In the current age of information, statistics reign supreme. Organisations rely heavily on data metrics for almost all business processes, from product development to marketing – and everything between. But what if the social media data that you analyse is the wrong kind of data? How would that impact your present business operations and your plans for the future?
What are social media metrics?
Metrics are quantity-based measurable data sets that can be used to provide information on a range of business activities. However, not all data metric types are created equal. Some figures are accurate and indicative while others, although they may be correct, provide irrelevant and/or misleading information. Based on the type of info provided, these data sets fall into two broad categories, namely: Vanity Metrics and Engagement Metrics.
Metrics: Vanity vs. Engagement
Vanity metrics: Vanity metrics are statistics that provide general information, and are usually too broad or vague to have tangible business impact. Figures such as page likes and average user time are examples of vanity metrics. While on the surface theses stats may seem impressive, they don’t actually tell you much about your active client base. For instance, “average time spent” includes the time that your page may be left open for hours by users that have no intention to purchase. But, the bad news doesn’t stop there. As vanity-based records are easily manipulated, the figures you see may be fabricated altogether. This is done by unethical methods such as buying bulk followers. Such followers are not actual people, but rather fake or automated accounts. Unfortunately, the rude awakening for businesses is only likely to arrive when it’s too late.
Engagement Metrics: Engagement metrics are relevant and factual statistics that provide valuable insight into your market. While these numbers are much more conservative that vanity data, engagement metrics are reliable and functional when it comes to practical application within the business environment. It is not only to the type of data, but also the level of detail that engagement metrics offer, that promotes knowledge-based decision making.
Engagement metric sets reflect how real people interact with your brand. Reports can be customised to show only relevant audience sectors in terms of your business’s geographic areas of operation and defined customer criteria. This helps to provide a more realistic indication of your actual consumer market. Furthermore, analysing your engaging audience demographic may reveal additional untapped audience segments to target for expansion. You can can review the success rate of different marketing approaches to maximise the efficiency of future activities. In addition, you can gain access to competitor social media information as well.
Engagement Metrics & Business Strategy
When it comes to business strategy, it is clear that the data type used has a serious impact on the success or failure of a venture. Make certain that the reports provided by your social media team reflect engagement metrics customised for your organisation’s specific requirements. Such statistics need to be critically assessed and interpreted by decision makers. Social media activities should be aligned with your business objectives, and marketing campaigns reviewed to determine return on investment. The analytic tools offered by social media are incredibly valuable, but only if they are used correctly. Tap into the wealth of information offered and reap the rewards that follow.
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What is Disruptive Marketing?
Disruptive marketing refers to communication that is considered intrusive by the recipient.
These are generally outbound mass marketing messages, usually with a hard-sell approach. Traditional forms of interruptive promotional activities include unsolicited sales calls, print marketing and even billboards. Online pop-up ads, push-messages and spammy emails are digital methods that cause disruption.
Intrusive and Interruptive
Marketing Does Not Work
Well, for starters, it’s annoying. No one wants to be interrupted by an unwanted and/or irrelevant message. Think about the fact that movies on paid television channels are ad-free, or that web browsers have ad-blocker settings. Some businesses, however, still disregard this trend and continue to use push-marketing tactics. These type of “force-feeding” practices are not well received by consumers who feel that the brand does not respect their time or preferences as an individual.
Customer needs and desires have also changed over the years. More so with the emergence of increasingly demanding consumer segments (such as Millennials), as well as the growing use of digital platforms by clients. These evolved audiences have little tolerance for self-absorbed interruptive brand messaging. An irrelevant or unwanted advertisement will be ignored and the marketer regarded with disdain. And once this negative view is established, it is very difficult to connect with such a client in the future as they become unresponsive to any further communication sent by the brand.
In addition to customer behaviour, mass marketing is not good for business. Media ad space is expensive, yet does not provide factual data in terms of returns. Untargeted messaging is not an effective use of resources due to excessive wastage. And with ad-blocking device and app functions on the rise, an increasing percentage of “push” communication messages will not even be seen by the intended recipients.
Alternative Solution to Disruptive Marketing
The essence of successful marketing lies in ensuring customer expectations are met. Social media is an ideal way to communicate with consumers in a non-intrusive and client-based manner. It allows you to connect to your audience, as opposed to just pushing promotional material onto them.
Social media is considered a permission-based form of marketing as clients can choose to opt in for more communication by liking or following a page. Engaging and interesting content that is targeted to a relevant audience leads to them choosing to continue receiving messaging from the brand. Quality page posts that add value (for example: articles, tips and guides) pulls consumers in promotes positive customer sentiment. Once users see that the business is client-focused and useful, they are significantly more open to brand marketing messages related to products or services.
Users are also able to discover a brand’s page through search engines. This generates inbound audiences that have an existing interest in the business’s offering. The interactive nature and two-way communication channels offered by social media further assist in allowing inbound communication from client to business. Also, the business’s page contains a history of brand activities including value-adds and information. This is a form of storytelling that lets new or inbound audiences see the “bigger picture” and get a sense of overall brand identity. And I’m sure you will agree that it is highly more effective than a traditional broadcast ad or print ad viewed in isolation.
From a business perspective, social media returns far outweigh other forms of mass marketing. As audiences can be targeted for maximum relevance, investment is efficiently used. Targeting is especially significant for brands with a niche market or a business-to-business model as it provides a viable way to reach specific clients without having high wastage typical of traditional methods. Reports provide measurable data so that you know what you are paying for.
Quite frankly, in the current market climate driven by client needs, there is no room for business-centric hard-sell approaches characteristic of disruptive promotional messages. Communication has to be focused on meeting customer demands in order for brand marketing to succeed. Social media supports the entire client journey, creating a platform to attract and retain customers. It also delivers positive results through effective, objective-based planning of activities. Invest in your social media presence and compare the results – we are confident that you will be pleased at the outcome.
We would love to chat you to about your business requirements over a cup of coffee.
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How can you provide killer customer service that attracts and retains clients? While this seems like loaded question dealing with a complex issue, the answer is amazingly simple:
Find out what your customers want and give it to them.
How, you ask? The solution is staring you in the face – literally. By using the social media platforms at your fingertips. Global statistics show an increasing use of social media as the preferred consumer service platform. We look at the reasons leading to this growth, as well as highlight some of the benefits offered by social media when it comes to your customer support services.
67% of companies believe social customer service is the most pressing short-term priority for contact centres. (Sprout)
Why social media?
Location, location, location. As mentioned, social media is where your clients are – therefore, it should be your base of operations as well. But that’s not the only reason. Social media opens up a wealth of functions and tools that can be used to substantially upgrade your service delivery. Used effectively, it not only elevates client satisfaction levels, but also supports your core business objectives.
What are the benefits?
Improved Customer Service
Customers have a single point of contact for basic service issues such as queries or complaints. This reduces frustration experienced via other methods (such as dealing with multiple people telephonically or via email). The written online conversation can be referred back to by both the client and business staff, thus avoiding miscommunication and eliminating the need for repetition. The higher speed and response rate typical of social media platforms also boost client satisfaction levels.
Inclusive Customer Experience
“Customer Experience” or CX refers to the client’s total interaction with a brand from the first point of contact and throughout all subsequent interactions. Social Media allows you to engage with all consumers i.e. not just those who contact you with a query or complain. Content such as product updates, tips, advice and information form part of the client support services provided by the brand. This inclusive ongoing flow of communication helps customers feel more connected and part of a niche “community”, as well as positions the business as a client-focused organisation.
Social media gives you the opportunity to connect with customers on a one-on-one basis. Personal, direct contact helps clients feel that the business cares about them as an individual and appreciates their support. This fosters positive feelings towards the brand, promoting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Improve Business Quality
Using social media for customer service does not just improve your support in isolation. It leads to uplifting the quality of the organisation as a whole. The interactive nature of social media gives consumers a voice to state their needs and wants. Considering that a business only exists because of its customers, the value of basing actions on customer preference leads not only to happier clients that are loyal to the brand, but also business success and growth.
Customer service is rapidly becoming the definitive consumer consideration impacting business success. Businesses that fail to meet customer expectations are likely to lose out to competitors that do. Social media provides the solution you need to not only boost service quality, but positively enhance overall brand experience for your customers.
Why use social media? The real question is: “Why not?”
It’s surprising how many companies out there have not yet adapted to changing client and market conditions, and are subsequently damaging their brand without even realising it. Although global trends are moving more and more towards digital media channels – specifically social media platforms – some business owners have still not adjusted their business processes to embrace this market evolution.
Here are 5 ways you could be hurting your brand without even realising it:
Neglecting Social Media
Reluctance to adapt to change is a natural human response. In business, one of the key areas of neglect is a brand’s social media presence. The risk? Underestimating the impact of social media could leave you a step behind at best or, at worse, prove to be detrimental – regardless of the size of your organisation. By not using social media to its full potential, you are limiting your brand’s growth opportunities and losing a valuable competitive advantage. When used effectively, social media activities substantially contribute towards organisational goals such as increasing brand awareness, improving customer service and achieving bottom line objectives. Critically assess your marketing plans and ensure that your social media platforms are used optimally to support your various business functions.
Poor Customer Service
Clients are growing increasingly demanding, expecting service at a continually higher speed and quality level. Whether the communication is a general query (such as product availability) or a serious complaint, customers insist on quick and personal resolution. Inefficient customer service processes are likely to cause serious damage to your brand’s reputation due to resulting negative commentary from unhappy clients. Social media offers an excellent way to connect with customers in a speedy, direct and solution-driven manner. In addition to dealing with customer complaints and queries, you are also able to respond positively to compliments by clients, thereby showing appreciation to your supporters and promoting continued brand loyalty. The personal touch offered by social media can go a long way to improving customer sentiment and brand positioning based on the content and service that you deliver to clients via this channel.
Lack of value-add to clients
The brands that get ahead in the current tough economic climate are those that take an intensive customer-centric approach. By employing value-add elements that benefit the client in some way (e.g. social media messaging that includes tips or advice), the business is seen as useful and worth following. Such value-rich content tends to be shared by followers, resulting in the brand being exposed to a larger audience organically. Pure product or service promotion does not have the same share potential, and is likely to result in audience members un-following your page after a short period of time. A balance between marketing communication and enriching content needs to be carefully strategised to achieve maximum business benefit.
Non-targeted or generalised marketing not only wastes money (as only a part of the audience reached is of relevance to your brand), but it also does not provide sufficient data regarding the success of each marketing activity. For example, are people buying your product because of a television ad, print ad or because your store-front is attractive? Or maybe it’s none of the above at all? Targeted marketing such as audience selection, on the other hand, serves a dual purpose: it not only ensures that you invest efficiently by focusing spend on your core target market, but it also shows you the success of each marketing campaign or advertisement by providing accurate and detailed feedback data. Thus, you get a higher return on investment as well as crucial insight in terms of your customer base.
Use of Insufficient or Inaccurate Data
Statistical information is core to every business decision: whether the objective is to save a struggling business, grow a successful one or diversify an existing organisation. Using assumptions, insufficient or inaccurate data are clearly dangerous practices. Plans built on such “bad intel” could result in a substantial financial loss and even complete failure of the business entity in question. Effective planning requires relevant, accurate and qualitative data that can assist with decision making, such as demographic breakdown of actual purchasing customers, market segmentation and consumer behaviour. Reporting based on engagement metrics are an excellent source of indicative and precise figures to aid in business strategy and development.
Success-driven business strategy incorporates all elements that have the potential to positively impact organisational goals. Make sure your brand is utilising the tools and resources available for maximum benefit and to gain an invaluable edge within your industry.
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2018 is the year that social media will take over the world. The key to survival? Be prepared!
To stay ahead of the pack, you need to keep up with the latest social media trends such as user behaviour, new technology and consumer demands.
Below are the social media trends that are set to have a major impact this year:
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE USER EXPERIENCE
Social media users are an increasingly discerning and demanding bunch. “Winging it” will not work – messaging must be strategically planned, crafted and executed. Content should be compelling, engaging, creative and visually appealing in order to succeed, with brand consistency and exceptional quality underlying all activities.
Marketing will be more target-based, making use of not just demographic info, but factors like user lifestyle (e.g. interest in sport), media consumption habits (via mobile, on the move etc) and real-time behaviour (e.g. status change to “single”) as well. From a user perspective, content received is expected to be more relevant and personal than ever.
Improved Customer Service:
It’s do or die when it comes to customer service and responsiveness. Falling short will put a brand’s reputation at risk as users waste no time in venting their frustrations online. On the upside, excellent customer service will be rewarded by loyalty and positive public commentary by clients. Long term customer relationships and community building will also become more vital areas of focus by social media managers.
INFLUENCER MARKETING & ENDORSEMENT
2018 will see a shift towards more authentic and transparent messaging, driven by customer demands and sentiment. Influencers need to be genuine, representative of the brand and maintain a level of integrity in terms of their social media presence.
Organisations are also seeing the potential of using their employee base as a valuable resource to inspire consumer trust. Effective employee amplification techniques that help position staff as brand ambassadors, and even industry experts, help in promoting brand objectives.
DIRECT MESSAGING & CHATBOTS
Direct consumer contact:
As the need for personal interaction increases, social media is moving towards a higher volume of one-to-one client communication, with brands set to channel more resources into apps and platforms that facilitate direct interaction with consumers.
There will be a tangible increase in the use of Facebook Messenger services such as Ads (running ads directly through Facebook, thus eliminating the need to obtain email addresses for direct marketing) and Bots. Facebook in general will see a rise in business-based application including targeted paid promotions.
Until now, bots have been a “nice to have” option mainly used by larger brands. This year, however, will see a breakthrough in the mainstream use of chatbots by brands across the board. Well-setup bot automation has been shown to substantially improve business productivity, reduce costs and improve customer service.
While 2017 stats already revealed a surge in the use of videos, this year video usage will be taken to a whole new level. Compelling Live Streaming content will become an integral tool for organic reach, especially with the new Facebook News Feed algorithm set for activation in early 2018.
The Long and Short of it:
Longer format and storytelling-style videos (such as Instagram Stories) are set gain popularity this year. On the flip side, a rise in the use of ephemeral content (posts that are short-lived, such as Snapchat videos) will shake up the social media sphere by creating an urgency to view before it disappears a few hours after it is posted.
DATA & CONSUMER INSIGHT
Techniques like social listening are growing in importance as companies are under pressure to gain a competitive edge. By leveraging off user generated content, brands can gain insight leading to improved customer service, increased user engagement and more effective marketing strategies.
Other 2018 social media trends include added integration with online purchasing (e.g. Instagram Shoppable posts), improved business-based functionality within the various platforms and an overall increase in social media users globally. It’s no wonder that brands are investing more and more resources into their social media presence.
For companies that have not yet finalised their social media budget, experts suggest that a minimum 20% – 25% of total marketing spend should be allocated to social media activities. Whether in-house or outsourced, social media is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. Make sure you harness the awesome power it offers to make it work for your brand.
Social Media 101: The social media specialists
What is the new Facebook algorithm all about?
Facebook has announced a new change to its algorithms, starting with the News Feed element. This will affect how content appears on each users personal News Feed. At the moment, much of the organic content seen is based on a user’s behaviour on the platform. For example: a person that previously clicked to view a page post gets served more content from that page. This includes public content from business pages.
The new Facebook algorithm will instead be based on what Facebook deems as useful content, prioritising network contacts and high engagement posts. One-on-one communication and posts from Facebook contacts will increase while public content from brands or business pages will drop. Facebook’s aim is to enhance the user experience and personal interaction between individuals while reducing business-based passively consumed messages.
Continuing our focus for 2018 to make sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent… Last week I…
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, 19 January 2018
How will the new Facebook News Feed settings impact my brand?
Firstly, the information provided by Facebook is quite vague. So at this point, outcomes of the change are based on predictions until we get solid facts.
Disclaimer aside, the projected negative impact faced by brands include reduced organic reach potential and increased competition. This means that more paid promotion will be necessary in order to get the required audience exposure. As the user experience takes precedence over brand marketing, content strategy will have to be adapted to meet this shift.
What can I do to improve my brand’s News Feed ranking on Facebook?
While we don’t know for sure how drastically the changes will impact business pages, it’s best to take a proactive approach. To win, quality of content is imperative. Posts need to be crafted to be visually appealing, have high engagement potential and add value to the end user. The type of media used is also important – Live Videos have a much higher reach than static images, for example. Therefore, great video content is likely to get more organic views in general.
Audience targeting has to be razor focused on people that have a genuine interest in your product or service. As priority will be given to network communication, setting up groups will not only increase your reach, but will also encourage authentic engagement from members.
What could Facebook’s changes mean for marketing in general?
While we await the implementation of the new Facebook algorithm and the results of this change, I can’t help but consider what this means for the progression of consumer marketing as a whole. The approach taken by Facebook may prove prophetic in predicting the future of business practices.
As consumers grow increasingly demanding, and the brands that excel will be the ones that meet client needs best. If the Facebook methodology is anything to go by, personalisation, emotive value and authenticity seem to be the key elements to brand success and customer loyalty. I suggest that you get a head-start by applying a genuine customer-centric approach to all organisation processes – beginning with your social media strategy.
Social Media 101: The social media specialists