Need More Business Leads? Social Media to the Rescue!

Need More Business Leads? Social Media to the Rescue!

As we all know, one of the keys to business success is increasing the number of leads you’re generating. Many business owners don’t instantly think of social media as a tool for lead generation. However, when utilised strategically and correctly, it could increase the revenue of your business by as much as…

We know we have your attention now so read on to see how!

But First, What is Social Media?

We are all aware of social media, and most of us use it. It is any app, digital platform, or website that allows users to connect with other people and interact with the content other users share online. This is generally known as ‘social networking’.

Aside from being used to connect with friends, social media is increasingly being used by businesses to generate and increase audience engagement and brand awareness, as well as cultivate new leads and sell products. After all, 2.34 billion people worldwide now have at least one social media profile. That’s an audience worth tapping into, but if you want to use social media successfully to grow your business, you have to know how to do it right.

Key Advice for using Social Media to Gain More Business Leads

1. Know your target audience

Many digital marketers make the mistake of sharing the same content across a variety of social networks and online audiences. This is a mistake because each social media platform attracts a different demographic, and they interact very differently with the platforms they choose. If you want to get the most out of your social media marketing, you have to know whom you’re hoping to target and use the appropriate platforms.

Here are a few details which can help you out:

  • Facebook is the most popular social network overall, with 83% of online women and 75% of online men having Facebook profiles. The ages of Facebook users typically range from teenagers to those over 70, so it’s good for attracting a wide demographic.
  • Instagram is the fastest growing social network. It appeals more to younger people, 90% of its users are aged under 35.
  • LinkedIn is mostly used by professionals who have more spending power than those who use other social networks. As it is more about business connections rather than personal ones, it’s a primary choice for digital B2B marketing.

There’s no reason why your business shouldn’t use a variety of social media platforms, but you should make sure you research the audiences of each one first and adjust your content accordingly for maximum appeal and reach. Doing so also gives you a better idea of which social media platforms fit your marketing targets and ideals and those that don’t.

2. Post interesting and relevant content

It’s not enough just to have profiles on various social media platforms; you should also be able to build brand awareness through them. This means attracting more followers. This will start to happen organically if you share content that people are interested in – the more people ‘like’ and ‘share’ your content, the more chances their contacts become aware of your brand and be interested in it themselves. 92% of buyers trust products and services that are recommended by their friends and family. Social media works in a similar way. If someone’s friends are talking about your business, he or she is more likely to follow your brand wanting, at the very least, to know what the fuss is all about.

3. Interact with your followers

One of the main advantages of social media is that it allows your audience to engage you and your business without having to be present physically. This can work for you if you also exert effort to interact with them, doing things like taking part in discussions in the comment section of your blogs or social media pages and replying to direct messages frequently. This will make your business seem approachable, relatable, and friendly, and will make your audience feel more involved with what you do.

If you’re consistent, they’ll be more encouraged to interact with your brand on social media, increasing your chances of promoting your brand further, resulting in more leads, knowing what they like or dislike about your business (insights which you can use to improve your products, services or business processes), or even making a sale.

4. Optimise and share for mobile

There are currently 1.65 billion active mobile social media accounts, and this number is growing by a staggering 1 million per day. As such, it’s important that all your content is optimised for mobile devices. This also offers opportunities if you tend to generate a lot of local business. As your audience will be accessing their social media accounts while they’re out and about through their phones or tablets, offering special local promotions or discount codes, for example, will attract them to your business.

Sharing content that’s both mobile and desktop friendly on social media also increases your brand’s visibility, ensuring that what you put out there will be seen or heard by more people. Ignoring mobile in your social media and content efforts, however, is a big no-no. For example, a visual, ad, or graphic that renders badly on mobile will reflect negatively on your brand’s reputation, especially if it happens frequently.

5. Use video

Video is essential as part of your social media marketing strategy. It is expected to account for over 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Also, videos are shared much more than other types of content. Video gives you the opportunity to create narratives around your brand, engaging your audience by involving them in a story that evokes emotion, without being too promotional.

A couple of facts to convince you that video should be an integral part of your social media efforts:

  • Social media sites like Facebook give more prominence to video compared to other types of content.
  • YouTube reaches more viewers aged 18 to 49 than television, with two million videos viewed every minute!

6. Consider paid advertising

Most social media platforms now offer paid advertising, with a range of options to suit your marketing budget. Social media algorithms favour paid advertising over organic content, so your posts will be seen by a lot more people if you shell out a bit of cash. In fact, almost 60% of social media marketers believe that paid social media advertising is more effective than just having organic posts.

An Australian Social Media Success Story

The success of Pearly Whites, a popular Australian home teeth whitening brand, is attributed directly to its social media marketing strategy. 27-year-old managing director Jake Munday grew the business by 10,000% in just over a year by attracting more than three million followers on social media. He now earns around $40,000 per month.

Jake is not alone in having harnessed the huge potential of social media to make a success of his business. Social media works, and it should be an essential part of your marketing strategy if you’re serious about generating more leads and growing your business.

This post was originally published on Smallville.com.au

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Evergreen Content

“Evergreen content” is a popular buzzword in the online marketing industry. But what is it, really? Put simply, evergreen content is content that still holds its value even after months or even years have passed since it was published. It is not beholden to current trends or topical content; rather, it provides information that will continue to be of interest to readers over time.

Due to their nature, evergreen posts hold great potential in attracting hits from search engines and in generating consistent traffic to your business’ website or blog. However, many businesses, especially those which are digital in nature, are still belittling what evergreen content can bring them in terms of online marketing rewards.

Of course, that shouldn’t be the case—and here are the reasons why you need to include this type of content in your business’ digital marketing arsenal:

Stay at the Top of Search Engine Rankings

Although each search engine’s ranking algorithm is slightly different from the others, one thing that they all have in common is that they love evergreen content. This type of content tends to get more backlinks from other sites and blogs, making it more valuable to the search engines which, in turn, results to them sitting at the top or near the top of many search results. These posts also generate a lot of traffic over time, which also speaks positively to the search engines.

Having a strong search engine ranking is crucial to gaining readers and potential new leads from your online content. Most readers do not go past the first page of search results when looking for information, so you want your site’s content to be right there at the top. This leads to more site visits which, in time, can result to more conversions.

Encourage Social Sharing

Evergreen posts are more likely to be shared on social media, even well after they have been published. While topical posts usually only receive significant amounts of shares in the time immediately after posting, evergreen posts continue to be shared over the long-term. What this means for your business is that your post will have a better chances of reaching new audiences with every share, no matter how long it has been since you published it. This is value that cannot be ignored for your digital marketing efforts.

Boost Site Traffic within Your Blog

On your company’s blog page, you likely have a widget or section in the sidebar that lists your most popular posts (if you don’t, you really should have one). This tool encourages your readers to stay on your site longer and read more of your content, thus solidifying your brand in their brains. Because evergreen content brings in a lot of search traffic, these posts will usually be your most popular. They’ll gain even more traffic by being visible alongside your other content.

Most people only stay on a particular site for a few minutes before navigating to another site. The longer you can keep readers on your site, the better your chances are of turning them into customers. As they have already invested a larger chunk of time reading your material, they will be more inclined to choose your business over your competitors.

Establish Your Authority

Evergreen content provides a great opportunity for your organisation to provide your readers with the background information they need to understand your other content and what your business does or offers, in general. Much of evergreen content is geared towards beginners to a topic, so you have a unique chance here to set your business up in your readers’ minds as an authority in your particular industry. This way, they’ll have confidence that the information you provide is solid and valuable for them.

Topical content is great and often has a chance to go viral, which can be a great boon for your business. However, it does not complete the whole picture. You need evergreen content as well to form the foundation of your business’ content marketing. Without it, you’ll likely only receive large amounts of traffic to your post in the period immediately after you hit the publish button. No new posts equals no new traffic. With evergreen content, on the other hand, you’ll generate consistent traffic as your online readers search for the information you provide.

Get Expert Help with Your Content and Digital Marketing Strategy

If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your online marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of digital marketing agencies. We at Curate Bee have the digital tools and expertise to jumpstart your content marketing efforts and help you gain a truly effective online presence for your business.

Clueless About Social Media Marketing? Here’s What You Need to Know

Social media marketing is a blessing for small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs. It is relatively easy to do and can be very inexpensive, therefore it can help level the playing field for these smaller companies in terms of marketing their brands online.

An SME can have a social media presence that is as effective as a large company’s. But what if you haven’t started yet? Don’t worry—it’s definitely not too late! Here’s everything you need to know about getting started in social media marketing for your business.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media is a sort of catch-all term for various networks that people and businesses use to communicate online. What makes it “social” is the fact that people share information with other people in their networks. If a person communicates with your company on social media, the people in that person’s network will also be able to see your social media presence.

Social media marketing is simply a way to promote your business using the same social media tools. For example, you use Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends and family. You use them in the same way to stay in touch with your customers, promote your brand, and market your products or services.

How Is Social Media Marketing Different from Other Kinds of Marketing?

The difference between social media marketing and other forms of marketing can be summed up in one word: engagement. When you take out an ad in a newspaper or magazine, you’re assuming that a potential customer will see that ad, read it, and seek out your business to make a purchase. The same goes for direct mail, TV, and even billboards. That’s a lot of assumptions!

With social media marketing, you are meeting your prospective customers where they are. They are already on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you are there too, you can get in front of them—and here’s where the magic happens. Once you get in front of them, you can engage them and get them to interact with your brand. They can watch a video about your product, participate in discussions, or view photos which they can then share with those in their networks. This in turn creates more buzz for your business. The more people talking about and sharing what you put on your social media accounts, the better your chances of reaching more people and generating more leads for your business.

Social Media Marketing by the Numbers

The number of people using social media is truly astounding. As of May 2017, Facebook—the biggest social network out there—has 1.94 billion active monthly users. That’s 1.94 billion people who use Facebook at least once every month. It also reaches every demographic, most age brackets, and different income categories. Meanwhile, there are over 5 million businesses which use Instagram to promote their wares. Instagram—or simply IG as millennials like to call it—is a photo-sharing social network, so if your products or services have any visual appeal, it will be useful if you’re on IG as well.

According to updated stats, around 95% of people aged 18-34 follow at least one brand on social media. Also, visual content (photos and videos) are 40 times more likely to be shared on social media compared to other kinds of content. In the land of the little blue bird a.k.a. Twitter, there are currently around 320 million active users worldwide. Back to Facebook, there are around 40 million active small business pages.

So what does all this tell us? Simple: Ignoring social media marketing is basically akin to hiding your brand from lots and lots of people.

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

The biggest advantage of social media marketing is its viral reach. You are engaging with your customers and they are engaging with their network. Essentially, you are turning your customers into ambassadors for your brand. Your products may never come up in face-to-face conversations between friends, but they will come up on social media and people might just share them, potentially growing your business organically.

For example, in February 2016, the total amount of views generated by Facebook videos is an astounding 199 billion. That’s just for one month—imagine if a chunk of that was generated by a video you created for your business. Impressive, yes?

Of course, it also goes without saying that you must be careful with what you post and make sure your products and services are actually good before promoting online. Because, while going viral on social media can really be a big boost for your marketing efforts, it can be destructive for your brand as well. You don’t want word to get out about a major mistake your business made or a sub-par product your company created now, do you?

Setting Yourself Apart

With all the people and businesses using social media, it can get a little crowded. Make sure you set yourself apart from the crowd by bringing your brand to the fore. Your social media accounts should have a common theme and be brand recognisable. You could adopt a social media personality that will draw positive attention to your brand and make it stand out more. Be warned though; you should be consistent with how you set up your social media profiles—confusion is never a good thing!

You could also focus on what makes your business better or your products and services unique. Building on your business’ unique selling proposition will directly communicate what you want to say to your online audience, which is probably something like, “Here we are, check out our products, and see why they’re better than the rest!”

You should also devote time to being active on social media and consistently communicate with those on your business’ social media networks. Remember: the social media world, as a whole, has a very short attention span. If you’re dormant for too long or become uninteresting, your followers will soon forget about your brand.

Getting Started

There’s a lot to learn about social media marketing, so try not to get overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time. You can start with the network you use the most—this will probably be Facebook, although it could be Twitter or even LinkedIn—only this time you must adopt a business approach. This will help familiarise yourself in terms of what needs to be done. It also pays to assess your options and answer key questions. Which social network does your target market visit the most? What kinds of content do they like? What kinds of content should I share?

Admittedly, social media marketing can be a hit-or-miss affair in the beginning but, in time, you’ll be able to get the hang of it and know which social media strategies work best for your brand. However, if you really need to jumpstart things and get useful advice and guidance on social media marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us at Curate Bee. Our busy “bees” will be hard at work in helping you build a social media presence that will do wonders for your business!

Still Don’t Have an Online Profile? Here’s Why It’s a Must for Your Business

Any business that does not yet have an online profile is perhaps not aware of the many benefits that come with it and an accompanying social media strategy. Just look at established companies—the likes of Amazon, Google, Dell, and Microsoft are using their online presence to grow and are experiencing immense success.

These companies were early adopters of the internet and established their brand profile online. They also leverage social media to its maximum, continually sharing interactive and engaging content with their customers. With these big businesses as real life examples, it goes without saying that having an online profile for a business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises or SMEs, is a step into the right direction.

But just in case you need more convincing, read on!

What is an Online Profile?

An online profile is not a single item or piece and is not in only one place, but rather is an amalgamation of pieces that together represent a business’ brand on the internet. The components that comprise an online profile are unique for each enterprise. Some businesses have only a domain and a basic non-interactive website; maybe even just single page on a shared domain. This is the minimal online profile and is likely not particularly effective in terms of marketing online. Others have built a strong presence not only through a dedicated website but also by leaving a digital footprint on social media and other online platforms.

What are the Components of an Effective Online Profile?

An effective online profile will, at the very minimum, include a complete website, with the business profile, contact information, and ideally engaging online content the company wants to share with its customers. Next the SME will want to dip their toe into the interactive social media space using the current popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumbler, etc.). It is wise to participate in a few of these at least, linking them where possible to have a better chance of gaining more followers and interactions.

Developing professional, high quality online content like short videos (leveraging free and paid video sites), the SME can share their content in a manner that engages. Adding further components completes the strategy, with marketing tools like email, newsletters, and a regular blog allowing the SME to tell an ongoing “story” of their business and to help drive views and clicks. With a more complete online profile containing these components, a business can more effectively represent its brand and products/services online.

5 Solid Benefits for an SME of Having an Online Profile

Many businesses are familiar with online profiles but don’t yet see how having one can be a useful tool. The competition online and offline is fierce in nearly every field. According to recent studies there are now 2.1 million small businesses in Australia alone. An online profile is another tool an SME should carry in its competitive tool belt. Below are five reasons why:

Increased sales

An online store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and requires no additional personnel to man (aside from developers on standby, unless live persons are regularly needed for a live chat with customers). This relates more to those in retail; it’s always better to have more options in terms of marketing and selling your products.

Exposure to new global markets and customers

It is now as convenient to buy a product from a large established company in the U.S. as it is to purchase from an SME online in Sydney. Many people prefer the SME for service reasons. Don’t miss that chance to build new client relationships. Having an online profile makes you more visible and easier for potential clients—even those overseas—to know more about your business and your offerings.

More effective and rapid communication with clients

Having an online profile via digital platforms gives you the speed and convenience of electronic communications and feedback, which in turn bolsters the service (and after-service) capability of your business, allowing it to respond more rapidly to clients. And we all know that happy clients are great for business, especially in terms of promotions.

Increased brand awareness

With an effective online profile, an SME will enjoy the ability to reach more clients than by word-of-mouth in the physical world. More awareness equals more brand power, which ultimately translates into more loyal customers and more sales.

A chance to compete with the big guns online

The internet levels the playing field considerably for all businesses. Online, an SME’s website, social media profile, and other components of their online profile has the same opportunity as the largest companies in the world to get the attention of a potential buyer and close that sale. As long as the online profile is executed and managed effectively, it will be able to bring in the same kind of advantages more established companies are currently getting via the internet.

Many Australian SMEs are Already Succeeding with their Online Profiles

All an interested digital marketer looking for proof needs to do is browse the web and he or she will find a plethora of real-world examples of small companies that have made a large impact using their online profile.

One nice example of an Australian SME that enjoyed the benefits of having an online profile is the company Shoes of Prey. A quick read reveals that 10 million pairs of shoes were sold on their website. It is clear from reviewing their website that the business has been working diligently on their online profile, leveraging social media and online tools like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, email, online feedback, and more.

Shoes of Prey’s success tells us that the benefits of having a strong online profile are not reserved for the big companies. Diligence, patience, proper management, and the strategic use of digital tools combined with enthusiasm for what the internet can offer ensures not only having an online profile but having one that’s effective as well.

Convinced now that having a legit online profile is beneficial for your business? If you need help to get started or to strengthen your current online profile, don’t hesitate to contact us. Curate Bee’s hardworking bees will help you use the internet to create a truly awesome and effective online presence for your business.

5 Important Steps to Win with your Evergreen Content

Digital marketers know that evergreen content keeps bringing readers back to your website. Wikipedia pages are a great example of evergreen content—that which remains fresh or relevant, and doesn’t lose appeal with time.

News articles, blogs on current affairs, and quarterly statistical reports are some examples of content that might be popular for a period of time, but are not evergreen. List based content like FAQs and How-to articles for beginners are some that never go out of style and will constantly bring visitors to your website. Let’s look at 5 important steps to win with your evergreen content:

1. Choose your topic, content, and keywords wisely

Choose the topic of your page or article with care, as it’s one of the first things that will catch the attention of your target audience, especially in the search engine results. Once you’ve come up with your title of choice, you can then follow the tips below to ensure that your content is engaging enough to prompt more people to read and share it:

  • The tone of your writing should be conversational and approachable, and should be aimed at the beginner rather than the expert reader.
  • Go into the topic in detail, and this means the length of the article would probably be on the longer side. This piece references top digital marketers like Brian Dean and Neil Patel, who often put out longer articles on topics of their expertise.
  • Add links to other resources when necessary, to ensure that the reader can use your page as a central point of information on the topic.
  • Keywords should never limit the scope of your writing, but it is essential that they be interspersed well within the article. This helps not just in SEO, but also in keeping the attention of the reader.

2. Updating and highlighting is key

Just because evergreen content is meant to stay relevant doesn’t mean you should let it stagnate with time. There may be some new pointers or trends that would be useful to the readers of your article, and you should make sure to update the article with these whenever possible. More frequent updates on your website would also contribute to your SEO ratings.

For the times when there are no updates to a subject, you can find other ways to keep an article highlighted on your blog or website. One way is to add links or tabs on the main page, so that readers could easily access the evergreen content. An FAQ article is a good example of this, as it can almost always be referenced from every page in the website.

3. Share, but be smart about it!

Sharing on social media is an effective way to improve readership of your evergreen content, but this must be done with a strategy in mind. Facebook and Twitter will bring in readers for a short period of time, but attention on these social sites is ephemeral, and your article will not stay in the attention of audience for long. Pinterest and Google+ are platforms that are much friendlier to evergreen content, according to the Content Marketing Institute. It’s also wise to use interesting/catchy or stunning photos (or both!) to capture the attention of users, especially if you’re planning to share the article on social media. Collections on Google+ can be used to gather your evergreen content into sub-topics to make them more accessible.

4. Stay flexible and connect to your audience

We’ve already mentioned that evergreen content is aimed more at beginners than at experts. What are some other ways to connect with your readers?

  • How-to articles could provide a download or print option, to make it easier for DIY-ers to save or print out a page for reference when necessary.
  • Step-by-step tutorials could include photos and infographics for every step, keeping readers more visually engaged with your content.
  • Mobile now represents 65% of digital media time, and this figure is only going to get higher in the next few years. As such, it is essential to keep your pages mobile-friendly.
  • Include “like” and “share” buttons that are easily visible to the reader. This adds to the possibility of social media engagement which in turns contributes more hits for your content.

5. To date or not to date?

Some writers believe that content that stays relevant does not require a date on the article. This makes sense for how-to articles, tutorials, and FAQs, for example. There are many cases of smartly-written evergreen content—including movie reviews and parenting articles—that are constantly searched due to relevant topics and keywords, and will keep coming up in search results, even with an older date attached to them. It is up to you as a brand or a writer/editor to make the call and choose what works for you. Some content experts advise to leave out the date, and add it later depending on feedback from your readers.

As with most websites, evergreen content will not be the only type of SEO content on your site. You would also need to write currently relevant and trending articles to provide a well-rounded experience to your readers. Evergreen content however, will only increase in importance, and if planned and used well, will remain a constant source of traffic to your pages.

Leveling up the customer service experience with Facebook chatbots

Facebook has just made it even easier for its 900 million consumer and business users to connect with each other. Currently, consumers rely on Facebook Pages to learn updates and get in touch with their favorite brands, an opportunity that Facebook saw to introduce an easier way for both sides to interact. And so far, businesses have flocked to try out this latest offering.

The latest from Facebook comes in the form of bots, confirming TechCrunch’s scoop earlier this year that Facebook’s Messenger team has indeed been working to create programs of automated messages. Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook Messenger’s head of product, discussed during one of his interviews that the current state of communication between businesses and consumers online are seemingly highly robotic and the chatbots role is to improve that connection. Before, when chatting with a bot, you would simply be asked basic information whereas now you get more customized messages to help address your need.

Taking the Leap

Among the many businesses that have taken a shot at using Messenger’s latest platform is Dutch airline KLM who soon plans to allow customers to obtain their boarding pass directly through the app. Uber, on the other hand, has already gotten an early start with the service, now allowing customers to order rides via the app, adding greater convenience to its service offering.

An estimated 5,000 Shopify merchants are also distributing order confirmation and shipping alerts using Messenger’s platform. This only goes to show how e-commerce companies are eager to further engage Facebook’s almost one billion users.

What chatbots can do to level up the customer service experience

Using the platform’s new Send/Receive API, chatbots are able to send structured messages that include images, links and even call-to-action buttons. This means people can now perform tasks like make restaurant reservations, purchase tickets and even send flowers to loved ones all on one platform via means of messaging. There will be no payments allowed as of now though for fear of possible hacks and security breaches.

Businesses would also be able to send out sponsored messages ads to people who have started a conversation with their bot. Advertisers have an option of promoting the ‘click to message’ feature on Facebook’s newsfeed to attract target consumers to engage in a conversation with their bot.

Consumers need not worry about the chatbots getting too spammy as just like with ordinary chats with friends, there is also an option to silence notifications from the bot.

Chatbot Analytics on the Way

Alongside the chat feature, Facebook also introduced analytics to see how customers actually respond and engage with these chatbots. Given that the service is fairly new, such insights will help Facebook to continually improve its service and give the best online-customer service experience.

Chatbot analytics will also help programmers see the messages that most people find engaging or which call to action or messaging schedules come across as unappealing. This way, it’s win-win for both consumers and businesses.

The introduction of chatbots has led to many financial experts see Facebook potentially doubling up its revenues in a few years, if it can successfully bridge customers and advertisers using this app. This could lead to Facebook domineering the online market world and changing the way that many businesses manage their customers.

Rethinking Digital Advertising: 5 Outdated Trends You Should Avoid

From the late 1970s to the year 2015, the online world has seen many digital advertising techniques that stayed a few years and fizzled out soon after – these included electronic direct mailers, banner ads, pop-up ads, pop-under ads and lastly, pay-per-click ads. At a time when strategies ebb away before we know it, it’s important that online advertising budgets be allocated wisely.

We give you five out-dated advertising strategies and the reasons why you should stay away from them:

1. Creating mob content

Content for everybody – that pretty much sums up what mob content is. Run a search on Google and you see it. Scroll through your social feeds and you see it there too. Mob content is generalised content that a company creates which does not reach out to any one particular target audience In doing so, a company risks losing the interest of its readers. The only way for a company to stand out is by creating content that caters to the needs of its target audience.

2. Using out-dated platforms

Some platforms that were all the rage in the past have become irrelevant today because they cannot meet the needs of customers. Platforms like Friendster, MySpace, Xanga, del.icio.us, and Digg were once very popular, but have now lost their glory. It is important to be on platforms that are trending now. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, are some of the most popular websites to promote brands. A good strategy lies in being on social platforms that enable you to advertise your brand effectively while offering maximum exposure.

3. Linking URLs that land customers on the homepage

Traditionally, clicking on an advertising URL landed the customer on a brand’s homepage. The visitor had to navigate through the entire site to reach the product-page. People nowadays do not have the patience to navigate through your website upon landing on your homepage. They expect to be taken directly to the page they are interested in. Deep link your URLs to specific web-spaces so that the visitor lands on the product/service page directly, and not on the homepage of your website.  This way, customers need fewer clicks to check out their product.

4. Email bombing

Sending out mass emails will only land you in the spam folder. Companies need to categorise their audience into different demographic groups and send email campaigns to each with customised content (textual, audio and visual) that caters to that specific demography. Connecting on a personal level with customers will forge and sustain the latter’s interest in the brand. This will allow you to reach your customers and not end up in the spam folder.

5. Utilizing banner ads

Consumers today have developed what is called “banner blindness”. They ignore the banner ads, evident from the mere 0.06% click through rate that banner ads have received over the years.  Instead, produce authoritative content to inform the visitor of the product’s usefulness in their life, than to simply bait them with offers. Due to the intrusive nature of banner ads and the effect this has on people’s web experience, brands today cannot rely on this obsolete advertising avenue.

 

A look at the history of advertising shows a distinct pattern – every advertising strategy meets its expiry – there is no perfect advertising method, be it banner ads, push notifications, or pay-per-click ads. Every innovation gains popularity in the beginning, until it reaches a peak, where consumers only see them as distractions. This signals the point where companies need to start exploring new ways of advertising their products and services. When companies continue to follow obsolete forms of advertising, not only do they lose money, but also risk damaging their reputation and lose their existing customer base.

Current trends in digital advertising indicate that social media is an effective advertising platform. However, whether you invest in ads on social media platforms or other online ads like Google Search ads, it is crucial to keep an eye out for every minute detail. One must remember to not only have targeted content, but also content that provides value to customers. Remember to track your ad campaign to understand your return on investment and accurately gauge its effectiveness. The success of your digital advertising strategy lies in keeping with the times, and exploring the up and coming avenues to connect with your audience, while adding value to their lives and not treating them as a mere statistic.

My first 5 questions about social media marketing

“I’ve heard so much about social media marketing, but I don’t really know what it means or what I should do about it.”

When being introduced to the world of social media for the first time, it isn’t unreasonable to feel overwhelmed and confused at where to start. But in today’s world where so many of us have our faces buried deep into our smartphones during our commute and open Facebook in the morning like previous generations opened the newspaper, it is safe to say that social media marketing is indeed ingrained in our day to day lives. We’re either using it for our own businesses or are being influenced by it, whether you know it or not. It is practically unheard of to not have an online presence today but for smaller or local businesses that aren’t up to date yet, knowing where to start can be the tricky bit. So here are my first questions when approaching the subject.

1) What is Social Media Marketing?

Simply defined, it’s marketing where you gain traffic and attention to your website through social media tools and platforms. What’s more important for you to know is that social media marketing, or SMM, has transformed the way that consumers and brands communicate, allowing direct conversations between the two.

With so much choice on the market, customers need reassurance that what they’re buying into is the best possible choice for them. Using social media is an easy way to achieve this because people have always relied heavily on word of mouth and reviews and will continue to do so. This is where platforms like Facebook are perfect for this. If you’re posting something people find interesting, the content will be shared, friends will be tagged or comments will be made, which in turn appears on other people’s newsfeeds. Your brand name becomes increasingly familiar so people trust it and the product/service being offered. This results in more website traffic and attention generation for your brand.

2) How could it be beneficial to my business?

The main benefit to be involved in SMM is to increase brand awareness at little or no cost. We just have to look at the statistics to see that it’s crucial in today’s world to build an online presence and create relationships with your target market. 52% of online adults now use two or more social media sites and the number of worldwide social media users is projected to grow from 2.1 billion in 2015 to 2.5 billion by 2018. According to Search Engine Journal, marketers saw an increase of 74% in website traffic after devoting just 6 hours per week in social media. You establish yourself on your chosen channel and start to spread awareness of your brand but it doesn’t stop there. Social media generates leads too! Shifting your Page to a lead generation tool will impact the type of content you post and what kind of ads you run. By using information from your audience, you can then figure out how to attract them into your sales funnel and eventually turn them into paying customers.

3) What is the most effective platform for me?

The answer to this question depends on a number of things;

  • Where is my audience’s attention focused?
  • What type of content am I sharing?
  • How much do I intend to post?
  • How do I interact with customers?

Find out the best way to communicate with your target audience by knowing where they spend the majority of their time. The obvious choice of social media to begin with would be Facebook. It continues to be the platform with the most amount of users and is great for visual advertising. The downside is it’s easy to overload customers with information as people generally use these types of sites socially and don’t want to be bombarded with advertisements.

Once you’ve built up a following, you will need to keep them engaged by figuring out where you fit into their content viewing. For more frequent postings and faster interaction with customers, Twitter is the tool for the job. LinkedIn is clearly the place for professionals, businesses and recruiters. If you’re involved in a visual based industry like food, fashion or lifestyle, then Instagram is a must. Of course it could be beneficial to your business to use multiple platforms but it’s most important to first identify how to use them in different ways and whether these tools are relevant to your business and target audience.

4) Is maintaining a social media presence time consuming?

It doesn’t have to be! Once you know where you’re focusing your efforts and what content you’re sharing, there are a variety of tools available to schedule posts to be sent out throughout the day. With enough planning, content can be made ready and set to go weeks before it goes live. There are companies available to you that make your social media marketing a breeze. From managing company posts, blog writing to web hosting and software updates, these are marketing needs that an external agency can help cover that allows you to focus on your business whilst still reaching out and having your content viewed and shared.

5) How do I know we’re reaching our target market?

Many of the social media sites have native analytic tools that help you monitor which of your posts invite the most clicks and which get shared more than others. For example, Twitter’s ‘Tweet activity dashboard’ has in-depth metrics for users individual tweets and audience insights where you can actually track your follower growth over time see their top interests and discover their demographics. This data is essential for micro targeted campaigns. It will give you a better insight as to who your audience is, help you evolve the campaign and be posting content aimed at these followers. You can get other information such as what time your customers are browsing, allowing you to utilize those periods. The results you will get in sharing your content will see you gaining in earned media rather than paid media.

In researching the answers to all of my questions it became clear that creating a presence for your brand on social media is essential at this point in time and looks likely to be the case for a while. Figuring out how to use everything to get the optimum results is the key here and remember that it doesn’t have to be an effortful task. Using the tools available to you, you should be able to know your audience and from there it’s up to you to share relevant and interesting posts to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. This will generate leads and your business will grow.

This is just the surface of SMM but the information is enough for you to begin to explore this avenue, to grab the attention of your future customers and start valuable conversations with them. Remember that social media gives you the opportunity to create more of a personal connection with your audience on the digital landscape – and there’s no better time than the present to get started.

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This blog piece was written by Curate Bee’s new bee member, Charlie Champ. Stepping into the world of digital marketing for the first time, Charlie has been introduced to new perspectives and has since taken quite a keen interest to the subject. This piece was inspired by Charlie’s first 5 questions she had when she first joined the team and is probably what many are thinking when they are starting out with social media marketing.

Got any comments or questions? Let Charlie know below!

Snapchat, the New TV

Remember the good old days when watching TV was like eating off a set menu; you just pick and choose what you want? Or how catching an episode of your favourite soap meant being in front of the television in time, lest you miss an unexpectedly delicious twist in the tale?

Well, now there’s Snapchat. The video messaging application has managed to bring back the primitive television-watching experience onto today’s smartphones, and feed it to a thirsty throng of millennials (13 – 34 year olds account for 86% of today’s Snapchat audience). Its ‘Discover’ feature even has a tab that features a list of channels with the content refreshing itself daily ensuring there’s absolutely no way for you to catch a re-run of a video you may have missed out.

What you have, is a couple of channels and exclusive content that is essentially available for ‘appointment-viewing‘ – if you don’t catch it, you miss it. This is not new though; we already experienced this back when television sets began to enter households. So, what is it that makes Snapchat so refreshing to use?

Simply that it creates the illusion of urgency. Danielle Mullin, VP of Marketing at ABC Family, sums it up perfectly in an interview to Fast Company, “If your email inbox was going to disappear in 24 hours, you would feel the need to actually read every single mail. That’s the genius of Snapchat.”

Loved by users and advertisers alike

With statistics showing an impressive 100 million users every day and audiences coming back to a single channel five out of seven days, it’s no wonder advertisers are quickly gaining interest in this social media platform. The success of the 2014 broadcast of MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs), receiving 25 million views as compared to MTV’s own 5 million viewers on its Snapchat account, makes it no surprise that brands like Verizon and Taco Bell grabbed the narrow advertisement slots made available by Snapchat for the show despite the steep rate of $200,000 per sponsor. Advertisers love Snapchat because they know for sure whether users actually saw their advertisement given that these users have to hold a finger down on the screen the entire time they are watching an ad.

Viacom sales chief, Jeff Lucas, claims that Snapchat is ‘targeted television on mobile’. The trend has shifted such that users are turning to mobile applications for news and updates, potentially making applications like Snapchat become big players in the video business. While Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and most other social-media platforms rely largely on user-generated content, Snapchat offers a smorgasbord of highly rich content curated by a smattering of media partners like Vice or CNN.

Still, the underlying concept and rising success of Snapchat’s workings have continued to remain a mystery to many experienced marketers. Earlier this year, co-founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel released a video titled, ‘What is Snapchat’ that left viewers all over the world scratching their heads. Even big brands that use its advertising platform call it ‘confusing’ and a ‘conundrum’. Snapchat is simply an ode to throwback TV-viewing where you don’t have to make the effort to search for entertainment; you just have to sit back and watch.

Will Snapchat, in all its rebranded television glory, offer something unexpected to A-list advertisers that television has not been able to? Clearly, the company has faith in itself. Snapchat turned down a $3 million acquisition offer from Facebook and Bloomberg, and recently estimated its valuation at $19 billion. Will it live up to user expectations and be as great as TV was? If you’re a business owner, we think it could work well for you. You’ll get to show behind the scene shots to show your audiences, enabling you to engage and create conversations with them.

Take note though, Snapchat is not the only of its kind to exist within the video industry. Up and coming apps such as Periscope, similar to Snapchat, are already trying to build and break their way into the market. What is most important is keeping an open mind to trying new apps and use the one that works best in helping you best engage with your audience. We think it’s definitely worth a shot, given that mobile apps and video ads are set to be the trend this year, what about you?

Wrap Up Of This Year’s Digital Marketing Trends

A commonplace adjective that mysteriously captures the essence of digital marketing industry in 2015 is volatile. Marketers have realised that analysing and adapting to a volatile industry demands intuition, intelligence and undoubtedly loads of relevant information – information on what was, what is and what possibly will be.

With dynamism at its crux, 2015 highlighted emerging trends like real-time marketing and responsive web design. Let’s take a peek at the four revolutionary digital marketing trends that made a mark this year.

1. Content Matters

Consider the following research published:

  • Demand Metric asserted that content marketing costs 62% less when compared to traditional marketing while creating approximately three times as many leads as the latter.
  • CEB Leadership Council revealed that businesses giving first priority to emotional marketing content over promotional marketing were twice as successful at selling their products and services.
  • According to Percussion, enterprises which employed content-rich marketing strategies had 6 to 7 times higher conversion rates when compared to their competitors.

In 2015, content was king only if the customer was happy with it, and was willing to share it with his/her network. Today, content marketing is no longer just a strategy, but an art of communicating invaluable information (via social, visual, mobile and SEO content) to eventually win the target market’s trust and loyalty.

2. Personalised Marketing

This year, big data became an accessible solution for all businesses irrespective of their sizes, giving marketers access to behavioural, demographic and transactional information on their customers. The earlier trend has been to treat people merely as data points and the focus of alldata was mainly on actual customers. In 2015, the focus shifted to treating people like people rather than data points. With Facebook analytics like Audience Insights, an enterprise can now get information on potential customers on an individual level..

Digital marketers are now making use of individual data to employ personalised marketing strategies to attract customers.

3. Intuitive Experience

The world of digital marketing won’t be complete without mentioning responsive web design (RWD). Smartphone penetration is no big news. A 2012 study by comScore revealed that four out of five smartphone owners access retail content from their devices. Almost half (46%) of the people reported problems viewing a non-responsive site and 44% felt that navigation on smaller devices were difficult.The importance of a mobile friendly site should not be undermined, and rather than creating a separate mobile site that requires separate design, development and SEO; you would be better off switchingyour website to a responsive web design.

Moreover, with Google recommending RWD because it eradicates the need for more than one URL, marketers have improved their brand visibility with search engines. The icing on the cake? As a marketer, you willno longer need to manage separate yet redundant content for desktop and mobile counterparts of your enterprise website.

4. Real-time Marketing

Real-time marketing entails constant customer engagement based on real-time data on customer behaviour. RTM takes into account a customer’s website interactions, their data changes and even external news and updatesthat are happening at that moment in order to leverage on current consumers’ behaviours. Real-time marketing based on up to date events have also become more effective with all improvements in social media as businesses can now easily gather relevant information on their target audience and quickly convert that information into a marketing message to be shared.

To sum it up

Though these are trends that have made their mark in 2015, they are not the only ones. Additional trends that have shown great promise include digital marketing hubs, multi-channel attribution, advocacy marketing and employee branding. What’s important to note on the key feature that differentiates marketing in 2015 is that it has become a flexible strategy that is focused on current information and immediate feedback to reflect the current tastes and needs of the ever-changing market. Whether your strategy is old school, contemporary or futuristic, one trend remains timeless –mindless imitation is out, integrated, flexible and relevant marketing is in!