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BRANDE : blog archives for June 2015

June 22, 2015

Report: Social and Mobile Marketing Are on the Rise

Salesforce just released its 2015 State of Marketing report, and the results are very intriguing for online marketers, recruiters, and branding professionals. As Salesforce put it: “Marketers are shifting attention from traditional metrics like conversion rates to metrics that better reflect customer satisfaction.” More fascinating findings are below.

Salesforce surveyed thousands of marketers around the world and found that the top metric for digital marketing success was “return on investment” at 32% — but followed close behind by “customer satisfaction” at 30%. “Customer retention” was just as important as “customer acquisition,” with both rated at 23%.

Salesforce - Metrics for success

Marketers aren’t just engaging online; they’re listening, too

Some of the ways that companies are seeking customer-oriented success stand out to me. 44% are using social media engagement, which Salesforce separates from social media listening at 37%. Just a few spaces down, 38% of marketers use blogging as a strategy, 37% use videos, 31% use content marketing, and 15% use podcasts, of all things. This proves that there are a number of compelling, innovative, and just plain fun ways of reaching your audience online. I also find it interesting that social media listening rated a “very effective or effective” rate of 68%, the highest on the list, tied with email marketing. Are you using social media listening software in your marketing or recruiting efforts?

The importance of social marketing

Globally, the value of social media marketing is becoming more clear. 66% of marketers now believe social marketing is core to their business, and the same portion now have a dedicated team managing their social media efforts. Perhaps most significantly, the number of marketers who categorize social as a primary revenue source has doubled since last year.

What channels are brand using? The top five are Facebook (80%), Twitter (70%), LinkedIn (62%), Google Plus and YouTube (both at 56%). But the Salesforce report discovered a range of new or niche channels, including Line (11%), MySpace (17%), Flickr (20%), and Snapchat (13%). As for the most effective social marketing, only one site beat out simply “videos” at 81% — a site called Tagged, “the social network for meeting new people” (86%).

Salesforce - Currently using social sites

This proves not only that your organization needs to be on the “big five,” but that you should look for other sites that better reflects your brand or speaks to your audience. Along with text posts and blog articles, consider photos, videos, infographics, podcasts, and specific content for sites like Vine, Line, and SlideShare.

Mobile finally makes a big splash

Salesforce’s headline is “The Year of Mobile Has Arrived — For Real This Time,” and the numbers back that up. In 2014, only 23% of marketers were using some form of mobile marketing (like apps, SMS, or location-based functions). In 2015, that number has doubled to 46%. 58% of organizations (and 73% of US organizations) have a dedicated team for mobile marketing — which means that more than half of all brands have specific stakeholders for both social and mobile, a crazy concept five years ago. If your marketing department is too small, it may be time to bring in an agency partner to manage at least one of these important initiatives.

I also find it interesting that 35% of marketers consider just “brand awareness” a metric for success. That means that even non-profits or B2B brands without a retail location can still leverage mobile to expand your customer base and increase revenue.

Salesforce - Marketing ROI

Looking ahead to 2016

The cost of inaction in social and mobile marketing looks to climb higher. Three of the top five areas of increased spending for American companies are in social media; another is in location-based mobile tracking. When asked which technologies are “most critical to creating a cohesive customer journey,” 52% of marketers named mobile applications. And since responsive design can lead to a 130% increase in clicks for emails read on a mobile device, 68% of marketers say responsive design is “absolutely critical” or “very important” to their email marketing campaigns. Another 46% always or often integrate responsive design into their website landing pages. Thus, even “old” marketing methods like email and websites are being affected by social media and mobile devices.

According to the report, the third-biggest challenge for all marketers around the world is “remaining up to date with current marketing technology and trends.” Brandemix has had great success with online marketing, branding, and recruiting efforts with organizations of all sizes. Check out our portfolio or contact us for more information. And be sure to download the full Salesforce State of Marekting report here.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.

June 16, 2015

Why Zillow is a Social Media Superstar

I’m always on the lookout for brands that are doing innovative things in social media. My latest find combines great marketing, customer service, and employer branding for an authentic, compassionate experience. See how Zillow engages customers, job-seekers and employees through inventive social strategies.

Shining a spotlight on Facebook comments

As I always tell clients, social media is a conversation. It’s not a one-way billboard to blast out your message. Still, many companies post great content on Facebook but then ignore the comments, which conveys a lack of interest or care in their fans.

Not Zillow. Their social media tip is quick to respond to comments, questions, and complaints. A glance at their Facebook page shows replies throughout the comment section of every post — often within a few hours of the original query. Most wisely direct the fan to an email address for more thorough and private assistance. Some have nothing to do with recovery; one follower simply commented “I [heart] Zillow,” to which the company responded “You’re too kind! We’d love to send a little something your way to say thanks for using Zillow. Mind sending your mailing address to surprise@zillow .com?” The company gave a prize to a follower just for posting two words and an emoji!

Zillow responds to comments on Facebook

Providing a resource on Twitter

No one follows a brand’s Twitter account to receive marketing messages all day long. Zillow uses Twitter as a platform for educating their followers about real estate. Along with property listings, the company links to Zillow-authored articles, from general pieces like “Why Your Rent is More Expensive Than Ever” and to decorating tips like “Top Outdoor Patio Trends for 2015.”

As a tech company, Zillow has been quick to jump on some of the latest innovations. Just weeks after the debut of Periscope, Twitter’s live-streaming video function, Zillow hosted a behind-the-scenes Periscope session of its Hack Week event. The result of all these efforts is a diverse feed of information, photos, and videos that conveys both personality and authority ot the brand, instead of just a stream of houses for sale.

Responding to reviews both good and bad

Social media is more than just Twitter and Facebook. Review sites like Yelp and Foursquare qualify as well, since they let users post updates and share content with each other. Like most tech companies, Zillow has a presence on Glassdoor, the review site for jobs. Unlike virtually every other company, Zillow’s CEO, Spencer Rascoff responds to employees’ reviews on the site. Even the negative ones that include “Disapprove of the CEO” and “Run by a spineless leader” in the headline.

The responses are honest and caring, with Rascoff thanking the employees (who are anonymous) for their opinion and their time at Zillow. Sometimes it’s the CTO or the HR Director who responds. Sometimes they include an email address and invite the employee to privately discuss their concerns. It’s an incredibly bold and rare bold philosophy that speaks volumes about the company’s culture and values.  Perhaps as a result, the company has a Glassdoor rating of 4.2 out of 5, while Rascoff enjoys a 98% approval rating.

Employer branding though social media

Zillow’s Facebook page includes a Jobvite app for job applications. It allows job-seekers to search and apply for positions at Zillow all over the country and to sign up for job alerts. The app also lets job-seekers “like” the job listings, which makes it visible to their friends, or to send a listing to a Facebook friend, making it a great referral system. Jobvite’s plug-in is simple and powerful, but not many companies I encounter use it; by doing so, Zillow stands out among its competitors.

Zillow’s Twitter also sometimes veers into recruiting, with posts about employee perks and photos of employee events. Zillow has rightly assumed that its potential workers come from its fan base, who follow real estate news even if they’re not buying or selling.

Zillow tweets about employee perk

 

Zillow’s social media efforts have paid off: 272,000 Twitter followers, 1.36 million Facebook likes. The company’s Klout score is 82, putting it on the same level as comedian Amy Schumer and the New York Islanders hockey team. From Periscope to Jobvite, from fast responses to useful information, Zillow has built a brand of honesty, education, and fun. For all these reasons, I name it a Social Media Superstar.

Want your social media campaigns to reach superstar status? Contact Brandemix for help.

Jason Ginsburg is Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix.

June 8, 2015

How to Create the Most Shareable Content

A recent study by KPCB found that, worldwide, people are sharing more than  two trillion gigabytes of content. That means that every content marketer or social recruiter is facing a lot of competition for content. What sort of content should you create? And how can you give it the best chance of being shared? Here are the latest strategies.

Post in the right places 

Industry expert ShareThis — creator of the widget that allows for sharing on 120 social channels — released an eye-opening study that showed Facebook now makes up 84% of all internet sharing. Twitter is next at about 6%, with Blogger at 5% and Pinterest at 3%. Email makes up less than 1% of all sharing, even though many emails include buttons like ShareThis.

Despite Facebook’s domination of all sharing, the study found that it’s actually Pinterest that boasts the most sharing in a number of categories: food & drink, beauty & fitness, home & garden, and shopping. Twitter does best with sports (the games are perfect for live-tweeting) and even beats Facebook in the news category. So if your organization is in any of the Pinterest-leaning fields, or if you have visual content like photos, cartoons, or infographics, you should post them on both Facebook and Pinterest for a one-two punch.

Social Sharing from ShareThis

Create shareable video content

Once again, Facebook wins, with more than 80% of all video sharing taking place there, according to Socialbakers. In just  the past year, YouTube has dropped from about 35% of video sharing to under 20%. In fact, more videos are uploaded to Facebook every day than are posted on YouTube. The best strategy for video content marketing may be to upload videos to your YouTube channel and then share them via Facebook.

Noticeably absent from both these categories: Instagram. Though it has more than 60 million users in the US, it doesn’t seem to be a factor in sharing, probably since the platform simply isn’t designed for it.

Both the ShareThis and KPCB studies show the importance of mobile sharing. Engagement makes up just 6.7% of desktop activity, but it accounts for 13.3% of tablet activity and 20.2% of smartphone activity. Together, mobile devices make up 65% of all social sharing. The typical user checks social media on their phone nine times a day, but checks the web on their computer only three times.

Socialbakers video sharing

Don’t forget audio!

Video gets all the attention, but don’t forget about audio; 12 hours of sound are uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. So consider creating speeches, podcasts, and audio-only versions of webinars along with your YouTube videos.

Keep in mind what’s meant by “social sharing.” I agree with Ford’s social media director, Scott Monty, who believes that the “like” is the “minimum comment you can ask from a fan.” Comments are the next best, with a share being the ideal interaction. Keep that hierarchy in mind when analyzing your metrics.

What’s the real-world value of all this sharing?

A 2014 AddShoppers study concluded that a Facebook like is worth $1.41, while a Facebook share is worth $3.58. A Pinterest share comes in at 87 cents, followed by a Twitter retweet at 85 cents. Yet somehow looming above them all? Google Plus, with a value of $5.08 per share — possibly due to the rarity of such a thing. By comparison, AddShoppers determined that an old-fashioned email share is worth an amazing $12.10.

EventBrite came up with its own breakdown for the purchase of an event ticket: A share on LinkedIn is worth 92 cents; a retweet is worth $1.85; and a Facebook share is worth $4.15. This means you’ll have to get away from creating “clickbait” articles that generate clicks and views but no interactions. And no matter how you look at it, content marketing via social media has a financial value and should be part of your overall strategy.

Eventbrite social share value

As for the type of content to produce, Likeable Local’s CEO Dave Kerpen recently delineated seven important qualities. The more of these your content has, the more shareable it becomes:

Consistent — Post regularly so readers know when to expect your content.
Useful — Find a way to help, educate, or entertain your readers.
Authentic  — Be honest and real instead of writing press releases for your company.
Emotional — The most shareable content often tugs our heartstrings.
Where the audience is — Find the right channels using the statistics given above.
Paid for — Add Facebook’s sponsored posts and Twitter’s promoted tweets to your strategy.
Storytelling — Tell the true stories behind your company, its leadership, and its employees.

Need help determining what content to create and where to post it? Brandemix has a long history of using shareable content to support marketing, branding, and recruiting campaigns. Contact me if you’d like to know more.

Jody Ordioni is President of Brandemix.