of Digital Marketing.

1Source: IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)

Furthermore, similar trends are being witnessed across the globe. A recent study2 by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Direct Marketing Association UK (DMA) reveals that 94% of the marketers in UK and 89% in Australia have already adopted content marketing.

2Source: Content Marketing in the UK: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

Being visible everywhere that matters

If a company is not there online, it effectively doesn’t exist, unless it is a big multinational. And being online doesn’t mean just the web – they have to have a mobile version, an I-pad version, so on and so forth. Visibility on hand-held devices has also come of age. As against web visitors, smart phones and tablets have taken over a 20% share of the total website visitors according to the Monetate Q1 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly report. This makes it essential for companies to optimize their websites for other platforms as well.

The Domino Effect

We have all heard about how online reputation management (ORM) has become a priority for companies, what with customer feedback coming up online in various ways. There is an extremely vulnerable state of transparency on the web that gives many companies jitters. Especially when there are a lot of negative reviews floating around the web, companies take great pains to ensure that their customers are given the best of service so that they may spread good will online, or at least keep mum.

What’s all the more disturbing for companies is the fact that one negative comment spirals into a long, never-ending thread of negative comments saying “I had the same experience too!” that results in a significant loss of brand image as well as revenues – such is the power of the online medium.

Walking the planned path – Digital Strategy?

A Smart Insights survey in the beginning of 2012 revealed shocking statistics as per which, almost 70% of the companies surveyed admitted to not having a digital strategy in place. Yet they were indulging in some sort of digital marketing activities. Besides leaving your company direction less and clueless about what progress is being made and what are the Returns on Investment (RoIs) against Online Marketing, not having a digital strategy actually de-optimises your efforts towards building a brand online. Moreover, if you do not want your competitors to nibble on the market share that is supposed to be yours, then you have to be up-to-date with your digital plan.

Measuring results the analytics way

While offline marketing is measured in clearer terms, when it comes to online marketing, the grey area widens. Hence, analytics and metrics get a greater role to play in establishing the credibility of online marketing strategies. The grey area includes terms such as mentions, impressions, referrals, social signals and conversions. While marketers can easily decipher the terms, an old school company that is still engaging in Above the Line marketing activities might take longer to understand the significance of mentions/visitors/referrals, unless they are explained in terms of lead generation and RoIs.

The Changing Landscape

Digital marketing holds the key to growing your business by triggering an “attract >> engage >> convert” cycle, the results of which are hard to ignore, more so when all your competitors have already climbed on to the bandwagon.

Digital Marketing amplifies your marketing efforts by several manifolds, and often reaches just the right prospects that are likely to convert into customers. Traditional marketing techniques are more expensive and their reach is diluted because they lack audience focus, unlike digital marketing activities which can be targeted only towards relevant audiences, thus extracting the maximum use of investment and giving the best returns out of it.

The time to take action is now.

Digital Marketing Summit at IIIT, Hyderabad

The morning of 29th September held promise for me, for I was to attend the Digital Marketing Summit being held at IIIT Hyderabad. Conducted by IDONESEO, the summit saw the presence of at least 60 delegates and had 5 eminent speakers to address the eager crowd about the current trends in the Digital Marketing space. The experts invited to speak at the summit were Vipul Taneja, Saptarshi Roy Chaudhury, Raghavendra Satish Peri, Gayathri Choda and Munaz Anjum.

All speakers on stage
All speakers on stage

After a short introductory note, the event started off  with an interesting briefing on Landing Pages by speaker Vipul Taneja. Quoting Steve Jobs, “Design is how it works, not what it looks like or feels”, Vipul detailed the elements of a good Landing Page, the purpose and the action plan for building good landing pages. He gave the examples of websites such as DropBox and Crazy Egg, which have ideal landing pages with not much clutter and very simple designs.

Vipul’s mantra: “Less is good.”

Raghavendra Satish Peri, fondly known to everyone as Raghava, addressed the audience with his touching comment, “You have to answer me guys, I can’t see you” and went on to demonstrate how we can design our web pages to be more inclusive and accessible to the specially abled users. He also managed to answer user queries on digital marketing, proving that a specially abled person can be as good as a marketer as any other individual, if not better.

Raghav on stage during the Q&A session
Raghav on stage during the Q&A session

Saptarshi Roy Chaudhury waved his magic wand of content marketing, detailing the elements of content marketing. With content creation and  distribution being the two pillars of content marketing, Rishi shared with us some interesting statistics on content marketing. According to him, around 90% of marketers are doing content marketing, 25% of marketing budgets are spent on content marketing and apparently, according to eMarketer, a total of 118.4 billion dollars will be spent on content marketing in 2013. He also spoke about how to convert users and website visitors from Prospects into Leads and leads into opportunities. Salient features of good content include exceptional, credible, fun and unique.

Munaz Anjum spoke about changing search technologies and writing for the customer rather than the search engines.

Gayathri Choda was very emphatic on how analytics can change the way we look at content marketing. With keyword analysis through tools such as Google Trends, one can put numbers to results of digital marketing, which, as individuals in this field, we all know how important they are. An interesting tip from Gayathri was, “to identify the negative keywords and do SEO for them.” She also spoke of A/B testing and multi-variant testing.

The meet was quite a success.

The last one hour was allotted for Q&A session, during which, the audience asked speakers how they could market their products, brief content vs. verbose content, search engine keywords packed into a website or a website written for the customer, and lastly, single page website vs. many page websites.

To catch up on more pictures from the summit, do login to Facebook and check out the Fan Page of organizers IDONESEO.