Tag Archives: brands

When Brands Fail To Remain Relevant, They RadioShack – Who’s Next?

Now that the buzz and media frenzy about the demise of RadioShack and the analysis of why by Wall Street and other experts  is beginning to subside, another consideration should be examined. What happens to brands that do not remain relevant, stop innovating and sit on their hind quarters? Well in short, they RadioShack…

When Brands Fail to Remain RelevantAre You Relevant?

On and offline businesses should be getting a clear message that remaining relevant through evolving with changing times is a must. The penalties for not doing so can be incredibly harsh as we have seen with many top brands in North America that became so massive and full bureaucracy that they could no longer move or even make decisions quickly when times changed. A reliance on their “brand” coupled with an expectation that their customers would remain loyal if they continued to do business and usual has resulted in many going the way of RadioShack.

Many have commented and speculated as to the reasons for RadioShack and other big brands falling, but the details all tend to simply boil down to not remaining relevant and changing with the times. We’ve seen very similar results with the likes of Palm, BlackBerry and even Kmart. Regardless of the industry, company size or product niche, brands and marketers must realize what their customers want, how their buying habits change and how marketing and delivery of products and services continually change.

Who’s Next?

We believe the next industry that we can expect to experience a significant shake up is in the content world. Now we bet you are thinking we mean online, and that will be part of it, but for this discussion we are referring to content providers, television and Hollywood.

Just like digital disrupted the music industry with the rise of the iPod and later online music services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, the cable and satellite space is going to be in real trouble. Visual content we normally think of for television, movie theaters and DVD players has been on a long transition toward streaming services via the likes of Netflix and others.

Now before you start thinking “duh, we know this”, it’s important that we take the discussion to a deeper level. Beyond the innovation of technology resulting in an advancement in relevance that Streaming Video providers are delivering to the market, there are a few other things that they are taking advantage of that might not be as obvious.

1) People hate their Cable Company – Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but most of us dislike Comcast and the like. We feel you have extorted from us for years, displayed horrible customer service and near zero concern for us as a customer. Your social media has highlighted these facts to many and your prices are not sustainable. Most of use want something better, that gives us control, without the $200+ monthly bill.

2) Content is becoming a Commodity – With the internet expanding in technology and access on a daily basis, we know how to get the content we want, without being tied to our television. Though we like our local content and special “shows”, we are tired of you controlling the content we have access to and when and how we can access it. Additionally, your technology is seemingly ancient and we want the latest, easiest to use and non-tethered options that fit our lifestyle.

3) On Demand Rules Consumption – The way we want to consume content is changing. We have increasingly busy and diverse work hours and responsibilities for career and home. We want access to content when it is convenient for us, not you.

These are just a few of the reasons that Comcast and the like are going to see a disruption in their monopoly businesses. Technology is advancing and driving down price, while increasing access, mobility and on demand capabilities today’s consumer wants. Innovation, service and care has all but disappeared in the space, while prices and restrictions continue to rise. Consumers are screaming for alternatives and the industry is only clamping down harder to retain their domination. This opens the door for massive market disruption.

Online Disruption As Well?

These similar constraints and concerns will ultimately disrupt online content consumption patterns as well. As consumers increasingly tire of Google and Facebook controlling the content they’re able to see and easily discover and marketer frustration is amplified for many connected reasons, a shakeup to the status quo is certainly going to come in short order. Consumers want the most recent relevant content in increasingly simplified ways and content marketers, brands and blogs need improved abilities to get in front of those consumers with their content. Do you see the similarities here? Another space rife for disruption.

How do you see relevance and innovation disrupting on and offline brands, marketers and consumers in the future?

 

 

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under Brand, Content, customer service, Facebook, Google, marketers, Marketing, Social Media

Stay Between The Social Media Lines

The other day I was working in my office and my lil man (5-year-old) was in his play room coloring. Every 5 minutes or so he would come into my office carrying his dinosaur coloring book open to his latest masterpiece in order to show Papa what amazing creation he Stay between the lineshad completed this time. As this continued over at least an hour, I noticed that he was improving on his accuracy, and also getting substantially more creative with his colorful interpretations of what a dinosaur should look like.

As this went on, it reminded me of a 1992 Isuzu commercial from my (eh hem) childhood. The video featured a crusty old make teacher, patrolling his elementary school classroom full of students who were coloring. The teacher stoically navigates the classroom while repeating the phrase “Stay between the lines, the lines are our friends.

I am not sure, but I think I remember this commercial so well because I was a bit of a rebel as a teenager. I know this is likely a shock to those of you that know me or at least read my social media and blog posts. :-)

The point here is this…

There are no lines in social media marketing!

I mean, yes there are definitely best practices to achieve real results and be effective, but there is only one steadfast rule. DO NOT SPAM.

Many of us, including myself have become conditioned to point out when other people/brands are doing social media “Wrong”. We do this for many reasons. Some reasons are very selfless and out of a true desire to help, but if we were honest we would also recognize some of the other reasons aren’t so humble or helpful. Being human and therefore full of faults, failings and ego, I must also admit to correcting others at times without always from the proper motivation care. I continue to work on that.

Since there are no lines in social media, marketers are free to head off-road, be creative and execute differing strategies and tactics that suit them. Not every method is going to get results and many may even negatively affect your results in dramatic ways you are not realizing.

Understanding best practices and the concepts of social media from a core level is incredibly important. Having a solid understanding of what social media is and how it is best used provides a foundation for decision-making, strategy development and “off-roading your coloring” so to speak.

5 Comments

Filed under Best Practices, BundlePost, Marketing, Results, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Social Selling, strategies, Strategy

Millennials and Social Commerce By The Data [Infographic]

Interest and discussions surrounding the 76 million millennials and their impact on social media, marketing and social commerce are seemingly increasing every week. Brands and marketers are seeking data to bolster their digital marketing efforts around this group, their interests and online patterns and rightly so. Millennials are unique in that they are not influenced by traditional ‘push’ marketing strategies as other population segments have been in the past and more importantly they have been raised with the digital world in place, rather than migrating to it as those before them.

Using data published in a report by UMass, we have created an easy to consume Infographic that contains the key points every brand and marketer should know. Following the infographic we break down some of the data points and include some takeaway action steps you may want to consider.

Millennial Social Commerce Infographic

The Data Highlights:

  • 35% of Millennials are likely to use a “buy” button on Facebook and 24% are likely to use one on Twitter, should those be provided by the platforms.
  • Facebook declines but is still the most popular platform among Millennials when looking to interact with companies/brands online. While their numbers have fallen slightly, Twitter and Pinterest have made modest gains. Fifty-five percent of respondents currently like at least one brand on Facebook (down from 62% last year). Twitter has 29% (up from 23%) and
  • Pinterest has 16% (up from 11%) of Millennials following or pinning a company/brand.
  • Hair, Beauty and Apparel continues to be the category in which most products are purchased by Millennials across all platforms studied.
  • Relative to users of larger platforms, Pinterest again has the highest online sales conversion rate. Fifty-one percent of Pinterest users make their purchases online exclusively compared to 16% of Facebook users and 35% of Twitter users. The user-friendly, highly visual design of the website facilitates information search and evaluation of alternatives. Pinterest makes the transaction process flow with optimal ease for consumers.
  • 48% of Millennials use smart phones to make purchases online and 21% use tablets.

Action Plan Takeaways:

If millennials make up part or all of the target audience you are trying to reach through social and digital channels, there are a few things you need to consider:

1) You will not be successful pushing your marketing on them. They have been raised in the digital and social worlds and therefore relationships, conversations, trends and transmedia approaches are required, not optional.

2) You will have to be highly active and effective on multiple social media channels if you wish to get and keep the millennial attention.

3) Having a clear and optimized mobile strategy that works with millennial usage patterns is also required. They spend far less time on desktops and therefore the channels and media types you employ must be optimized for mobile and tablet.

4) A strategy and plan for social commerce is required. This is how millennials want to purchase. Make it easy for them to do so.

5) Curate and Create content at much higher frequencies for this group. They are online more frequently and consume content when and how they want.

3 Comments

Filed under Audience, Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Infographic, Marketing, Millennials, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

The Two Opposing Forces That Drive Social Media Marketing

Opposing Social Media ForcesAfter many years in this business, I have come to the realization that there are two main forces that drive the social media message. These two connected, but sometimes opposing forces combine to keep social media marketing at the forefront of on and offline marketing discussions. These two forces are what enable the numerous events, trade shows and conventions that the social media space seems to do at much higher levels than most other industries.

I will attempt to outline these two forces with as little bias as possible, while providing some editorial perspective to each.

Educational Forces

Description: The education forces are made up of Bloggers, Consultants, Strategists, Speakers and Trainers whose business is that of coaching and teaching others on how to do social media marketing. Their income, fame and expertise is often solely or largely derived from teaching or consulting other individuals or brands about the space.

Advantages: Since social media is constantly changing, the educational aspect of social media marketing is crucial. Daily changes to platforms, methods and tools require effective marketers to stay current on what’s new and more importantly what’s changing. The educational forces within the industry ensure that these changes are disseminated to active social media participants.

Educational forces are also extremely helpful to those that are new to social media marketing. Let’s face it, understanding the many do’s and don’ts of social media, let alone the most effective “how to’s” is not something easily figured out on your own. Educators within social media provide basic level know how to newbies and those wanting to migrate from dabbling in it.

Another positive that results from industry educational forces is the top of mind effect that occurs both on an offline. What I mean by that is with so many events, speakers, books and blog posts that educate on social media marketing, it constantly drives the press and other media sources to keep it in the news. We see this in the form of brands and news outlets constantly promoting their social profiles and making social media part of their stories and advertisements. Educational forces help ensure this continues.

Executional Forces

Description: Executional forces are Internal Brand Departments, Individual Marketers, Social Media Agencies whose business is that of actually executing social media marketing. Their income and ROI is largely derived from effectively implementing social media marketing on a daily basis that achieves sales, revenue, lead generation or other result oriented outcome. They don’t derive income  from promoting social media in general, generate blog traffic about their social media trainings or how to/strategy consulting services. They are brands and marketers that promote and sell using social media, not promote and sell social media itself.

Advantages: Without executional forces, there would be no need for the educational forces of the industry. Those that are actually executing social media marketing well and therefore achieving real measurable results provide the credibility to an otherwise hypothetically effective marketplace.

Executional forces also provide the data used in research reports that fuel social media marketing’s prominence. It’s the wood in the fire that drives the press coverage about the industry on a continual basis.

Lastly, the executional forces enable integrated marketing by connecting all aspects of on and offline marketing components together by “doing the work”.

Can These Two Opposing Forces Work Together?

The answer is yes, they can work together, but they must improve how they work together. As the social media market, platforms and tools begin to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions, educational and executional forces need to combine their forces or realize the consequences. The industry needs to better manage the educational forces that are controlling the messaging of the industry and executional forces are all too quiet about how they are getting real results.

These are some of the questions that are yet to be resolved between the opposing forces

Should industry educators be held accountable to provide social proof of what they teach, beyond their celebrity status?

Should they be somehow required to show executional experience that supports their desire to be a social media consultant or educator?

Should executional forces do a better job of crossing the divide with educational forces?

9 Comments

Filed under Agency, Brand, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI

The Top Social Media Dashboards And Tools Marketers Use [SURVEY REPORT]

As we continue the series of blog posts resulting from our survey on social media marketers, brands and agencies, we focus our attention on the top social media dashboards and tools. As a reminder, we conducted a survey with hundreds of social media professionals to gain insight on the challenges they face with social media management. The two previous posts were;

The Importance And Challenges Of Social Media Content Curation  [SURVEY REPORT]

and

Where Social Media Brands, Marketers And Agencies Spend Their Time [REPORT]

Most Used Social Media ToolsWe continued with the survey and asked respondents “Which one of the following social media dashboard/tools do you use most to manage your social media posting?” Though most of the responses were somewhat expected, there is some deeper information in the data that we found interesting.

The big number that stood out most surprisingly to us was the almost 4 and half percent of respondents that are currently not using any tools whatsoever. 4.4% stated that they are using social media platforms directly, or not using any outside tools to be effective and efficient with their social media marketing.

Not so surprising was the huge 53% of respondents that stated they are using Hootsuite as the social media tool they use most often. As a dashboard that can manage many social media accounts and platforms in one place, it is well-known as the most used application for this purpose.

The second largest numbers tied in our survey. Roughly 10.7% of all respondents stated they were using both Buffer and Bundle Post social media tools. Of all of the dashboards and social media marketing and posting tools listed in the survey of social media marketers, these were the only two tools that were selected so closely. Though very different, both of these popular tools with social media marketers can be considered curation and scheduling tools. They both focus on making scheduling of curated content more efficient, but Bundle Post takes it much further with patent pending technology that also hashtags, manages marketing content and curated aggregation, while integrating with several social media dashboards, including Buffer.

While there are literally hundreds upon thousands of social media management tools on the market today, ensuring that efficiency and effectiveness of your social media efforts is key. The top social media tools and dashboards being used by many social media marketers, brands and agencies provide a good starting point for your core tools.

What social media tools are you using to be efficient and effective with your social media marketing efforts?

5 Comments

Filed under Agency, Brand, Buffer, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Hashtag, Hootsuite, Marketing, Results, Social Aggregation, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

Where Social Media Brands, Marketers And Agencies Spend Their Time [REPORT]

We recently conducted a survey of social media marketers, brands and agencies to better understand where they spend their time and the challenges they are facing with their social media marketing. The 11 question survey consisted of multiple choice questions, as well as multi-part questions that asked the respondent to rank their agreement with specific comments/challenges of content, social marketing and curation. With hundreds of respondents completing the survey, we decided that there is a lot of relevant information that others in the industry could learn from, so we will be writing several posts about the data.

For this post, we are going to focus on the main activity and use of time questions we asked.

Question 1:  HOW MANY DAYS PER WEEK DO YOU SCHEDULE CONTENT FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STREAMS?

This question was crucial to understanding the level of experience of the survey respondents. Those of us in the industry for some time, we understand the importance of consistent, relevant content in all social media streams on a daily basis, all day long. In asking this question we learned that the majority of the survey respondents are heavily active with scheduled social media scheduling and a small percentage of respondents are less experienced.

82% of those surveyed stated that they schedule social media posts three or more days per week. A huge number, no doubt, but what we found most interesting is that a huge majority of almost 66% schedule content five or more days per week for their social streams.

Days You Schedule Social Media Posts

We believe that this information is showing that if you are not scheduling content for your social streams at least 5 days per week, you are likely getting lost in the noise of those that are, or at least you are sitting at your desk everyday manually live posting content to your streams.  These numbers are inline with our philosophy that social media is like a freeway and you have to have enough cars (content) on the road everyday to be seen, let alone effective.

Question 2:  ON AVERAGE, HOW MANY SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS TO YOU SCHEDULE EVERY DAY ON TWITTER

58% of social media marketers stated that they schedule more than five posts per day on Twitter and over 35% schedule more than 10 posts. Given that Twitter is a much more active posting site this was not a surprise.

Twitter is a unique social network in that updates are displayed only at the time they are posted, whereas Facebook for example will display content in the newsfeed over and over based on when users login and how well an update is engaged with by your friends/followers. Since Twitter is void of such an algorithm and posts scroll based on when it was posted, not how much engagement the post receives, posting much more frequently is imperative.

Posts Per Day On Twitter

Posting enough content on a daily basis to Twitter is crucial to growing a targeted audience, sparking engagement and building relationships. You want to be sure that whenever your audience happens to login and check their streams, they see something of valuable and interesting from you. This builds thought leadership, creates opportunities for sharing and conversations, which is what results in ROI.

Question 3:  HOW MANY HOURS PER DAY DO YOU SPEND FINDING, EDITING, SCHEDULING AND POSTING CURATED AND MARKETING CONTENT TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?

When we asked how many hours per day these social media marketers spend managing and scheduling content, an astonishing 75% said two hours or more. That’s two or more hours every single day managing curated and marketing content for their social streams.

Hours Scheduling Social Media Posts

The question that should also be asked is, if you are spending 2-5+ hours per day managing your social media posts, what are you not doing that could be getting real results? Engagement, conversations and relationship building are all going to suffer if this much time is required everyday managing scheduled posts and marketing content.

Let’s be clear, you have to have relevant, valuable content in your streams and you also have to post updates about you, your products and what you do in an appropriate mix. If you have little or nothing in your streams, you will not get engagement. Without likes, comments and conversations it is impossible to build relationships on and offline. Without relationships your social media marketing has no foundation and will not achieve real results. It’s a quandary isn’t it?

The challenge facing the social media agencies, marketers and brands we surveyed and the millions of others around the world is that much of the time spent everyday on social media marketing is unproductive time. This survey shows that much of the time and effort doing social media marketing is spent in the back office finding, managing and scheduling content, rather than in conversations, relationship building and other functions that lead to revenue and ROI.

With the thousands of tools and applications on the market that are designed to help with these tasks, why are so many still dealing with this time/effort mismatch? We believe the answer is that most of the tools available aid with some of the curation and scheduling tasks, but few actually impact efficiency enough to make a substantial difference. Therefore, we see the answers to the survey still showing an incredible amount of time and effort being spent in the back office.

Read about 8 new ways content curation and social media marketing just got easier. That’s where Bundle Post makes a massive impact.

In our next post, we will unveil additional eye-opening details of this survey and give you a lot more data on what social media challenges marketers say they have today.

The second second survey report post is now out – The Importance And Challenges Of Content Curation

6 Comments

Filed under Agency, Brand, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social content management, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

Hashtags Become Even MORE Important On Twitter

On July 3rd, 2013 Twitter announced new API rules for developers that create applications for the Twitter platform. One of the most important changes announced was that “automated following or bulk following is also prohibited.” Twitter HashtagThis is a significant hit to hundreds of legitimate as well as spam-like Twitter applications being used by millions of people worldwide to either “game” their follower counts -or- legitimately increase their targeted following.

What does all this mean for the Twitter User?

There are two sides to these changes, some being positive and some, well let’s just say they create some challenges you need to be aware of. Let’s start with a few of the positive things these rules should produce.

The Positives:

Spammers – If they can’t use these tools to mass follow people, this should positively impact the amount of spam and spammers that are using Twitter in this fashion.

Counts less of a focus – If gaining followers can be “gamed” less, then making your follower count the game will also be reduced.

Focus on content and conversation – Clearly if huge follower counts is less of the issue, people will have to refocus their efforts back to quality social media content and engaging in conversations in order to drive community growth. (Hello Big brands. It’s about time you did this right anyway)

The Negatives:

Community Growth Harder – For every small to medium-sized business and marketer, these changes and the ultimate demise of follow tools will certainly make growing communities more time-consuming and difficult.

Hashtags Become Even MORE Important On Twitter:

This brings us to hashtags… Brands and marketers must really understand their audience better in order to develop more targeted content and hashtag strategies that will attract their followings. You need to know the topics and content subject matter that your target audience is engaged with and therefore what your topical and content strategy needs to be to make it easier for them to find you. Therefore, incorporating hashtags thoughtfully in this mix will be paramount to the future of community growth on Twitter.

Ask Yourself:

1) Do you know the topics that your prospective followers are interested in?

2) Do you know the hashtags that your prospective followers are using and following on Twitter?

3) How are you going to more effectively use hashtags now that follow tools are going to be nonexistent?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you need to figure out the answers, and fast.

For consistent automated hashtag and content sharing tools read this.

13 Comments

Filed under Community, Content, Engagement, Followers, Hashtag, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized