The development of social media in companies

Imagine the situation. A company sets up a Twitter account, follows some well-known or relevant accounts, then posts a status saying ‘Hello World, First Tweet’, might then send one saying what they offer and might even send a third one with a link to the website. Then they gradually leave it and let the follower count increase and ‘bang’ you’re now a social company. But of course we all know that just setting up a new social media account doesn’t make you the social strategist of the century.

This attitude to social media has now long gone as companies now realise that just doing that is a recipe for social media failure. It’s been amazing to see that only over the past few years how much social media in companies has changed and the opinion of it has grown dramatically.

I remember attending a social media conference last year full of accountants, lawyers and finance professionals who were absolutely blown away by what they were seeing. How can a Facebook page bring me business or leads? Can people actually ask me questions about my products or services online? The room was awash with so much excitement and surprise of how powerful social media was.I then attended another conference with social media professionals a few weeks later and the difference you can imagine when talking to people was incredible. As there I was hearing stories of companies having 300 people in the social media team which blew MY mind this time.

Social media used to be something that maybe the marketing manager would set up and update on the odd occasion. If they fancied it they might reply to a few comments too. But then we got to the stage of having a specialist social media guy to come in and do it. This might have been an intern. Still not much attention paid to it.

Fast forward a few years and it’s remarkable the amount of planning and detail that now goes into social media. We now have actual social media budgets. Money set aside for social media campaigns whether that’s promoted posts or Facebook ads. We now have people coming up with strategies for social media, and how general marketing campaigns can be supported by social, and how social drives those campaigns to success. Community managers create content calendars weeks in advance to plan out what they’re going to post. They also reply to every comment or mention received, rather than ignoring. We don’t just register the number of followers we have, we now analyse the entire follow base, what their interests are, where they’re based, how they interact with the brand and the engagement rates content gets.

A social media team is now essential for any large company that’s taking social media seriously. The team includes community managers, strategists, analysts, buyers and planners. It’s now a whole department in its own right, just like a marketing, HR or finance department. Social media will no longer just be ‘within marketing’. But now a separate entity on its own. So with a whole team of social media people, the investment in it has grown, something unimaginable a few years back when a marketing manager ran a Twitter account on their own.

The future of social media within companies I think is only going to grow even more. Next you will probably see community managers or strategists for specific networks, such as Twitter strategist or an Instagram community manager. Added to this is companies now allocating more and more funds to social media away from outdoor or traditional media. Why invest in a billboard that will be seen by thousands of people over a day, when a social media campaign can be seen by that amount in a second and millions in total.

So it’ll be very interesting reviewing this blog post in five years time to see where social media within companies has gone. For now though its showing no signs of slowing down!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. For more digital marketing and social media stories and updates, please follow this blog or me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

How social media has changed our lives

For those of you who haven’t heard social media is a pretty big deal. Social media is no longer just a part of our lives and that website we sometimes look at . Rather it now shapes, dictates and influences our lives and what we do. Think about it. When you get a job, make a delicious meal, go on holiday or take a great a pic of a lovely view, what’s the first thing you do? Of course you upload it onto social media. Nowadays if you were to get married, we’d only find out about it via Facebook, not from you calling or texting someone. So we tell people what we’ve been up to now via our social profiles. Which to some degree is a shame, but at the same time is much easier than telling everyone separately. Now you can message everyone through a simple status! We’re becoming a group of people that’s now not afraid to share with others what we’ve been up. In the past I wouldn’t really want someone seeing the food I’ve made, but now I’d love to show people it!

Another way social media is changing our lives is how we interact with brands. Now when you have a compliant, question or enquiry we are less likely to pick up the phone and call the company or send an email. But now we go to social media whether that’s Facebook or Twitter to get the answer. In the past we’d mention a brand in a post and think there’s about a 10% chance they’d reply to us. However now I personally feel if I ask a question on Twitter I expect an answer. I mean if your company got a phone call enquiry you wouldn’t ignore it, so why ignore a tweet.

Social media is also at the forefront in our daily lives when it comes to finding out about what’s going on in the world. We now usually find out the breaking news stories from what’s trending on Twitter rather than on the TV or in the newspaper. This has made us more knowledgeable about the latest current affairs and trends something which we probably weren’t as in tune with if we watched the six o’clock news or picked up the local paper.

So it’s not an underestimation to say social media plays a huge part in our daily lives, and as more networks develop this trend is only going to grow more!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment! For more social media news please follow this blog or me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

Twitter Intensifies its Rivalry with New Features

Twitter recently announced plans to introduce a few new features for its users to increase the usability and interface of the social networking site. These new features include group messages when sending Direct Messages and the ability to capture, edit and share video content that’s up to 30 seconds in length. So what do these enhanced features mean for Twitters user base and their rivalry with other social networks.

Now being able to send messages to a group of people means Twitter is competing more against other established apps such as Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp. One of drawbacks of Twitter was that their Direct Messaging system wasn’t that useful and was really there just as other social networks have it and because people might use it. I personally don’t really utilise the Direct Messaging feature on Twitter as there are so many other uses like Retweeting, Favouriting and discovering trends that I use it for. For brands having this new update could save them a lot of time when contacting users to tell them something such as they’ve won a prize. Twitter has always been behind when it comes to messaging but now as they’ve placed greater emphasis on it, their competition against the other networks might increase, and see Direct Messages being used more.

Twitter’s new video feature for me is one of the best things they’ve done for some time as it was frustrating recording a video then not being able to upload it onto the network. If you wanted to upload a video to Twitter you’d have to do it via their app Vine, from YouTube or another video streaming site such as Vimeo. But now users can record them, edit to a desired length, then share to their audience. This is a great move for brands who can add more creativity to their content and not feel restricted to just status updates with words or images. Vine is a wonderful tool for 6 second videos on loop, but now being able to record 30 second ones means more can be put into it and edited to something that’s of a higher quality…rather than a rush. The engagement rates for brands will also increase due to the improved content quality and variety in posting, something which us social media people love to monitor. For the rivalry of Twitter this is an essential feature due to Facebook and Instagram now both allowing autoplaying videos, so this feature has never been so crucial for them.

Both these new updates for Twitter illustrate that the social network has got some good plans to keep its competitive edge on the other networks out there, which is needed having recently seen Instagram having more active users than it. For me Twitter has been quite lazy recently as they don’t seem to be evolving as much as other social networks. You look at Instagram for example, they’ve introduced many new features, as have Facebook and Snapchat, but Twitter does seem to be quite reactive. Looking at Twitter now and a year ago, there’s not many changes in terms of functionality. The interface has changed a lot, but the new features are the first for some time.

So the new features Twitter has installed have been a welcome change to users and marketers a like. Let’s hope this is the start of many.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow this blog and me on Twitter @DigitalStuart for more social media and digital marketing news and views.

Like or Dislike the Idea of a New button on Facebook

After much speculation and public demand, Mark Zuckerberg recently suggested that he’s considered putting a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook in addition to the standard Like button. But this was merely a consideration, not something that would be installed anytime soon as Facebook tries to add more emotion to its posts.

I think a Dislike button isn’t a great idea due to the potential berating it could give Facebook users. Consider for a minute. I’ve updated a lovely photo of the London skyline, and bang! Someone clicks Dislike. I immediately feel depressed and sad that someone doesn’t like by post. So a Dislike button in this context is a nightmare! Although the other side of it is if you do update your status with a sad post such as a family member passing away, people would engage with that. There’s nothing more awkward that Liking a sad and emotional status!

So Facebook wants to add more emotions to their posts. Maybe it could be like a questionnaire answer template. ‘Like A lot’, ‘Like’, ‘Moderately Like’, ‘Moderately Dislike’, ‘Dislike’, ‘Dislike A lot’. Or maybe I want to indicate that I’ve ‘Laughed’ at your status or ‘Felt Sad’. Whatever the type of engagement you get it’ll be quite complicated with so many emotional options, but at the same time gives the user more freedom over engaging with status’, rather than just to Comment, Like or Share.

It appears that Facebook is in the early stages of this new engagement approach, but this could be the next big change for the social network.

Many thanks for reading and please feel free to share your comments. To keep up to date with the digital marketing industry please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart, or click Follow on this blog.

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Promotion

Well grab the tissues, as it’s the final instalment of why the marketing mix applies to the digital world, and today we’re looking at ‘Promotion’!.

So what does ‘Promotion’ mean when we think of it in digital terms? Well it’s how you can use digital channels to inform, create awareness and persuade an audience to buy your products or services.

Out of all the ‘Ps’, Promotion is by far the broadest and most diverse, as when you think about it, the whole digital marketing landscape is based on promotional elements, whether that’s Search, Social Media or Banner ads. Here’s an overview of all those channels.

Websites

  • Found on the internet, a website contains webpages on information on what a brand sells or offers . To explain this a website has certain design elements and includes text, images and or videos to portray this. Website analytics can be used to monitor activity on it

Search Marketing

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): The natural search results in a search engine. The results will appear in a set ranking depending on keywords
  • PPC (Pay Per Click): The paid listings that normally appear directly under the search bar, or to the right of the screen. The ranking of these is based on how much you pay for keywords

Advertising 

  • Banner Ads: Adverts containing rich media, either an image or video, that appear on a webpage. These ads might be interactive or a still image. Clicking on them will take the user to another website related to that ad or to a call to action
  • Affiliate Marketing: A customer sees an advert for an Apple iPad (Merchant) on The Guardian’s website (Publisher) – If the customer clicks on the ad and goes onto to purchase the iPad, the publisher receives a commission on that sale

Public Relations

  • Public Relations: Managing a brands awareness, understanding and reputation through influencing how they are exposed in the media
  • Online PR: Trying to maximise favourable mentions or opinions of your company, brand, products or website on a third-party website

Viral Marketing

  • Online word of mouth (WOM) usually in the form of a video, image, website or link that is fun, creative or entertaining and is sent amongst people

Email Marketing

  • A form of direct marketing where an email is sent to a recipients inbox. The email might be received either as a promotional tool or after signing up to a newsletter

Three types of emails

  • Outbound Email Marketing: Email campaigns are sent out by companies to customers or prospects as direct marketing to encourage purchase or to build an engaging relationship
  • Permission based Email/Opt In: Customers or prospects have given permission to receive email marketing messages, so it’s not seen as cold emails or SPAM
  • Inbound Email Marketing: Where a company manages the emails that customers send to them enquiring about products or services –e.g. customer service, care, support or help

Social Media

  • A network or community where users interact with one another by creating, sharing and exchanging ideas and content
  • Blog: An online diary created by an individual to communicate with an audience their views or opinions…like this one!

Mobile

  • Mobile Ads: Banner adverts that include images or videos that appear on a mobile screen

For a greater in-depth discussion on Mobile, please read The Mobile Marketing Mix (nice cross-blog promotion there!)

Wow, that’s a lot of digital promotional tools! But each one of these techniques has opened up many channels and avenues that brands can use to promote their offering. They all have the ability to generate traffic to the website, relevant calls to action and most importantly, a purchase!

So, alas, that’s it. We’ve delved into the traditional marketing mix, and seen how it has definitely got a place in this dynamic digital world. It’ll be interesting to see how digital adapts and develops over the next few years and how the marketing mix is further expanded.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please follow my blog or my Twitter account @DigitalStuart.

Here’s a full list of all four ‘Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World’ blogs for your enjoyment.

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Product

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Price

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Place

The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Promotion

Did you say Paperclip…no I said Pay Per Click

When you hear the words ‘Pay Per Click’, you may think the person is saying ‘Paperclip’, however, they are surprisingly different. See a Paperclip is something which holds paper…whereas Pay Per Click is a search marketing term. This blog is going to get a camera and take a quick Digital Snapshot of what PPC is.

PPC is when a company pays for ads to be displayed in the results of a search engine in relation to keywords which have been entered by the user.

So why’s it called Pay Per Click? It’s called this as the advertiser only pays for the ad when it’s clicked on. So if no one clicks on it, then there’s no charge.

The PPC ads are the friendly advertisements that you typically see on the right hand side or directly below your search engine in the paid listings part of the page next to and above the organic/natural search.

The position of the ad within the search results is based on how much the advertiser has bid, so the more you bid, the greater the chance you have of being higher up in the search results. The bids are placed on keywords. So the key is to unlock those keywords! For instance, if you sold expensive watches, you could bid for keywords such as ‘watch’, ‘watches’, ‘expensive watch’, ‘luxury watches’…and so on.

You can also use ‘Negative Keywords’, which are words which when searched for you don’t want your ad to appear in. These could be ‘cheap watches’, ‘low priced watches’…and so on.

This makes PPC a highly targeted marketing tool, as the advertiser knows that when their ad appears, the user is in their target audience and could potentially purchase.

The actual PPC ad might be a text description accompanied by a picture and a link to that offering. So these prominent calls to action entice the user to click on the ad.

One of the best ways to manage a PPC campaign could be to use a helpful program called Google Adwords which enables you to bid on keyowrds in order to lock them down, create the actual ad, track the analytics and use reports on how the ads are performing.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of PPC.

Advantages

The advertiser doesn’t pay unless the ad is clicked on

Highly targeted approach through the use of keywords – Improves the chances of a sale or lead

Have a rough idea of where you’ll rank in the search engine in accordance to how much you have bid

PPC ads can be displayed quickly, rather than SEO results which take longer for the pages to be indexed by spiders/robots

Simpler than SEO as your rank is based on a bid amount – Whereas SEO requires re-structuring pages

PPC can be used as a branding tool

Can calculate ROI for each keyword and a campaign

Manage a campaign effectively via programs like Google Adwords

Disadvantages

PPC ads aren’t trusted as much as they are seen as advertising

The bidding process could see a lot being paid for keywords which could make it an expensive campaign tool

PPC campaigns require expertise and knowledge in areas such as the bidding process, keyword selection and managing the entire campaign

To remain competitive and ensure that a high ranking is kept it can be time consuming to manage a PPC campaign in-house

Unethical actions could occur from users or competitors constantly clicking the PPC ad so that you keep paying for the ad (though after a while the search engine will register this and the advertiser won’t be charged)

And that’s PPC!

So just for fun, here are some advantages and disadvantages of Paperclips.

Advantages

Keeps paper together so you don’t lose it

Some paperclips have a solid metal structure to keep paper positioned well

They come in different colours and sizes to accommodate colour preferences and the size of the paper

You can make a paperclip chain from many paperclips which can be used for a necklace or just for fun

Disadvantages

They can be quite sharp, and you might get injured from them

You can be restricted to the amount of paper it can hold

….and here’s the worlds most famous paperclip…Clippit!!!

Clippy

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime please feel free to comment on the post. You can also follow me on Twitter @digitalstuart, or follow this blog via the button on the right hand side. Thanks for reading!

Stuart

Can you Notify me if Twitter needs Notifications

For my first real blog post I thought I’d start with a small topic.

So I was just thinking about social media earlier this evening, as you do, and it suddenly occurred to me that Twitter doesn’t have a notifications feature on their website. I mean there might be one… but I haven’t seen it yet! They have a notifications feature on their app, so when someone mentions or follows you, a notification pops up. However, unlike with Facebook and LinkedIn, who both have a small red notification icon, Twitter doesn’t seem to adopt this on their main site.

This feature has always been prevalent on Facebook, as this is where the notion of the notification came from. LinkedIn didn’t have this feature until recently when they introduced the ‘Flag’ notification icon. This is a red icon indicating the number of notifications you have, possibly when someone has looked at your profile. This new feature on LinkedIn has been very handy, and overdue.

Twitter would benefit I feel with introducing such a feature, as whenever you’re on the main site there isn’t really anyway of getting a notification if someone has mentioned, retweeted or followed you. There is that small blue circle on your inbox which indicates a direct message, but who reads them…?!

The typical way to find out about a Twitter notification is that you receive the update on your phone or email first before realising it on the website page. Obviously, you could download a social media dashboard or management tool such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite or Twitterfall, and get these notifications appearing on your screen, or just keep up to date on your mobile and email, but surely something as simple as a small notification feature is an important ingredient Twitter is missing?.

Of course there is an argument to suggest that this feature isn’t really needed on Twitter as they’ve never created it, like the chat service isn’t really applicable…but if you have a notification feature for the app and on some other platforms, it wouldn’t hurt having it to improve the users experience.

Anyway, accessing Twitter’s website is still common for most people, so just a small icon could be of use to us in order to reply to those very important tweets that we write about what we had for dinner, or where we are…

So if I was a TV programme, stay tuned for more digital posts and thoughts which I’ll be delivering to you.

In the meantime if you agree or disagree or just want to discuss something, please feel free to comment on the post. You can also follow me on Twitter @digitalstuart, or follow this blog via the button on the right hand side. Woooo thanks!

Stuart