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Posts tagged social media marketing

C-h-hanges: Facebook, Pinterest Add New Features

It’s been a busy week across the social media stratosphere. Facebook announced its embedded post feature yesterday, and Pinterest has introduced a new alert that lets users know when the price of an item they have pinned has dropped. Both features help further establish the functions that marketers have developed for them: Facebook as a content sharing platform, and Pinterest as an e-commerce site.

Facebook now allows users to embed their public statuses across the web. Readers can interact with an embedded status just as they would on Facebook; they can like the page from which the embedded post was pulled, they can follow users who posted the embedded content, and if a hashtag was uses in the status, users can use that hashtag to discover similar content.

The code that embeds the status installs the Facebook SDK for JavaScript on your webpage; this is the same install code that enables the Facebook Like button and other social plugins. According to Facebook, having the SDK for JavaScript on your site twice shouldn’t cause any performance issues. The service has been rolled out to select news sites, with a wider release planned in the future.

Continue to read on our blog: C-h-hanges: Facebook, Pinterest Add New Features
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Social Media Strategy Checkpoint: What Could You be Doing Better?

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We all know how important social media is to your marketing strategy. Social media offers the best, most personal means of engaging with your customers and fans, and if you haven’t already established your presence on social media, it’s more than worth your while to do so. Once you have that, though, it can be hard to know just how best to capitalize on it. You’re sharing your company’s blog, you’re keeping your followers updated on industry news—what more can you do? Here are some tips for streamlining and innovating your approach to social media marketing.

1. Make sure you’re automating the right things. Social media automation is a profoundly helpful way to save you time when managing your social media strategy—otherwise, posting on all your social media accounts on schedule would be among the most daunting tasks on your to-do list. That said, too much automation reduces the quality of your posts and the personality of your social media presence. Search Engine Watch has some good tips on what to automate and what to do the old-fashioned way, and we’re inclined to agree with them. The top automation tip is to put your posts on a schedule using a service such as Buffer or Hootsuite, which will save you the trouble of having to continuously post throughout the week to all of your brand’s accounts. On the flip side, the most important thing NOT to automate is your responses to fans’ comments and tweets. Bank of America recently learned that lesson the hard way after sending an automated response to one man’s tweet about Bank of America forcing his house’s foreclosure. Those kind of mistakes can seriously damage your company’s reputation.  That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some help in finding those comments to begin with; social listening tools are a great way to make sure you don’t miss a customer’s words of praise or complaint.

2. Take advantage of employee advocacy—if your employees are willing. While it is never acceptable to mandate that your employees like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter with their personal accounts, employees frequently want to support their company on social media of their own volition. Encouraging that interaction can be extremely helpful to your social media efforts, as well as to your work environments. Consumers trust employee recommendations far more than recommendations made by your company’s media spokesperson, viewing those recommendations to be more authentic. As an added bonus, employee advocacy programs keep your employees more actively engaged and invested in your company’s success.

Continue to read on our blog: Social Media Strategy Checkpoint: What Could You be Doing Better?
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Social Media – Are You Listening? 4 Tools to Help You Hear the Conversation

At this point in time, marketers everywhere are rapidly embracing social media as a tool to reach and engage current and potential customers.  They use various platforms to discuss new products, alert followers to company news and events, and to talk directly to customers.  Marketers see the value of social media as a communications tool, but the question remains: are marketers listening on social media as much as they are speaking?  Not knowing what people are saying about your brand on the Internet can make a brand come across as tone deaf – and potentially turn people off.  As is true of any type of communication, social media is a two way street; you have to listen as much as, if not more, than you speak.  By employing social media listening tools, you can see exactly what is being said about your brand on which platform, informing your social media marketing strategies.  While it is true that you cannot truly control the conversation about your brand, you can influence it and shape it, if you know what those conversations are.

There are a multitude of free and paid tools that allow you to cut through all of the chatter and see the conversations about your company and brand in real time.  Below is our list of some of our favorites:

Free Tools:

1.    Social Mention:Social Mention crawls blogs, blog comments, video sharing sites, and social media platforms and compiles a real-time list of brand mentions and context, such as the sentiment of posts, sources of posts, and top users who mention your brand.  Social Mention also has a free service that allows you to set up Social Media Alerts.

2.   BoardReader:BoardReader scours online forums for brand mentions.  This tool is particularly useful because many businesses and tools tend to overlook forums as “legitimate” or “popular” social media platforms; in reality, forums are goldmines of information about companies, products, brands, and businesses.

Paid Tools:

1.   Brandwatch: Brandwatch is a social listening and analytics tool that costs $250 a month to use.  However, the results garnered by the tool are much more in-depth than those generated by most free tools.  Brandwatch offers sentiment analysis, so that you can see not only where people are talking about your brand, but what they are saying.  Brandwatch offers sophisticated analysis of these sentiment findings as well, allowing you to see what you issues (or successes) you should address.

2.   Radian6: Radian6 is the social media listening tool offered by Salesforce, and by far one of the most powerful tools of its kind offered today.  The tool features clean dashboards and real-time charts that show the most common words associated with your brand; monitor the highs and lows of your brand’s social mentions, ascertain sentiment of mentions and more. Radian6’s reporting is clear and concise, adept at pulling data and creating compelling, easy-to-understand charts out of the raw numbers.

Still having trouble managing your or your clients’ social media marketing tools, even with listening tools?  inSegment social media marketing practices help brands listen to and engage their target audiences on the platforms that are the most applicable to our clients’ goals.  We fully measure all of our efforts, so we know what works and what needs adjusting.  Come talk to us about social media marketing; we’re always listening!

Quora and Customer Engagement: Is This the Marketer’s Social Media Dream?

So, you’re on Facebook and Twitter; that means you’re on top of social media, right?  Not quite.  Several alternative channels offer unique opportunities to engage with your audience.  One of these is Quora,  an interactive forum.  With about 2 million users and growing, Quora can help your brand reach a whole new audience.

Quora is a Q&A sites that ranks questions and answers based on engagement through followers/users, views, votes, reviews and shares.  While company accounts aren’t permitted on Quora, brand representatives can identify themselves and contribute to questions and answers.  This is a great opportunity to address target audiences directly. Below are some simple steps provided by Jim Yu to help your brand on Quora.

1.Follow related topics:

Follow a handful of topics and threads related to your brand and/or industry.  This is great for market and competitor research; find out what is being said about your competition and your company, and use this info to inform your decisions on future campaigns.

2. Prioritize content:

Quora allows you to follow and lead discussions involving many elements of your brand such as products, customer service, and corporate responsibility.  Be sure to cover the most important areas, but don’t forget about the minor details.

3. Assign and train experts to contribute to discussions:

Not only do you want to be following relatable topics of your industry, but you want to    be leading discussions. This will increase your web visibility and generate leads to help  improve your brand and customer satisfactory rate.  Some things to remember while     doing this are to:

A.Identify yourself explicitly as a representative of your brand/company

B. Provide information and perspective this is valuable to viewers

C.  Never sell!  This could seriously harm your company’s image and could result in losing followers or being blocked by users.

4.  Track metrics to measure your experts’ engagement:

Quora is about quality and credibility, but like all social media, it is measurable. Some metrics you can track along the way are the number of:

a. Followers for related topics

b. Followers for each of your experts.

c. Answers for each expert and

d. Votes and shares

5. Use Quora as a blogging platform:    

Quora’s blogging platform is great for the “once-in-a-while” blogger or for brands that want to reach a different and larger audience.  Use this guide to learn more about its benefits.  Quora is perfect for brands wanting to engage and interact with their customers in a new and unusual way.

In order to be successful at social media management, you have to stay on top of emerging trends, strategies, platforms, and movements on all the channels that your brand uses.  It can be a bit overwhelming; that’s why inSegment offers social media marketing services as a part of our integrated marketing services.  While we’re not active on Quora yet for our own brand, we’re more than willing to jump in for our clients.

Facebook Insights – Are You Measuring Your Success Efficiently?

Analytics are essential to measuring the success of your marketing efforts, especially on social media.  Several social media channels have now offer measurements and analytics to see exactly what your efforts are generating.  The first to jump on this bandwagon was Facebook, with its Insights feature on business pages. The Insights feature of your company’s Facebook page can be an invaluable tool to help you measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign.  If you don’t have an accurate understanding of what the Insights data represents, however, you could report extremely inaccurate statistics on your quarterly or monthly reports.  The “Reach” and “People Talking About This” sections of Facebook Insights can be especially deceiving, since the statistics shown in these sections use unique metrics.  This means that the weekly and monthly statistical totals displayed are not simply sums of the daily totals.
To put this into perspective, let’s say that there were 100 people talking about your page for each day of February.  Chances are that the number of people talking about your page for the entire month of February will not add up to 2,800 – the actual number will be much lower.  The reason for this is that the 2,800 stories about your page in February most likely did not come 2,800 unique people.  The same metrics apply to Reach, the number of people who have seen content from your page on their Facebook feeds.
One unfortunate aspect of Facebook Insights is that data can only be displayed in daily, 7-day, or 28-day time periods.  This could make creating a quarterly or monthly report based on these statistics particularly difficult.  Nathan Linnel, a writer for Search Engine Watchsuggests four options for dealing with this limitation of the Insights feature, though he admits none of them are completely ideal.
  • Option 1:  Assuming you are reporting over a monthly period, use the 28-day value working forward from the last day of the month.  While this method omits data from the first two to three days of the month, it can be advantageous in that it provides consistent, accurate data.
  • Option 2:  Again, in the case of a monthly reporting period, use data from the last 28 days of the month and make an attempt to estimate data for the first two or three days.  This method will allow you to calculate values that represent a full month better than option 1 but to some degree of inaccuracy, given the estimated data of the first few days.
  • Option 3:  Use only Facebook Insights that use non-unique metrics when reporting at the page level.  This means that you would use Impressions and Stories instead of Reach and People Talking About This, respectively.  You can use unique metrics for any reporting done at the Post level, since Post level metrics are measured using lifetime values.
  • Option 4: Add up all the daily values for the months while providing a disclaimer that the monthly Reach and People Talking About This values are highly inaccurate (however, Linnel advises against using this option).
None of these solutions are perfect, but they should at least give you some starting points for using Facebook Insights data to adequately meet your reporting needs.
While we understand that no analytics system is perfect, we always advocate the use of metrics and realistic goal-setting to determine the worth of all of your marketing campaigns, even those on social media.  inSegment’s Social Media Marketing services are fully measurable, so that our clients know exactly what their ROI is.  And yes, we use Facebook Insights to measure our own page’s success!

Reasons Your Company Should Be on Tumblr

With Google rumored to be de-indexing blogs from search engine result pages and the search algorithms in the near future, many people are left wondering as to how to best avoid being penalized. Well it seem that all eyes have now turned to rising superstar blogging platform Tumblr.

For those of you who aren’t sure what Tumblr is, it is essentially a very-easy-to-use, free, blogging platform which has seen incredible growth in the last year. Boasting over 15 billion page views per month across its platform, many companies and individuals have been quite active, as you can imagine. It is one of the easier platforms to interact with presently and, unlike other blogging forums users can follow each other in a similar fashion to how they would on Twitter.

Quite a few social media-related applications provide a service which can push data, whether it be an article or a photo, to Tumblr. The popular, and now Facebook-owned, application Instagram is one such application but other services like WordPress do this as well via plug-ins such as this one. Unlike most WordPress sites where tag clouds only apply to the internal part of the website, Tumblr uses a global tag system enabling one to find other posts and blogs which match specific clouds of keywords. This makes it easier for people to find your account or your content (re-blogging a post only takes a fraction of a second, by the way).

And if the advantages above weren’t enough to convince you, there are official Tumblr apps on both Android and iOS platforms. Tumblr has a highly-developped API that is present in loads of other free tools and clients on the market. This platform shows no signs of slowing down either and keeps adding new themes and new features constantly. While this may not be the ultimate blogging solution, it definitely cannot be ignored whether it be to tap into your native, target audience or for SEO and SEM purposes.  Lastly, based on an article and graph originally posted on TheNextWeb, it appears that the traffic from Tumblr sites will exceed that one of blogs by year’s end (the current project date is October 12th, 2012):

Google Trends Search Volume & Tumblr

Speaking of which, we at inSegment are proud to introduce our recently created Tumblr page which can be found here. Feel free to follow us on it in order to stay up-to-date on our posts by hitting the ‘+ Follow’ button on the top right.

Facebook Buys Instagram

This week started off with a pretty big move in the world of social media. Facebook purchased the photo sharing app Instagram for a whopping 1 billion dollars. Facebook is going to be made public soon and its purchase of Instagram was likely a move to add value to the company in the eyes of potential investors. With this acquisition Facebook has just become a big player in the mobile industry.

Many applauded the purchase as a good business move on the part of Facebook. One group, however, has not been as enthusiastic: the Instagram users. Instagram appeals to a very specific target market; young, smartphone users who consider themselves to be at least semi-artistic. Facebook caters to a very broad market comprised of people of varying ages and demographics. Many Instagram users have made it very clear that they are now planning to abandon the service because they are convinced that Facebook will “ruin” it. The NY Times covered some Instagramer’s responses to the deal via Twitter. Many users claimed that they were going to “quit” Instagram as they had quit Facebook in the past.

If these people are to be believed what does this tell us? Well, it means that Instagram users are not Facebook users. But, are Facebook users potential Instagram users? Chances are that Facebook thinks so and that this drove them to purchase the company. So far it seems that this assumption was well founded. Over the last 10 days the app has seen a tremendous jump from 30 million to 40 million users. Which is 1 million new users a day. Which is pretty impressive. Some of this activity could be contributed to the release of the Instagram app for Android phones but considering that Facebook has over 100 million users it is far more likely that Facebook users have begun to take more of an interest in the app since Facebook purchased it.

Since timeline became mandatory Facebook has become far more visually focused so the purchase of photography based app makes more sense now than ever before. While loyal fans of Instagram might stop using the service it is likely that Facebook users will make up these numbers and then some.

(Source: blog.insegment.com)

Brands and Timeline

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Since the recent Facebook switch to the timeline structure many brands and social media marketers are trying to leverage the new layout in the most creative and engaging way possible. The goal of brand pages remains the same: to increase customer engagement while providing their loyal fan base with excellent content. However, with the new layout brands need to approach this goal differently. Keeping in mind the new features and opportunities introduced by timeline, brands should start to think about how they can uniquely leverage these features and stand out.

Timeline pushes brands to revamp their brand pages in order to align with the new purpose of the layout. Timeline adds new features such as cover photos, and new opportunities for promotion including selective pinning and selective app showcasing. Brands now need to create strategies to integrate these new features and re-create their brand pages in the most effective way possible.

Cover photos:

A cover photo is the single most noticeable feature on a timeline brand page. It eats up the majority of the real estate above the fold. In this way, cover photos assume importance which requires a marketer to invest thought and effort in selecting one. The cover photo represents the brand, its image and reputation. Here are two examples of cover photos that both attract attention and remain relevant to the brand image and page goals.

Nike Facebook

Livestrong Facebook

The Nike cover photo showcases a product, in this case the company’s newest shoe (as shown in a screenshot taken from Nike’s Facebook page). The Livestrong cover photo is a unique and attractive graphic design that communicates the spirit of the brand.

Some brands also take advantage of the word “timeline” in its literal sense. Burberry, for example, has done a great job of creating its brand page from a chronological perspective.

Burberry Facebook

The tab on the right of a brand’s page is an actual timeline that traces all the way back to the start of the brand. The date of foundation can be altered to reflect the actual foundation date of the organization or brand. Burberry has also posted pictures and announcements which reflect events throughout the brand’s history.

Timeline has eliminated the luxury of a custom landing page for brands. Now, the default page for all brands is the timeline. However, a new feature called pinning lets you showcase things that you want your customers to spend more time on. Items that you pin take up the entire width of the page and stay on top for 7 days, irrespective of new items that you post after the pinned items. These pinned items could be videos or images which make brand pages more interactive.

Coke Facebook

The above screen shot taken from Coke’s brand page is an example of what a pinned item looks like. These items are things that you want your customers to pay special attention to and they should be both graphically interesting as well as meaningful to your brand message.

Timeline provides brands with a more enhanced and more interactive story telling capabilities. It enables brands and organizations to think creatively, stand out against other brands.

Brands that adopted Timeline early tend to have high brand recognition and high user engagement. That is, they see more likes on their page now, more people talking per post and an overall increase in traffic. Some brands that comply with the above conclusion are Livestrong, Red Bull, Macy’s, Sears and Toyota.