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Tag - marketing

The Post-Facebook Apocalypse

You’ve done the social media course. You’ve given the meticulously researched presentation to senior management full of infographics, embedded videos and pie charts. And it worked. You get the green light for the organisation to start ‘doing’ social media.
 
Where to start? Well, Facebook obviously. Anyone who knows anything knows that Facebook is the big bopper in social media. So if you have to be active in social media it obviously has to be on Facebook. Or so the corporate thinking goes.
After all, Facebook is now the recognised social media channel so there’s little risk and a lot of sense in putting all the company’s social media eggs in that one basket. Look at the facts: over a billion global users, 2nd most popular website in the world / Australia, powerful geographic, demographic and psychographic targeting. It’s a no-brainer.
But what if everything changes? What if, in a few years – or months – time, Facebook loses its appeal and consumers go elsewhere for their social fix? Unlikely, you say. Remember the billion users thing? My friends and I are on Facebook all the time, you say. And it’s valued at over $50 billion dollars, for goodness sake!
They’re valid points.
But consider MySpace, circa 2007. Facebook was the runt of the litter and MySpace was not just the social media master of all it surveyed, it was the most visited website in the US. The usual suspects flooded MySpace with their marketing campaigns: Pepsi, McDonald’s, Nike, Toyota, Sony, Hilton and Ford to name a few.
Fast forward a mere six years and MySpace is now the 133rd most visited website in the US.
While MySpace is still a viable business, certainly according to new owner Justin Timberlake and his partners, it’s no longer the must-have digital marketing option it once was.
Of course, the fortunes of websites and businesses rising and falling are nothing new. The difference today with marketers hitching their social media star to the Facebook wagon is that it is often done without any meaningful planning or strategic thinking. Many companies feel that they’ve ticked the social media box just by having a Facebook page.
Because social media marketing is so relatively new there are not enough people that have a deep enough understanding of what should and should not be done in this space. The end result that we’re seeing now: poor decision making.
The foundation of social media marketing – creating, building and maintaining long-term direct relationships with consumers – can be easily forgotten with all the technical and creative fun to be had with Facebook and other social platforms. Results are measured by the number of Likes, comments and shares. Don’t get me wrong, they’re important statistics. But they can’t be viewed in isolation if you’re looking to generate that all-important ROI from your social media investment.
Consider what will become of your social media program should a future visit to Facebook, the main plank of that program find virtual tumbleweeds and a few hardy zealots clinging to their almost empty newsfeeds. It truly is an apocalyptic thought.
It doesn’t have to be, of course. You need to question how you’re genuinely engaging with your consumers beyond throwing up some nice (in your opinion) posts, photos and polls. Are you thinking of what interests them as opposed to what suits you? Are you creating multi-faceted relationships where you engage on any number of levels – real and virtual – that are relevant to your consumers?
It’s telling that PR agencies are running the Facebook show for many companies. PR is an incredibly powerful tool, particularly in a digital context. But by definition, PR is all about me, the brand talking at you the consumer. Generate ink, air and pixels all about ‘me, me, me’ and the job is done.
Is that a valid way to run any sort of relationship?
Recent Pew Research found that 61% of users suffered from ‘Facebook Fatigue’ and had taken a break from the platform for several weeks or more. Had you even heard of Facebook Fatigue 12 months ago? Neither had I.
The simple conclusion is that Facebook must be viewed as a communication platform, much like TV sets, car radios and mobile phones. Yes, it’s a wildly popular, dynamic and powerful platform. Today. As for tomorrow, well, it may still be Facebook. Or it may be Roamz, Nextdoor, Sgrouples or some other platform that’s still being developed on a kitchen bench somewhere in the world. Heck, it might even be MySpace again.
The main game is guaranteed to always be your consumer. They must be informed, engaged, entertained and motivated in any number of ways. They must find you interesting, funny and even exciting no matter how you communicate with them and via what platform. Remember, they’re nothing if not fickle.

The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

5 Social Media Predictions for 2013…

 
Well, it’s that time of the year again folks, when social media psychics such as ourselves put on our headscarves, (headphones) invite you into our tent of wonders (warehouse loft spaces) and gaze into our crystal balls (iPads) to make predictions about the year ahead, based on what we’ve learned from years gone by. Sit back, relax and choose the lottery numbers 7, 34, 56 and 2…
Social Search

We’ve seen the beginnings of change this year with Twitter feeds being incorporated into Google search results, but we predict that 2013 will be the year that social search really takes off. For one thing, Facebook has been dropping hints all over the shop that it’s planning a move into search, which means marketers would be well-advised to start investigating what this could mean for social strategies.
 

Content Quality over Content Volume
The need for targeted content isn’t going to go away—in fact, 2013 is likely to see even more demand for content in all its forms. The difference will be, however, that while the content boom has seen many brands choosing to opt for high volumes of content in a bid to boost SEO, we’re predicting this will be the year that sifts the mediocre from the extraordinary, and quality, trained content creators will be in higher demand than ever.

Video
2012 was all about the video boom, and 2013 holds the potential for an even bigger rise in video content and consumption. With new technology that allows more customisation and user engagement with video content, we’re predicting that brands and agencies alike will be investing more time and money into creating targeted video content.

Tougher Competition
With social media budgets growing and brands (for the most part) onboard with the idea of investing in social and digital, the competition among marketers is set to grow as well. This can only mean good things for the industry as a whole – raising the bar and forcing us to put our skills where our mouths are. Brands now know a lot more about the mechanisms of social and digital marketing, which means simply having a social presence ‘because you have to’ is not going to cut it. 2013 will be the year where marketers and brands alike have to delve deeper into the ‘why’ of social media, bringing strategies into line and embracing long-terms relationships as opposed to short-term like-building and gimmicks.

Facebook & Pinterest
We’re all familiar with Facebook’s ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em’ strategy, and we’ll eat our Buddy Holly glasses and ironic moustaches if Facebook – or another major player – doesn’t at least show some interest in acquiring the thriving network…
What about you? Any social media predictions for 2013?  Have we left anything off the list?
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Friend or foe?

A new survey suggests Facebook is on the way out (again). But are Australians really falling out of love with social media?
Stop the press and hold on to your hats, everybody: Facebook is going under!
95 people told us so.
Well, OK, that’s not exactly true. They told the Ipsos Mackay report, which is a qualitative social trends study that recently took ‘a snapshot of the nation’s mind and mood’.
Along with discovering a number of people don’t like our Prime Minister (shocking!) and a number don’t like Tony Abbot (even more shocking!), the report found that ‘a key complaint amongst some was the culture of narcissism and self-absorption that appeared to be rife on Facebook’.
Cue the headlines insinuating that it’s only a matter of time before Australians stop using Facebook altogether. Such as this article in the Sydney Morning Herald starting with the line ‘Australians are beginning to turn away from Facebook’…
We had no idea smh.com.au was so acrobatic, because that is a fairly big leap to make based on the mixed opinions of 95 Aussies. Especially considering that the very same paper reported less than two months ago that while it lagged behind the global growth average, Facebook use in Australia was up 15 per cent from 18 months earlier, and that average time spent on the site had increased from 7.5 hours to 8 hours per month.
Aside from the fact that 95 people can hardly be called a representative sample of society, what the study actually found was that people are getting fed up with the ‘narcissism and self-absorption’ they’re dealing with on the site, but are unwilling to leave the site because they fear it will affect their social lives.
The truth about user-generated content
So as a public service announcement, we have decided to help these clearly conflicted individuals by revelaing:
FACEBOOK ISN’T THE PROBLEM, YOUR FRIENDS ARE.
There. We said it. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but Facebook is all about that Holy Grail of the digital marketing world – user-generated content. Which means if you don’t like the content, find different users. Sick of narcissistic and self-absorbed posts? Don’t make friends with narcissistic and self-absorbed people. Or even better, be a little more discerning with your own posts.
If anything, Facebook is a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to eradicating these people from your life, as it supplies an online, interactive report card on how your nearest and dearest are measuring up as engaging humans.
We’re willing to bet that anyone who still loves interacting via Facebook have interesting, funny friends who keep them entertained by providing content – in the form of posts and updates – that is actually worth reading. Either that, or they’re too narcissistic and self-absorbed to notice…
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Is Your Social Media Strategy Off Target?

Public criticism posted on Facebook and Twitter means companies should get off social media, right? Wrong!
The mainstream media is currently full of it. Full of the news that Target, like Channel Seven, Qantas and others before it, have experienced a social media backlash, that is.
In this instance, it all started with a comment on Target’s Facebook page from a mother and primary school teacher Ana Amini that the retailer is selling clothes that makes young girls ‘look like tramps’. Other people – lots of other people – clearly agree with Mrs Amini, with her Facebook page attracting some 60,000 likes and 3000 comments.
All of which demonstrates the reach and power of social media, and the content disseminated through it. So why are commentators queuing up to imply companies should exit social media as the benefits of being on it are outweighed by the risks?
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Gabriel McDowell of Res Publica, an adviser to corporations on social media strategy, said recent missteps had been compounded by the wrong people running company Facebook pages.
‘Control should be taken from advertising and marketing agencies, who are used to pushing a message, and handed to public relations people, who are better equipped to deal with fallout. “Even though the social media process can’t be totally controlled, it needs to be managed,” he said.’
Fair point, you may think, until you realise Res Publica just happens to be… a PR agency! So the Herald has used a quote from a self-interested party to support the angle of its story. Talk about disingenuous.
The point of social media
Social media is not about public relations. Social media is about interaction, about engaging with customers. Yes, people may question or even criticise, but someone like Mrs Amini clearly felt she had a genuine point to make. And the fact that she made it has given Target a chance to consider her well-made points and address her concerns.
To say this ‘scandal’ is proof that social media has the potential to do far more harm than good to – and for – companies is completely wrong. Social media has empowered consumers, has given them a voice – and a collective voice – at that that demands to be heard.
Companies and marketers should always be listening to their consumers – it’s how you know if you’re doing the right thing by them and providing the products they want. So to get off social media or, worse, to simply view it as a means for scoring some PR points would be the worst thing possible.
Moreover, just because you may no longer be on social media doesn’t mean social media itself no longer exists. Consumers can still criticise you (or praise you, for that matter) on Facebook, Twitter, etc, but your absence from the conversation denies you that right of reply, that ability to say to people, ‘I’m listening, I’m hearing what you say, I understand your concerns and I’m going to do something about it.’
The content solution
Technology may be evolving at an incredible speed, but people aren’t. Our innate human needs remain the same and one of them is that when we deal with people, we want to know that we matter to them, that we are listened to and that our concerns are heard. Social media lets companies do that by monitoring the conversation and engaging with people.
And there is now an extra reason to do that, with the ruling handed down last week that companies are responsible for the comments posted by others on their corporate Facebook page. So if someone has posted something racist, sexist, otherwise offensive or libellous, the company is responsible.
Monitoring social media has therefore become a necessity, so why not see this as an opportunity to engage through it. Accept criticism and ask others if they feel the same way (as they obviously do in the Target case) as a means of improving your offering to customers.
The content you create – in terms of responding to customer comments – can turn social media into your best friend. Running away from it, on the other hand, is a sure-fire way of making it your enemy.

The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

The Many Levels of a Content Campaign

Think long-term when it comes to using content for maximum benefit
Content marketing is the hot new buzz word. But like ‘social media marketing’ before it, content marketing is not something new, but rather an expansion on principles that have been used for decades to market and advertise products.
The product itself is frequently the subplot in advertising campaigns, where a carefully inserted image or sentence ties the bulk of the content to what it is trying to promote. This is nothing new – just look at the advertising tradition that has grown up around the NFL Superbowl in the US. Brands spend millions of dollars on the much-coveted halftime slots, which viewers regard as bonus entertainment, rather than a distraction, such is their quality.
These commercials – and many others – are successful not because they focus on the specific merits of their products, but because they represent content that is engaging, funny and well-produced. Their brilliance lies in consumer engagement, and here’s the kicker – consumers are happy to engage and advocate for the brand because they feel they are being entertained in return.
The content shift
So why, suddenly, is content marketing the talk of the town if we’ve been using content in this way for years? There are two main reasons.
The first has to do with social media, and the possibilities it holds for viral advertising. In the past, people who liked an ad or a campaign were limited to discussing it with their social groups through word of mouth. The accessibility of video-sharing and social media means that when a consumer comes across good content, they can share and discuss it on multiple platforms. This means the drive to create engaging, sharable content has never been stronger.

The second reason is that content marketing is something far more involved and engaging than a one-off campaign that gets people talking for a few weeks. Holistic content marketing is a commitment from a brand to engage in an ongoing way with its consumers, who are happy to oblige if the content is fresh and interesting.
The shift in marketing over the last decade has been extraordinary. Google’s influence and power, the rise of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and the possibilities provided by Web 2.0 mean we are looking further forward than ever before. The content connections created today can grow and evolve for years to come – meaning that instead of looking at content creation as a campaign, it should be viewed as a long-term strategy.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image Source: Wheeler Blogs