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Curate Bee Digital CEO Sandra D’Souza Named Finalist in the Social Media Marketing Awards

We’re pleased to announce that Curate Bee Digital CEO and Founder, Sandra D’Souza, has been selected as one of the possible winners in the upcoming Social Media Marketing Awards (SMMA). Sandra has been named as a finalist in the Best Social Good Award category which recognises the best social media campaign for a not-for-profit organisation. This is definite proof of her skills and dedication in using digital marketing to help organisations—both for-profit and not-for-profit—meet their marketing goals.

Presented annually by the Social Media Marketing Institute, the SMMAs honours and recognises individuals, teams, agencies, and organisations for excellence and key achievements in social media marketing. It is also a way to encourage more people and businesses to use social media marketing and promote its best practices. The winners will be announced during the 2018 Gala Awards Dinner which will take place on 16 August inside the classy Rydges World Square in Sydney—a night dedicated to celebrating social media marketing’s top performers and their contributions in improving the industry.

About the CEO and Curate Bee Digital

Sandra D’Souza is an entrepreneur who has years’ worth of experience and expertise in using digital marketing and its various forms for business. She is also a published author, Technology Advisor, Public Speaker, and an active advocate of women’s rights and empowerment.

Founded in 2012 by Sandra D’Souza, Curate Bee Digital is a digital marketing agency which aims to help businesses, especially SMEs, gain an outstanding online presence through the strategic use of the internet and digital tools and platforms. If you want to know more or need help when it comes to your business’ digital marketing efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Being human in social media marketing

Why You Should Still Be Human in Social Media Marketing

Most of social media marketing these days is about two things: tools and tactics. But whatever happened to the “social” dimension of social media networks?

While everyone is busy debating the takeover and benefits of artificial intelligence and its incorporation into marketing automation, a potential negative effect of these tools and tactics still lingers: the loss of the “human” voice—the quality and authenticity of human interaction.

After all, isn’t that what social media networks are supposed to be all about?

There’s a greater reason for businesses to pay attention to the power of being human in social media. Social networking done right allows brands to grow their presence online and leverage interaction to have a robust and engaged group of people who actually purchases their goods or services.

Human interaction, supplemented by new technologies, is still key to brand building using social media. One only has to look at the social media landscape littered with big brands to realise that while automating content and interactions might be useful, not having a human voice could lead to inevitable snafus.

As an antidote to the drawbacks of setting automated communications, here are the reasons why human-powered interactions make for a better overall experience in social media marketing.

Authentic Relationship-Building

Small and medium-sized businesses that use social media for marketing purposes sometimes miss out on a major opportunity: the chance to build relationships. In other words, their extreme focus on the marketing aspect occurs to the detriment of everything else, especially business-to-customer relationships.

Why does relationship-building matter so much? Because it’s all part of the customer experience, and customer experience can have a make-or-break impact on the bottom line. Consider these statistics:

  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re being treated.
  • Australian businesses lose, on average, $720 per buyer because of poor customer experience.
  • Customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020.
  • 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact centres as a competitive differentiator.

And in a world where omni-channel purchases and marketing are starting to become the norm, digital aspects of businesses and customer experience occur at multiple touchpoints. When businesses use social media to build relationships with their customers, they can address complaints, comments, and issues as they arise.

Customer loyalty is directly related to customer engagement. Engaged customers are five times more likely to buy only from the same brand in the future. If businesses fail to employ human interaction in addressing negative reviews or feedback, they risk tarnishing customer loyalty and brand impression.

Personalised Communication

Speaking of omni-channel marketing, advanced features that are part of CRMs and marketing automation software give marketers the data and the tools to tailor personalised offers based on past purchases and various behaviours such as clicking through emails and ads. Human interaction on social media allows a sense of face-to-face communication that encourages or coaches a customer to take the next step and actually act on these personalised offers.

If a business has a real individual, for example, speaking to a specific customer and not only presents the personalised offer but then offers to be available to speak further and answer questions, up a line of communication is opened where the customer feels both valued and courted.

The data and insights that marketing automation software gives marketers may be the initialising catalyst, but it’s the undeniable human touch that seals the deal, converts, and closes the purchase.

Emotional Intelligence

Online bots, when they first started out, were low-level programmable responders and were prone to error, often producing out-of-context responses that were likely to turn off customers. But AI is giving marketers the promise of smarter learning and deeper insights so that responses can be mimicked in a more organic way.

While AI is still in the early stages of adoption, it does point the way to a truly streamlined and simplified scheduling of social content. However, it still lacks a core human skill: Emotional intelligence.

The truth is that while social media marketing platforms can do impressive things such as customer response analysis, data collection, and even present decision-makers with options, human emotional intelligence is going to be what casts the final decision in stone.

And when it comes to human interaction and responses on social media, emotional intelligence is the secret sauce that allows the individuals behind a business to actually assess the merits of that incoming data, communicate effectively, and change market behaviour.

Better Audience Insights

Ask a woman who has to commute every day what the true issues of a city’s transit system are. Ask a marketer who spends time speaking and reaching out to specific audience members, one by one, person by person, email by email, following up with comment after comment, what the pain points of that communication are.

Tracking email opens, using tagging for smart segmentation and other direct response and conversion tactics such as tracking reviews, retargeting, and performing voice-of-customer research has positives.

But a marketer who has had to spend time “in the trenches,” and actually interact with customers, listening and then actively responding to their feedback is able to cultivate an almost intuitive understanding of what they need. This translates to understanding and using and knowing precisely which words, actions, and content will help turn engaged audience members into buyers.

Brand Loyalty

These keys to human interaction in social media all work together in a seamless process that triggers long-term brand loyalty. It takes, on average, seven interactions for a customer to even become aware of your brand or business, let alone specific marketing messages. This “Rule of Seven,” is a process that can be further empowered by human interaction.

Yes, the positives to be gained are a value-added experience for customers and a sense that their issues and feedback matter to the business. But, when combined, these four benefits of human interaction also spur brand loyalty, which is integral to a customer’s perception of the brand, choice of purchase, and future behaviour.

Businesses might protest that social media and brand-building efforts are simply moving too fast to populate all the time with new content and still find the time and manpower required to provide consistent responses and interactions. But this is simply a lazy response that reflects a misunderstanding of social media in general.

Firstly, brands don’t necessarily need to be generating new content all the time. In fact, they can build active relationships with other brands and re-share content. There are other tactics such as repurposing and refreshing old content, running contest with strategic partnerships, and influencer marketing they can rely on.

Secondly, brands and businesses with lean teams can always opt to delegate or work with digital marketing agencies. Content marketing can be a well-oiled machine with the right strategy and focus behind it.

The bottom line is, if there’s a will, there’s a way. And the way forward that still works best for brands in terms of social media is human-powered, customer-centric, and also open to new technologies for support.

This article originally came out on Smallville.com.au

What Kind of Digital Content Should You Focus On?

What Kind of Content Should You Focus on in Digital Marketing?

When it comes to digital marketing, the kind of content you deliver or promote could be the difference between success and failure. As such, knowing what kind of digital content your business should focus on is important.

There is a whole score of different kinds of digital content, from blog posts and podcasts to videos and newsletters. What makes things more confusing is the fact that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” here. So, how do you determine the right kind of digital content your business should focus on in terms of digital marketing? The answer lies in how you tackle the questions below.

What are Your Objectives?

Establishing your objectives is a key part of the foundation for your digital marketing strategy. Think about your initial business plan, your short-term and long-term goals, and what you ultimately want to achieve through your digital marketing efforts. These goals or objectives can come in a variety of forms, from building brand awareness and lead generation to increasing website traffic and thought leadership.

For example, if you want to build brand awareness, you might call on a variety of content formats strategically linked to each other. These may include an e-book or video training series as a lead magnet, a blog post linking to a landing page promoted through Facebook, or an Instagram post featuring your top products in a paid promotion with an influencer. If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, well-written and insightful blogs will help spread the word that your brand is authentic and should be trusted.

Where Can You Find Your Competitors?

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. When trying to figure out which content type works best with your audience in terms of engagement or which one might be the most effective in reaching your goals, you could also take a look at your competitors.

This strategy is particularly useful because it can help you get started with posting several types of content consistently before you have any data on which is performing well. Once you can test and measure, you can improve, adjust, and tailor your content accordingly.

Take the time to do some research on your competitors’ content and strategy to get a sense of where their efforts are paying off. Which platforms are they using? Are they getting plenty of traffic, clicks, views, and shares? While this may seem like you’re out to copy them, you’re simply analysing the situation and finding ways to better market your brand. They are your competitors after all—there will be similarities between your businesses and what works for them might work for you, too. Remember that no one has a monopoly when it comes to using any digital platform.

What about Audience Feedback?

Speaking of tailored content, you also need to focus your efforts on answering this question. Think about how your audience is reacting to the content you push—their feedback, aside from stats, is a key indicator of whether or not your strategy is working.

As such, it’s important to constantly communicate with them to know their reactions towards your content. You should have a feedback plan in place, such as activating the comments option in your blogs or monitoring the comments on your social media posts. Analyse the feedback you’re getting. Are they liking what you’re posting? Have you received any negative replies or comments? Even having no reactions is a form of feedback in itself—it could be that they find your content uninteresting so they just don’t bother interacting with it. By analysing feedback, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to adjust in your content strategy to make it more successful.

Where is the Engagement Happening?

Take a look at your ROI. As you prune your content and the “right types” are revealed to you through a combination of user interaction, sharing, comments, and clicks, you’ll want to fine-tune your content production strategy and refine your advertising funnel.

For example, if you’ve decided that click-throughs are a meaningful KPI, and you notice that your blog posts are getting clicks and that readers are spending time on specific sections, adjust your strategy to focus more on this type of content. Then, spend more time and resources creating and reposting it, as needed.

Failing to focus on the right kind of content leads to time, effort, and money being wasted, loss of followers on social media and negative brand impression (if you continually produce bad content), and missed opportunities. Failure can take the form of reduced website traffic, a lack of engagement on social media, or a lack of ideas over what types of content to produce, resulting in dull or simply irrelevant content (which further dilutes the credibility of your brand).

On the other hand, using the right kind of content produces results that are more precise, highly targeted, and a proper investment of time, resources, and creativity. From a marketing perspective, this leads to positives such as gaining more online visibility, building a stronger online presence, reaching a wider audience, and converting more people from mere viewers to customers. In a survey of annual trends by the Content Marketing Institute, 62% of SMEs say that website traffic is their measurement criteria for success. This means that increased website traffic is not just a positive consequence but also an intended target for SMEs.

Last but definitely not the least, the right content helps you form a stronger relationship with your audience which you can use to enhance brand loyalty, increase leads and conversions, and even increase your customer base (through positive feedback).

So, there, now you know why it’s not enough to simply churn out content—you must know the right kind of content you must produce as well. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on these benefits, something that no business big or small definitely wants to happen.

Are You Using the Right Social Media Platform for Marketing Your Business?

Are You Using the Right Social Media Platform for Marketing Your Business?

In this day and age of digital dependence and online connectivity, consumer decision-making has become profoundly impacted by peers communicating with each other through social media.

Needless to say, if you want to grow your company and survive the competition, you need a strong digital presence—and no digital presence can be complete without effective social media marketing.

So, What Is Social Media Marketing?

A social media platform is any online site that allows collaboration, communication, and interaction among members of its community, and doing these to promote a brand, products, or services is called social media marketing. You can do social media marketing through posting photos, videos, links to articles, posting your own content, and direct communications to customers and followers on one (or more) of these platforms. This allows your current and potential customers to engage with you in a more “social” and interactive manner online.

Social media marketing also provides a space for your customers to interact with each other and with your brand when it comes to product feedback and customer service issues. With the number of people online today, social media marketing allows businesses to reach a much wider audience compared to traditional forms of marketing.

A great social media marketing plan is a critical success factor for any successful and complete digital marketing strategy. No matter what industry your business is in, social media marketing can help you increase your reach, improve customer communications and loyalty, and even reach new markets. Companies in different industries, from technology and retail to fashion and professional services, have already recognised the significant benefits of adopting it.

How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform

Choosing the right social media platform to market on is at the core of a successful social media marketing strategy. However, making the right choice can be challenging and confusing—did you know that there are over 60 different social media sites in existence?

Just as you need to target a specific customer demographic, you need to target a specific social media platform as well. For a successful social media marketing plan, you need to be using the right social media sites for your industry, business, and target market.

Study Your Options

Depending on your marketing needs, target market, and goals, among others, you may prefer one social media platform over the other. Before deciding though, it’s important to familiarise yourself with at least a few. Some of the more well-known and popular social media sites today include…

Define Your Target Market

When choosing which social media platform you’ll use, it’s important to first have a clear definition of your ideal customer or target market. You need to have a general idea of who they are, their online habits/preferences, what they’re looking for, what they like, and other details such as age and demographics, among others.

Knowing your target market gives you a better idea of which social media platforms you should focus on. For example, if you want to market to young food lovers who usually engage with posts containing stunning gastronomic visuals, you might want to consider both Facebook and Instagram over, say, LinkedIn. On the other hand, if you’re after business professionals, LinkedIn will be your priority. In other words, knowing your target market better lets you avoid wasting time, energy, and resources on social media platforms that don’t quite fit your target market.

Know Your Goals and What You Want to Offer

It’s not enough that you know your target market. You should know what you want to offer and define your marketing goals as well. Doing so allows you to pinpoint which social media sites will be really useful. For example, if you’re a clothing company that wants to market a new line of shirts and dresses to millennials, Facebook and Instagram are obvious choices. On the other hand, Twitter might not be that effective as it’s not really that focused on visual content compared to the other two.

If you’re a car care company that wants to establish itself as an expert in its field, YouTube should be part of your strategy. Through video tutorials on how to, say, care for your car’s paint, you’ll be able to attract more views and spread the word about your products or services as well as give the impression that you’re an authentic, trustworthy company composed of experts who really know what they’re doing.

Now, if you’re after B2B marketing, LinkedIn is a good choice to connect with other businesses that can become partners or potential customers. Through posting excellent content such as blogs and podcasts, Facebook and LinkedIn can also help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Don’t Forget to Evolve

Choosing the right social media platform is an important step towards a successful digital marketing strategy. However, it doesn’t end there. As you go along with your business, your target market, marketing goals, even your products or services may change. Likewise, with how technologies and online habits evolve, the different social media platforms may also change in terms of how they reach the market, the content they can effectively carry and promote, and their users.

As such, it’s important to not settle and constantly study, analyse, and assess not just your online marketing campaigns but also the whole social media scene. Doing so enables you to have a proactive approach in changing your strategies, possibly giving you an edge over the competition.

Best Practices for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Best Practices for an Effective Digital Marketing Strategy

Marketing moves fast. And, with the internet and advances in technology, it’s moving faster than ever.

This is a crucial truth today’s businesses should take seriously—being left behind is no longer an option. Digital marketing opens new ways and avenues for brands to reach and engage their target markets better. It also levels the marketing playing field, so much so that SMEs can compete with the big boys in their field.

However, it’s not nearly enough to simply have a working website and post updates occasionally on your social media pages. You have to be strategic, fast, and efficient, and here are five ways to help you be just that.

1. Don’t Ignore Mobile Devices

Accoding to eMarketer, mobile devices will make up 72% of digital ad spend by 2019. This gives us an idea of just how important mobile marketing has become for businesses. Failing to realise this point puts you in a disadvantage. Your competitors are most probably already doing digital marketing on smartphones and tablets and enjoying the rewards, so why shouldn’t you?

It’s now a need and not just an option to make your digital marketing efforts mobile-friendly. This includes doing things such as making your website, online ads, and content easily viewable and accessible through mobile devices. Ads, websites, and other forms of content that render badly on mobile devices not only mean lost views and visits (and, possibly, lost leads and conversions), it’s also a big blow to your digital reputation.

Also, remember that people generally have short attention spans online. For example, if your website doesn’t load nicely or fast on mobile, chances are they’ll simply go to your competitors’ page. That said, they’ll also remember that your online portal isn’t mobile-friendly, which means they might avoid it entirely when they’re on their smartphones in the future.

2. Make it Data-driven and Customer-centric

Data-driven sales pages used to mean A/B testing, tracking through Google Analytics, and using heat maps to redefine the online browsing experience.

These are all still true. But being data-driven has come to mean much more than this. It now includes harnessing Big Data, for example, to gain customer insights across the buyer’s journey or to predict purchasing behaviours and using these to create personalised offers which you promote through digital marketing. Data-driven online marketing copy also involves research across multiple channels, tracking how and why online marketing materials and messages in, say, an Amazon review are effective.

In a nutshell, this means that using data to find out what your target market wants in terms of products/services, customer journey and experience, and after-sales service is now a key step that will boost your digital marketing campaigns. Behind the shift to data-driven decisions is a desire for businesses to keep their customers at the very core of marketing initiatives.

3. Email Click Rates are not Down—You’re Just Doing It Wrong

Email marketing company MailChimp recently found that segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher compared to non-segmented ones. This is proof that proper email list building remains the single best way to monetise emails for SMEs looking to scale their operations, regardless of industry. What people truly mean when they say things such as “email open rates are down” is that there needs to be an improvement in email tactics. What used to work may no longer be viable.

On the content side of things, the way you title your emails is also a great way to improve email stats. For starters, coming up with the right title, one that elicits a reaction or attracts attention, should encourage more people to open your email compared to those with titles that are too boring or feels like it’s been automated.

It’s also important to encourage interaction and follow-up. For example, consumer credit reporting agency Experian PLC reports that “E-Commerce customers who receive multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4x more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one follow-up email.” These are the kinds of interactions that SMEs should be looking to capitalise on in email marketing.

4. Harness the Experiential Factor for Live Events

Social media marketing advice should include using the “live” aspects of various social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. With today’s mobile devices and with social media becoming more and more useful for marketing and advertising, taking advantage of live events is a step in the right digital marketing direction

Many brands and businesses are now employing live events, from simple Q&A sessions and podcasts to big time concerts and forums. This presents an opportunity to engage your audience in a unique way and promote your brand online. By banking on the experiential appeal of these live events, you’ll be able to stand out and become more visible in the online space.

Experiential marketing is on the rise, especially in markets that feature an increasing number of millennials. Why does this matter? Because millennials and their descendants have mostly grown up with social. They’ve already “seen it all” and they’ll be more likely to take notice of experimental events or unique marketing efforts that seamlessly blend into their online experience.

5. Experiment with Different Content Types

Much like choosing which tool to fix, say, your broken roof, businesses should also determine which type of content works best for them. This may mean experimenting with the different types, from blogs and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The trick here is to study what your market may be more interested in and what your business offers and aims for. For example, if you’re a company that sells hardware for home design or renovation, you may want to write featured blogs that offer evergreen content on things such as how to properly upgrade your house’s flooring or ceiling. You could also create how-to videos on related topics. You can then include branding and promote your products in these blogs and videos (but don’t hard-sell so the focus is still on what you can give to your audience).

The idea here is to find the balance between what your audience wants more and what your brand needs. Remember that some types of content won’t work for certain businesses—finding this balance is key to being more efficient and cost-effective and avoiding wasted effort and resources in your content marketing efforts.

The thing with digital marketing is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. If you want to keep up, we recommend partnering with an expert. Here at Curate Bee, we’re more than willing to help you enhance your digital marketing efforts and make things easier for you. We offer different products and services, from social media management and online ads to content creation and marketing, that will put your company on the map, and build for you a solid online presence that will result in more leads and conversions. Contact us today and know how we can make digital marketing work wonders for you.