7 Reasons why Social Media Monitoring is Vital for Your Brand

social-media-monitoring

Social Listening (i.e. Social Media Monitoring) has been cited in a recent survey of marketers as THE most important marketing trend of the next 12 months.

importance-of-social-listening

Actually, it’s a topic that’s been of vital importance ever since Social Media Marketing became a thing, and for good reason: consumers, as they do, may well already be talking about you and your brand online, and if you don’t know what they’re saying, they could do significant brand damage.

Here are 7 reasons why Social Media Monitoring is essential.

1 They May Already Be Talking About You, But You Don’t Know It

Fullers Ferries was criticised on Facebook in January 2017 by an unhappy patron (who also happens to be an Auckland city councillor):

When you don't listen for complaints in social media

The post garnered 44 reactions, 25 comments and 1 share. Unfortunately, none of those responses appear to be from anyone working for Fullers — and the tone of the comments is uniformly negative.

The discussion might have been more moderate if a company spokesperson had stepped in and responded to the issues raised. Unfortunately, the opportunity was lost.

2 They Are Talking About You, And You DO Know It

Sometimes, as in the example below, the complaints are directly addressed to the offending company.

when you actively monitor social media for complaints and concerns

If you’re addressed directly in social media (or if your social media monitoring is real-time and picks up a complaint or question), then you need to respond fast — ideally within an hour.

As David Alston of social monitoring software operators Radian6 notes:

Catching something early means getting a chance to show how responsive you are. A complaint is an opportunity to demonstrate problem-solving abilities. A posted complaint may also draw out other comments from people with the same concern, which provides an opportunity to reach out to them as well. And who knows, impressing customer with great customer service may generate some positive posts about how you resolved the problems.

3 You Can Listen for Expressed Needs

Sometimes, consumers will be talking about products or services that they need. If you’ve set up your monitoring keywords and terms correctly, you may be able to get in ahead of your competitors.

need-to-buy

The best way to watch for expressed needs is to look for keywords often used to describe those needs. People shout out what they are doing and ask the general public for advice occasionally when they are about to make a purchase. Both of these situations provide an opportunity to reach out with an offer of assistance or a free demo for example. While this may seem intrusive at first glance consider that great retail clerk who offers to help when you are trying to locate a pair of shoes in your size. A social media poster often appreciates that someone is listening and does not mind an offer of assistance especially if it’s done in a helpful way.

4 You Can Keep Tabs on What’s Trending

Topics will often pop up online that draw huge crowds from a page visits or commenting perspective. There is a lot to be learned in discussion threads especially when they have the potential to affect your brand. Following the swarms can give you a better understanding of current sentiment and thinking towards a certain topic and who the players are that have opinions on it. It also may point out a topic that you will need to monitor going forward. Tracking a topic’s viral nature and how long it lives can give you an idea of its relative importance. You may also decide to participate in the crowd discussion thread early in the process, giving your company exposure to those currently involved in the discussion and to those yet to join.

twitter-trends

You can see what’s trending near you on Twitter, just by visiting the front page of Twitter.com.

 

5 You Can Identify and Monitor Influencers

Influencers within a space can carry a lot of weight. They gain their power either from the number of times they post on a topic, the number of people who link to their posts on a topic, the number of people gathering to comment and how engaged visitors to their posts become. The hive that forms around an influencer helps spread an opinion on a brand faster and that opinion express potentially carries more weight. Often an influencer’s post appears prominently in a topic’s Google search results thus affecting the views of even more potential customers. Knowing who these influencers are and their opinions of your brands helps you determine who to reach out to for help as advocates or to understand why they currently hold a negative view.

shannon

Shannon (Shaaanxo) is a Kiwi influencer with million-plus followings on YouTube and Instagram

 

6 Get Early Warning of Potential Crises

Discussions happening in social media can serve as an early warning system before an issue goes mainstream. By using advanced tools you can observe new words popping more frequently about your brands. If you were an airline, as an example, the sudden appearance of the word “cancellations” along with the words “bad” and “customer service” would immediately trigger a need to drill into the posts driving them. Tracking these “crisis” words over time on a go forward basis would also then help gauge the effectiveness of any outreach campaigns to address the underlying issues.

crisis-early-warning

When prospective customers react this negatively, it’s time to reconsider your policy

 

7 Collect Social Proof

Sometimes, people actually say nice things in social media.

best-restaurant-ever

Compliments can come in many forms. It could be a congratulations message about a recent award. It could be a customer raving about the experience they just had with a product or with customer service. Social media compliments are the online equivalent of those old school references or testimonials of days past. Save all of these compliments in a list for future use. Potential clients looking for reassurance on a purchase decision would love to see what others think of your company and products.

 

What to Do When Things Go Bad

Even when you get into Reputation Management proactively, it won’t always go smoothly. Marty Weintraub, President of aimClear Search Marketing Agency, captured the moment in a presentation entitled “The Dark Side of Reputation Management”:

  • Expect to make mistakes. First, any active social marketer can expect to make mistakes which cost sleep, cause angst, and alienate others—it’s the reality of the game. Subscribe to the theory that “nothing ventured is nothing gained” and forgive yourself in advance for inevitable screw-ups. Social media is just that: social. Humans tend to be unpredictable, especially in groups. Anyone who dives into social media without accepting that the results will be a mixed-bag-learning-curve risks being prematurely discouraged at inevitable rejection. Hell, several record companies said “no” to Elvis. Not everyone is going to love you.
  • Do not lose your cool (or, stupid is as stupid does). This can’t be stressed enough. No matter what the appropriate PR crises response turns out to be, there is seldom equity in hasty emotional comebacks. It rarely works to respond during the heat of anger, so get a grip. When rejected, it’s normal to feel hurt, anger, sadness, and even rage. Count to 350, wait until tomorrow, eat some comfort food, or find another way to chill out..
    Not a good idea:
    belgian-beer-cafeIt’s true that some disasters require an immediate online response, but these instances are truly rare. There’s nearly always 5 minutes or 2 hours available to wait without impacting the ultimate outcome. Pay attention to emotional red flags and be the most mature party at the table.
  • Fight fire with water, not fire. When some social media twit unfairly flames your company (or you personally), it’s tempting to nuke them. As professional marketers we usually know the forums to post to, blogs to comment in, and have a good understanding of what it might take to completely trash someone in revenge. As human beings, we’re wired to defend the home turf by any means possible. That said, take a moment to distinguish the degree of response necessary. Fight the heat rising off the back your neck whilst your ears turn red and ask if a “high road” response will suffice in this situation.Often we advise clients to actually thank the flamer for initiating what could become a productive dialogue. There’s very little comeback for the provocateur if his or her rant is met with the response, “Thank you for the insight. We appreciate you raising your concern.” We’ve seen multiple cases where this tactic converts the provocateur to a friend. Online or off, this approach is a timeless technique for dealing with angry customers.
  • Don’t anger the natives. Preempt debacles by holistically participating wherever online networking takes you. Many—OK, most—passionate social community members either dislike or downright hate marketers. Their concerns are valid in many cases. Be a responsible social media marketer instead.Reckless or selfish marketers dilute the neighborhood content stream, wrecking it for everybody. This common phenomenon particularly irks long term tagging and bookmarking site users. Be cognizant of the norms. Give exponentially more than you take. Respect the indigenous cultural and join in to preserve what’s best about the community. Give a hoot—don’t content pollute.Never spam.Don’t bash the hornets’ nest (i.e., intentionally provoke). I should take my own advice about this one and will vouch for the fact that troll hunting makes for excellent sport. Don’t do it. One obvious method for avoiding a fight is not to start one. Taking the initiative to preemptively attack someone who hasn’t bothered you is an unfortunate tactic favored by losers.
  • Get input from others. It’s uncanny how approachable the “stars” in our business are to unknowns in need. I actually approached Danny Sullivan (a leading US Search Engine & Social Marketing guru), as I had heard him speak on this topic. He was completely unselfish and helpful in bringing the entire affair into perspective. I learned a thing or two about the mutually supportive qualities of our community. I have never met a competent social media expert who was unavailable to a respectful approach seeking insight in a difficult situation. When you’re in over your head, get advice from a master.
  • Don’t try to save the world if the injustice does not really matter. Get over it. It’s not your place to solve all the injustices on this green earth. Saving the planet is a time consuming endeavour and should only be partaken in the rarest of circumstances.
  • Cast your ego aside. A savvy lawyer gave me incredibly useful advice at my wedding. He said, “When my wife and I disagree, I tell her that she ‘might’ be right.” He pointed out that responding with a non-binding statement ceding to the other’s perspective really gives nothing away at all except respect. Success and peace is what matters, not who’s right.When you are attacked in social media and every fiber in your body wants to throttle someone because they’re so totally wrong, check your ego and take a breath. It doesn’t matter if your side “wins” if the flamers have already burnt your reputation down. It’s rather difficult to unring a bell.
  • Pre-plan to deal with crisis & opportunity. Ideally, it’s best to have a contingency plan in place for when things hit the fan. We teach clients to create a designated PR council, of which we’re a member. Depending on the size of your organization, this could be as basic as running the situation by your spouse or as complex as assembling the board of directors. Regardless of what’s appropriate in your situation, think ahead and have your resources lined up and ready to go.Out there on the street, there’s a palpable fear of user-generated media. Most marketers understand that at least some component of their marketing mix may indeed be somehow rooted in social media. A commitment to preemptive and responsive tactics to deal with negativity can be essential to overcoming apprehension.

We do offer a Social Media Monitoring service, to a limited number of clients. If you’d like to talk to us about your social media monitoring needs, drop us an email in the first instance to [email protected].

 

The Unfortunate Case of the Small Business Owner

unfortunate-small-business-owner

We were talking yesterday to a small business owner who made a chilling observation: “I decided that I was tired of paying for Google Adwords, so I simply stopped advertising. All of my enquiries and all my sales instantly stopped. Nothing.”

We asked the obvious question, “What about natural search results? Didn’t you get some traffic from that?”

Her reply: “I couldn’t even find myself on Google. I was somewhere about page four on the results.”

Needless to say, she quickly restarted her search advertising campaign and business went back to normal.

If there was ever a clear case for content marketing, combined with Search Engine Optimisation, this was it.

If you don’t feature interesting and (above all) relevant-to-your-customers’-pain-points content on your website, why would Google suggest your website to people looking to solutions for their problems?

Once you have suitable content on your website, it’s so much easier to optimise your website for search engines.

As we note in our just-published Content Marketing presentation:

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Content Marketing have always been two sides of the same coin. According to the BrightEdge Future of Content Report (June 2017), 97% of marketers believe that SEO and Content Marketing are converging or have already converged.

If a consumer is using Google or Bing to search for something, the search engines will always be looking for content that meets those specific search parameters. If you are writing content, you will only be effective — i.e. be found — if you use keywords and phrases that consumers are looking for.

Then you need to optimise your content — ensure that it’s in a format suitable for both search engines and human visitors.

Unfortunately, SEO is not a task that you can perform just once and then you’re sorted.

It would be wonderful if every prospective customer used the exact same words and phrases to refer to your products and services.

Yeah, nice dream, not gonna happen.

Then there’s the evolution of phraseology. Nowadays, consumers using voice search on mobile devices are far more conversational in their choices of search keywords. They tend to be less structured in their searching, confident that Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana (and Samsung’s new Bixby) are smart enough to understand what searchers actually mean.

In turn, marketers need to ensure that their content includes both formal and conversational keywords and phrases, to cater to the differing searches conducted across both desktop and mobile devices.

Oh yeah — and you also need to be aware that more and more of Google’s searches are being powered by RankBrain machine learning software, so you need to ask yourself “what would an artificial intelligence make of this sentence?” Do try to avoid the types of linguistic contortions that would trouble non-native speakers. No pressure.

If you want to avoid the unfortunate fate of that small business owner, we recommend that you check out our Content Marketing presentation (available now) and our Search Marketing presentation (due to be published at the end of this month).

Here’s what’s included in the Content Marketing presentation:

The presentation looks ahead at what marketers should expect and plan for in 2017 and 2018 — based on local and global trends you may not yet have had the opportunity to examine — turning those forecasts into a comprehensive report & slide deck in PowerPoint format (with accompanying notes) – information that you can easily present to your team and your clients, bringing everyone up to speed on the latest New Zealand Marketing Insights as we accelerate through what remains of 2017. All presentations are unbranded, so you can add your own branding and comments.

All of our presentations in this Marketing Insights series consist of at least 150 slides, dealing with as many key insights.

INSIDE “CONTENT MARKETING 2017”

Here’s a little taste of what the presentation covers:

  • The three types of content regarded as most important for effective content optimisation in 2017
  • The convergence of SEO and Content Marketing and what that means for marketing and communications professionals
  • Search intents across mobile and desktop, how and why they are different and the implications
  • The surprising new importance of voice search (and what marketers are doing about it)
  • What marketers think about artificial intelligence and its importance for the future of content marketing

And:

Content Marketing as Defensive Mechanism
So many people are talking — not always positively — about brands and companies online, and organisations don’t always get the chance to present their own point of view as part of that conversation. As a result, many are turning to Content Marketing as a means to get their message out there.

Talking to Your Own
Content marketing has also seen itself become an internal PR tool, used to communicate in a planned and more effective manner with staff, dealers and suppliers. How are you ensuring that your own people know what they should about your organisation?

Overcoming “Content Shock”
Even when marketers do invest in Content Marketing, there are challenges. One of the biggest challenge: getting heard out there, amongst the ever-increasing cacophony of social media posts, blogs, video and all. It’s been dubbed “Content Shock” — and we look at how to deal with it.

Content Will Get useful or Get Ignored
Smart marketers will begin to invest in bigger content projects such as creating free and robust online tools, writing the go-to books in their industries, and creating environments where their customers can build a community to share knowledge

Accountability
content marketers will be held accountable not just for how much content they create, but what it does for the business (much like demand generation teams).

Other topics that feature in this presentation include:

  • Personalisation
  • Engagement
  • Data-driven Insights
  • Interactive Experiences
  • Face-to-face Opportunities & Live Events
  • challenges of developing engaging visual content
  • the talent shortage
  • Algorithm-driven content distribution
  • Live video
  • compelling content experiences
  • the emergence of AI journalism
  • Immersive Content Formats
  • Science-based content marketing
  • The rise of the Content Librarian
  • The continuing rise of paid promotion and the decline of organic reach

 

Each Marketing Insights presentation is available to purchase and reuse, for $597 plus GST (with volume discounts available for purchases of multiple presentations).

To purchase the Content Marketing presentation by credit card via PayPal, please click here.

BILLING OPTIONS
If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your request. (The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Your purchase will be confirmed by email and download instructions will be provided to you, usually within a few hours.

And here are details of the Search Marketing presentation, to be published on July 31:

In this presentation, we’ll wax lyrical about a wide ranging collection of topics, including:

Mobile Really Must Be First
In May 2015, Google reported that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches on its search engine. Since then, the company has taken many steps which signal that mobile, not desktop, should be considered as the default user experience. Google is moving towards giving priority to mobile-centric indexing, which means that your website must as well.

Three Seconds is the New Fast
According to a study Google presented in late 2016, website that gain priority in search results will be expected to load in three seconds or less. That’s simply a recognition by Google of the impatience of mobile-wielding web surfers. As you might imagine, that has direct implications for your website structure — and whether or not you opt for accelerated mobile pages (AMP) or Progressive Web Apps (PWA), which allow a website to work as if it were an app.

How Machine Learning is Revolutionising Google Search
Google CEO Sundar Pichai laid out the corporate mindset: “Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we’re rethinking how we’re doing everything. We are thoughtfully applying it across all our products, be it search, ads, YouTube, or Play. And we’re in early days, but you will see us — in a systematic way — apply machine learning in all these areas.”

Perils of the Google Answer Box
In 2017/18, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. As you have no doubt noticed, Google has become more and more likely to offer up specific answers rather than simply links to search results.

Google Shopping Now in NZ
Google Shopping has arrived in New Zealand and is likely to play a larger and larger role in commerce-based search queries. We look at the players so far and examine the possibilities.

Big Data + Search = Attribution Challenges
Today’s conversion paths are extremely complex and as a result, micro-moments matter more than ever. Engaging with customers’ days, weeks, and even months before they’re ready to convert is going to be the new norm.

Reconsider Bing
Bing is a big player amongst the new breed of digital assistants. It’s fueling the search of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, apart from being the default search engine of Microsoft’s Cortana. Ignore it at your peril.

The Move to Natural Language Queries
Why does Google have this irresistible interest in natural language? Sure, on an ideal level, it’s because Google wants “to provide the better answer to users’ needs,” and to do that, Google must:

  • Understand what each web document is about (semantics);
  • Understand what users are actually searching for, now that more and more using their voice to search

Voice Search
Already 20% of mobile queries are Voice Search (and will be 50% in 2020, according to Microsoft). Voice Search is going above and beyond voice recognition and evolving into voice understanding. This involves several changes with respect to:

  • previous searches
  • location-based context
  • context based on frequently used apps
  • personalised information
  • keyword research based on spoken queries

How should marketers modify their content to cope with those new search parameters?

The Search Marketing presentation also looks at:

  • the big challenges of cross-channel marketing
  • getting to know Google RankBrain
  • image recognition searches
  • Key SEO Stats
  • Google’s top 3 ranking signals
  • User Experience Optimisation
  • Content Marketing That Impacts SEO
  • and, of course, a whole lot more

The Search Marketing presentation is also available for $597+GST. You can pre-order your copy of thta presentation by clicking here to pay by credit card via PayPal.

BILLING OPTIONS
Again, if you would prefer to pay by bank deposit or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your request. (The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

Alternatively, you can purchase BOTH the Content Marketing and Search Marketing presentations together for just $1094+GST (and save yourself $100). Click here to pay for the two presentations by credit card via PayPal.

The Content Marketing presentation will be provided to you right away, as soon as we process your purchase. The Search Marketing presentation will be  provided at the end of July.

Facebook Takes Messenger Ads Global

As reported by Marketing Week UK, Facebook is now rolling out ads in its Messenger app globally as it looks to offer advertisers more ways to reach consumers beyond its core social network.

fbmessenger

The move comes after what Facebook says have been “promising tests” in Australia and Thailand. The rollout means any advertisers, large or small, will be able to buy ads that appear in the app, which has 1.2 billion users globally.

We’ll now offer businesses around the world a way to use Facebook targeting to extend their reach to people in Messenger,” says Facebook in a blog post.

‘This means businesses of every size get a new tool for creating meaningful connections with customers and prospects. More than 1.2 billion people use Messenger every month, which gives marketers an opportunity to expand the reach of their campaigns and drive more results.”

The rollout will mean on the Facebook Messenger homepage, users will now see ads appearing amid their list of contacts. Ads will not appear within Messenger conversations.

The ads themselves will work in a similar way to those across Facebook and Instagram, with advertisers able to send consumers to a destination of their choice such as their ecommerce site. However, they will also be able to send them to a Messenger conversation.

The decision to show more traditional display ads in Messenger marks a shift in strategy from Facebook, which originally wanted to monetise the service by convincing brands to shift their customer service operations to Facebook by creating chatbots that could talk directly with customers. While this is still the case, and a number of brands such as Mastercard and UKTV have created chatbots, this use is yet to see widespread implementation.

The shift will also enable Facebook to meet ever-growing demand for advertising on its social network. It has previously warned that it is reaching the limit of how many ads it can show in the News Feed, leading to analyst concerns that revenue growth may slow.

Opening another area where it can show ads should help to slow that deceleration.

Ask a Marketer

ask-a-marketer

Struggling with marketing challenges for your organisation?

Marketing these days is more complicated than ever. How do you make sense of it all?

We can help, with our new “Ask a Marketer” service (in limited release – see below).

If you have any advertising or marketing questions, just ask us.

What sorts of questions can you ask?

Anything to do with advertising or marketing. Typical questions include:

  • How do I decide which customers to go after?
  • How do I get traffic to my website?
  • How do I build an email list?
  • How do I choose what products to sell?
  • How much should I spend on advertising?
  • How can I spend my marketing dollars most effectively?
  • I have a very limited budget, but my marketing needs an overhaul. What can be done?
  • Should I extend my brand to a new product?
  • How is email marketing different from traditional direct marketing?
  • What metrics should I be using to measure email effectiveness?
  • How important are “looks” when it comes to marketing communications, including web sites?
  • What’s the difference between a product feature and a product benefit?
  • I’ve got a new marketing initiative underway–how do I best prepare for its success?
  • How can I sell products directly online but still keep my retail partners happy?
  • I have a new product, but I don’t know how to price it. Where do I start?
    What should I include in a marketing plan?
  • How do I measure my marketing, especially considering I don’t have a large budget?
  • How do I determine the lifetime value of my customers?
  • I have a pretty limited search budget — should I spend it on Facebook Advertising or Google AdWords? Is one better than the other?
  • Is influencer marketing better than traditional online marketing?
  • How do I choose social media influencers to promote my products?
  • What types of content marketing will work best for my industry?
  • I’ve just been attacked on social media. What should I do?
  • I’ve been approached by a magazine about advertising in a feature on my industry. Should I take part?

And a million more, as specific to your industry or business as you wish.

Why you should ask us for marketing advice

We offer professional advice from a highly-skilled marketer with more than forty years’ experience in New Zealand advertising and marketing.

The Ask a Marketer program has been created and is administered by Michael Carney, Managing Director of Netmarketing Services Limited.

Michael is a longtime NZ marketer, employed in various marketing roles since 1971, online since 1987, involved with digital marketing since the mid-90s. He has worked on advertising campaigns for New Zealand companies across virtually every product and service category, and has been creating and tutoring online training courses in Digital Marketing since 2010. You’ll find Michael’s profile at http://linkedin.com/in/michaelcarney

From 2009 to 2013, Michael was Chairman of the Network of Digital Marketers, the digital special interest group of the NZ Marketing Association.

Client Recommendations:

recommendations

 

How to Ask a Marketer

We offer two standard options with our “Ask a Marketer” service (and if neither suits you, feel free to email us at [email protected] and together we will develop the solution that’s right for you).

Option 1: Ask an individual question

You may have a particular issue that you believe would benefit from professional advice.

In that case you can choose this option.

We will give you an answer of up to 500 words for just $197+GST.

Our order form does allow you to purchase additional words (at $197+GST for every 500 words), if you believe that you need a more detailed response or if you wish to ask more than one question.

To purchase Option One, please click here to purchase by credit card via PayPal:
aam-single-sale

 

Option 2: Ask four questions a month

On the other hand, you may see an ongoing need for marketing advice. In this case, we recommend that you sign up for our ongoing “Ask a Marketer” service, which will enable you to ask up to four question a month, in return for a small regular subscription. We will send you weekly reminders of your participation in this program, responding to any questions you have asked.

Answers will be up to 250 words per question and our subscription fee is $197+GST ($226.55 including GST) per month.

To purchase Option Two, please click here to purchase by credit card via PayPal:
aam-subscription

Your credit card will be charged monthly on the same day of the month as your initial purchase, and you can cancel at any time.

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Whichever option you choose, your purchase will be confirmed by email within a few hours and you will be invited to respond with your question(s). Once we receive your question(s), we generally aim to respond within 24 hours (weekdays).

PS THIS IS A LIMITED RELEASE

As we noted above, this is a limited release. Because answering your questions requires direct, one to one customised responses, we only have a limited amount of time that we can devote to the “Ask a Marketer” program.

To ensure that you don’t miss out, we recommend that you sign up as soon as you can. We reserve the right to stop accepting new participants at any time.

 

 

5 Reasons Why Content is So Important for Marketers in 2017

Marketers consider that Content Marketing is one of the two most important trends impacting the future of marketing, according to a 2017 study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Centre for Public Relations. That’s the case in the US, but it’s also equally true down our way.

importance-of-content-marketing

So why is Content Marketing so important?

There are plenty of reasons why, but here are five of the most significant:

1 More and More Ads Are Being Blocked

Thanks to decades of interruption marketing, of mad men standing up and shouting at consumers, advertisers have well and truly worn out their welcome. As a result, consumers have retreated inside their shells. Their mailboxes are plastered with “no junk mail” signs, they MySky their way quickly through seemingly-endless TV commercial breaks, they loudly tweet their displeasure at Hyundai ads placed between hakas and live rugby and they hand out fake email addresses and erect filter fortresses to protect their real email inboxes.

Oh, and then there’s banner blindness, where consumers don’t even notice most online display advertising.

Now, AdBlocking is becoming a fact of life. Even Google is getting in on the act, adding an ad blocker to its Chrome browser in early 2018. The Independent notes:

“It’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web – like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page,” wrote Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce, in a blog post.

“These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads – taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.”

Google’s answer is to provide adblocking technology to screen out the unworthy ads.

Our answer is even simpler: content marketing. As Business2Community notes:

People want to block ads because most digital ads are useless, annoying or both. The promise of content marketing is to create helpful, audience-focused content that your audience actually wants to consume.

Content marketing is such a clear antidote to this battle between branded customer. Rather than continuing to give your customers something they’ve quite clearly stated they don’t want, give them something they do want. Help them. Extend the olive branch.

Create and distribute great content and you’ll never have to worry about ad blockers ever again.

 

2 SEO and Content Marketing are Converging

The truth is, SEO and Content Marketing have always been two sides of the same coin. If you’re using Google or Bing to search for something, the search engines will always be looking for content that meets those search parameters. If you are writing content, you will only be effective — i.e. be found — if you use keywords and phrases that consumers are looking for.

What has changed, or rather has evolved, is the phraseology. Nowadays, consumers using voice search on mobile devices are far more conversational in their choices of search keywords. They tend to be less structured in their searching, confident that Google Assistant and Siri and Cortana (and Samsung’s new Bixby) are smart enough to understand what they actually mean.

In turn, marketers need to ensure that their content includes both formal and conversational keywords and phrases, to cater to the differing searches conducted across both desktop and mobile devices.

Oh yeah — and you also need to be aware that more and more of Google’s searches are being powered by RankBrain machine learning software, so you need to ask yourself “what would an artificial intelligence make of this sentence?” Do try to avoid the types of linguistic contortions that would trouble non-native speakers. No pressure.

3 Catering to Micro-Moments

The ubiquitous smart phone continue to change the game. Where once longform content was king, now snackable snippets — served up in answer to queries like “restaurant near me” — have become the new currency.

As you may have heard, today’s consumers have an even lower attention span than that of a goldfish. At least some of that can be attributed to the endless flow of data that we all must wade through in these difficult times. 140-character limitations on previous generation text messaging and Twitter can take their share of the blame, along with 6-second blipverts on YouTube and a constantly refreshing newsfeed on Facebook.

Whatever the cause, we now have to deal with the consequences. Can you sum up the essence of your content in one single sentence (or image)? That may be all to which your prospective audience is exposed, before they swipe their way to their next fix.

 

4 Whoever Rules Google Becomes the Authority

The traditional method of gaining pre-eminence in your industry tended to involve acquiring external qualifications, sitting on industry bodies and generally gaining acknowledgement through your peers.

So twentieth century! Nowadays, you can have as much authority as Google says you have. Provide content that meets the needs of prospects and customers as they proceed through the buying journey and Google will anoint you accordingly.

 

5 If You Can’t Be Seen, You Won’t Be Heard

How do people know you exist?

No, it’s not a metaphysical question but rather a commercial one. If you operate a retail business, with a desirable storefront location, then you will at least be visible to those who walk past.

Otherwise, your existence depends on your visibility to prospective and actual customers. They might hear of you through radio, television, magazine or newspaper advertising — but, more and more (as consumers spend around half their media time online) your visibility depends upon your online presence.

That, in turn, derives from the content you post to the Web, whether on your own website, on your social media channels, through other peoples’ websites or through online advertising.

By the way, if the content you are creating is irrelevant to prospective customers’ needs, either they will ignore you or Google will.

So are you creating content worth talking about?

IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR CONTENT MARKETING

(A) We can help (we handle content marketing on behalf of a select group of clients). Email michael (at) netmarketingservices.co.nz or phone 021 1493 403.

(B) We can review your content marketing needs, develop a content marketing programme and even train you and/or your team. Again, email michael (at) netmarketingservices.co.nz or phone 021 1493 403.

(C) To upskill yourself, grab our Content Marketing Trends presentation (details below)

 

SPECIAL CONTENT MARKETING PRESENTATION FOR KIWI BUSINESSES

To meet the demand for information about Content Marketing, we have just released the presentation NZ Content Marketing 2017. This is the newest presentation in our New Zealand Marketing Insights series, which began in May with our NZ Consumer Trends 2017 presentation.

We just wanted to let you know a little more about it.

The presentation looks ahead at what marketers should expect and plan for in 2017 and 2018 — based on local and global trends you may not yet have had the opportunity to examine — turning those forecasts into a comprehensive report & slide deck in PowerPoint format (with accompanying notes) – information that you can easily present to your team and your clients, bringing everyone up to speed on the latest New Zealand Marketing Insights as we accelerate through what remains of 2017. All presentations are unbranded, so you can add your own branding and comments.

All of our presentations in this Marketing Insights series consist of at least 150 slides, dealing with as many key insights.

INSIDE “CONTENT MARKETING 2017”

Here’s a little taste of what the presentation covers:

  • The three types of content regarded as most important for effective content optimisation in 2017
  • The convergence of SEO and Content Marketing and what that means for marketing and communications professionals
  • Search intents across mobile and desktop, how and why they are different and the implications
  • The surprising new importance of voice search (and what marketers are doing about it)
  • What marketers think about artificial intelligence and its importance for the future of content marketing

And:

Content Marketing as Defensive Mechanism
So many people are talking — not always positively — about brands and companies online, and organisations don’t always get the chance to present their own point of view as part of that conversation. As a result, many are turning to Content Marketing as a means to get their message out there.

Talking to Your Own
Content marketing has also seen itself become an internal PR tool, used to communicate in a planned and more effective manner with staff, dealers and suppliers. How are you ensuring that your own people know what they should about your organisation?

Overcoming “Content Shock”
Even when marketers do invest in Content Marketing, there are challenges. One of the biggest challenge: getting heard out there, amongst the ever-increasing cacophony of social media posts, blogs, video and all. It’s been dubbed “Content Shock” — and we look at how to deal with it.

Content Will Get useful or Get Ignored
Smart marketers will begin to invest in bigger content projects such as creating free and robust online tools, writing the go-to books in their industries, and creating environments where their customers can build a community to share knowledge

Accountability
content marketers will be held accountable not just for how much content they create, but what it does for the business (much like demand generation teams).

Other topics that will feature in this presentation include:

  • Personalisation
  • Engagement
  • Data-driven Insights
  • Interactive Experiences
  • Face-to-face Opportunities & Live Events
  • challenges of developing engaging visual content
  • the talent shortage
  • Algorithm-driven content distribution
  • Live video
  • compelling content experiences
  • the emergence of AI journalism
  • Immersive Content Formats
  • Science-based content marketing
  • The rise of the Content Librarian
  • The continuing rise of paid promotion and the decline of organic reach

 

Each Marketing Insights presentation is available to purchase and reuse, for $597 plus GST (with volume discounts available for purchases of multiple presentations).

To purchase by credit card via PayPal, please click here:

sign up now

BILLING OPTIONS
If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your request. (The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Your purchase will be confirmed by email and download instructions will be provided to you, usually within a few hours.

Facebook Hits 2 Billion Members

facebook-2-billion

Facebook just hit another major milestone – 2 billion members – less than five years after reaching 1 billion in October 2012.

In New Zealand, we contribute just 3.1 million of those members — not bad in the context of our population size, but a mere drop in the social network ocean.

So — have you mastered Facebook Marketing, now that the social giant’s presence is so significant and influential?

If not, check out our online training courses:

The Complete Facebook Marketing course: ratecard value $597+GST, with Early Bird Discount $497+GST

Facebook Accelerator course: ratecard value $497+GST, with Early Bird Discount $397+GST

Principles & Practice of Social Media Marketing course: ratecard value $497+GST, with Early Bird Discount $397+GST

Advanced Social Media Marketing course: ratecard value $497+GST, with Early Bird Discount $397+GST

Social Media Marketing Essentials: ratecard value $597+GST, with Early Bird Discount $497+GST

Click on any of the links for more details about each course and to book.

21 Reasons Why You Need Social Media Marketing Training

21-reasons-why-you-need-social-media-training

Too many businesses unfortunately seem to think that they can simply delegate their social media marketing efforts to a young(ish) staff member and then walk away.

“After all,” they reason, “these people grew up on social media. They already connect with their friends through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Should be easy for them to run our social media marketing campaigns.”

Ummm, not so fast. Sure, it can work — but, far too often, it doesn’t.

Here, for your interest and edification, are 21 reasons why you and your team need training in the fine art of social media marketing:

First, as suggested by Business2Community:

1 Protect Your Brand

Training employees on the responsible use of social media protects the brand from employees sharing information (often unintentionally) that they shouldn’t have done about their work or the company.

2 Build Their Own Brand

If employees are able to build their personal brand online, they can establish themselves as thought leaders in a niche area that can help influence and educate potential buyers. By enabling employees to become ‘social’ with their own personal brand, you create a wealth of opportunities that you could only dream of with your brand channels.

3 Socially trained employees are more likely to share branded content

In my experience, when you educate employees on the importance of having a personal brand and building their network first, they are three times more likely to start sharing content than those that haven’t been given that context. By the time you introduce social sharing into the training model, employees will understand how this will impact their profile. They will have done the basic ‘profile’ updates. They’re in a place where they’re READY to start sharing and they know what to share, how often and to which channel. They are confident.

4 Socially trained employees will yield more impressions

Typically a trained employee will yield three times more social impressions per share than a non-trained employee and this is mainly because they have invested time in building their network first. I always emphasise the importance of building and nurturing a strong network around your personal brand. Once you’ve achieved this you’re ready to start sharing. For example, it makes no sense to jump into sharing content if you’re only connected to 20 people on LinkedIn.

5 Socially trained employees will increase your engagements

Naturally, if you’re gaining more impressions you will attract more engagements including likes, comments and shares. I’ve found that trained employees will generate anywhere between 30-50% more engagements than non-trained employees and this is because they know what kind of content works well on which network. They know how to encourage engagement.

6 Socially trained employees will generate more clicks

Marketing will understand the importance of this one because in the paid media world, every click costs dollars. In my experience, employees who share content generated 50% more clicks than when I shared the same piece of content via branded social channels. WOW!

Employees who were social media trained generated twice the amount of clicks than employees who weren’t trained.

This has a lot to do with making sure that the content is relevant for the employee’s personal brand and that it’s good content. Well written, full of useful insights and easy to read. Poor content won’t fly with your employees…or on any social channel for that matter.

PRSay adds several more:

7. Social media is a team sport

On social media, reach is a factor of engagement. The more people like, comment, retweet and +1 a share on a social network, the broader and further it travels. Posts that attract the most engagement are also the most visible. When someone interacts with a post on a social network, they do so in front of their online friends. If any of their friends engage, that message gets passed along. If you train the whole company and teach how to engage in company communications, the result is social media marketing at scale.

8. Policy isn’t enough

A social media policy is a critical component of any social media strategy. However, a policy only provides value if people actually read and understand it. “Probably as important as the policy itself is the training and the guidance that you give people around the policy. The best policy in the world is kind of useless if it sits on a shelf or it’s on your intranet and either people don’t look at it or really understand the nuances,” Daniel M. Goldman, general counsel at the Mayo Clinic, told me in a recent episode of the social media podcast On the Record…Online when discussing HIPPA compliant social media policies.

9. Official channels are less trusted

As much as digital natives have the impulse to share, most organizations have the impulse to channel communications through a public relations representative or their leadership. Now that everyone’s on social media, that strategy doesn’t work as well. Here’s why: there’s an increasingly wide gap between the degree of trust we have in institutions versus their leadership. It’s even wider for government than it is for business, and it shows that relying exclusively on CEOs and official spokespeople for external communications is a losing strategy. We trust subject matter experts more than the PR of the C-suite, research shows.

10. Industry leaders are tech savvy

Digital leaders in business outperform their peers in every industry. Businesses that invest in technology-enabled customer engagement and internal operations initiatives are, on average, 26 percent more profitable, and enjoy 12 percent higher market valuations, says a new report from CapGemini and MIT. Given the ease with which it enables collaboration, social media has the potential to supercharge customer and employee communications.

11. Training helps minimize employee turnover

Over the last two years, nearly half of all employers have had to deal with the misuse of social media by employees (or former employees). During that same period, nearly half of all employers have allowed access to social media sites at work, and these numbers are steadily rising. But less than one-third actually train personnel on the responsible use of social media at work, according to a recent report by Proskauer International. Providing access to social networks in the workplace without offering social media training is an ineffective way to achieve compliance.

Your colleagues are already using social media in the workplace to stay current on industry trends, collaborate with their coworkers, and to source and procure suppliers and service providers. Search tools and social media make it easier for them to get their jobs done. Why wouldn’t they take the shortest path to achieving their objective, and why wouldn’t you encourage them to do so? Remember, the by-product of all those online discussions is an arsenal of tweets, status updates and posts that become a trail of digital bread crumbs that lead back to you.

And Half a Bubble Out supplies four more:

12 Understanding Platforms

One thing that most people don’t understand is that there is a difference between business social media accounts and personal social media accounts. The back end looks different and the setup process is different as well. For people who aren’t trained or don’t have any experience with social media business pages, understanding this can be confusing. Since platforms constantly have updates and changes, business accounts need to be constantly monitored, have a strategy, have a planned message and be deliberate.

13 Strategizing for Goals

One of the best ways to improve your social media efforts is to strategize your message and actions before you do it. Then you can analyze the success of the strategy and make improvements from there. But everything that you do on social media should have a purpose. You might not have thought that social media training would include strategy, but this is important to an excellent social media presence.

14 Creating Relationships

Social media is great for creating engagement, and also for nurturing relationships on the different networks. These platforms can help build trust and credibility when you share helpful and relevant content to your followers. And most of your conversations are public, so how you handle situations and comments can speak loudly for your business.

15 Abiding by Guidelines

Every company should have different guidelines so the expectations are clear. If you have a light-hearted audience like we do at Half a Bubble Out, then posting a picture of our employees enjoying a glass of wine to celebrate the week would be appropriate. But this might not be appropriate for all businesses. Training your employees to use their best judgement and following these guidelines is crucial to keep the integrity of your brand.

Oh, and here are another half-dozen reasons that we wrote about, back in the day:

Social Media Warning Signs

Get yourself social media training fast if your business makes any of these mistakes:

16 Getting into an argument and insulting your customers and followers

It was the customer service disaster heard around the Internet. An Arizona restaurateur, fed up after years of negative online reviews and an embarrassing appearance on a reality television show, posted a social media rant laced with salty language and angry, uppercase letters that quickly went viral, to the delight of people who love a good Internet meltdown.

Amy & The Cakes #fail

17 Not replying to questions and comments on your social media platforms.

Too many brands simply ignore what’s being said to them, with entirely predictable results. This graph from SocialBakers shows which industries are the best (and worst) at responding:

socdevfb

18 All you talk about in social media is yourself

Only 10% of what you talk about in social media should be yourself and your own products or services. The rest of your discussions should be about things that matter to your followers. Don’t be like this Donut shop, constantly posting meaningless pictures of donuts and drinks to an audience that couldn’t care less (3416 followers but less than a dozen likes per image).

donut posts that nobody cares about

 

19 Nobody’s talking about you

As you may have heard, Facebook is dialing back its organic reach. What that means, in a nutshell, is that even if someone likes your Facebook brand page, it’s most unlikely that they will see your posts in their newsfeed. That means, to all intents and purposes, that you’re invisible to your followers — unless (a) you promote your posts to them; or (b) you write posts that are sufficiently interesting and engaging that they get shared by the few that do see them (and thus get out to a wider audience).

The Star Wars page on Facebook, for example, despite 11 million followers, was only averaging around 15,000 weekly talks — until May the Fourth (“be with you”), when interest surged and more than a quarter of a million people found Star Wars worth talking about again on Facebook.

May the Fourth Be With You

20 Everybody’s talking about you (but not in a good way)

Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa in December 2013, blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her 12-hour flight.

Justine Sacco

Even though Ms Sacco had a mere 200 followers, the tweet went viral even while she was flying. Her tweet was universally condemned as racist, resulting in the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Ms Sacco lost her job, her former employer apologised profusely and several AIDS charities received donations from appalled twitterati.

 

21 You post too often (or too seldom)

How often should you post to your social networks? That depends on (a) your networks; and (b) your followers.

If you’re posting to Twitter, for example, and reaching out to a business audience, then posting (variations on the same information) at three-hour intervals during the business day is acceptable — very few will see more than one post, given the transient nature of Twitter.

On the other hand, posting to a consumer audience via Facebook should be less frequent, because posts are likely to linger more there. Take a look at your Facebook page Insights data and view “When Your Fans Are Online”.

when your fans are online

Post perhaps twice a day, at times that coincide with most of your fans being online.

fans online

 

Once you realise you need Social Media Training

We would be remiss if we didn’t point you to our range of social media marketing courses:

  • If you want a comprehensive overview of Social Media Marketing, its principles and its practices, start here
  • If you want a rundown of the various social media channels, check out our Advanced Social Media Marketing course here
  • If you already have a solid understanding of social media but need to keep up with the latest developments, check out our Social Media Marketing Essentials course
  • If you want to market your business on Facebook but don’t know how, our Complete Facebook Marketing course is the place to start
  • If you’re already active on Facebook but think you could be doing it better, our Facebook Accelerator course could be the one for you
  • If you operate in the B2B space, we strongly recommend you learn How To Use LinkedIn Effectively
  • If you plan to use social media but won’t be hands-on yourself, you should take a look at our course covering How To Prepare An Effective Social Media Brief

The Challenge For Kiwi Marketers

Today’s marketers clearly have a problem. And it’s one that’s facing businesses all around the world. The old marketing solutions simply aren’t enough anymore. Sure, consumers still watch TV, listen to the radio and read newspapers and magazines — but not as much, not as often, and certainly not with their full attention on the advertising messages that populate those spaces.

Most Kiwis, according to the World Internet Project NZ (2015), use the Internet:

1-nz-from-space

All this connectivity comes at a price, of course. However, thankfully, more than half of us are now on an Internet plan that includes unlimited data.

1-unlimited

We have the access — and we’re making heavy use of it. Today’s consumers are spending more and more time in the digital space.

Roy Morgan Research reveals that we now spend almost half of our media consumption time online

1-nz-media-habits-1

… and the biannual World Internet Project NZ data reveals that two-thirds of us (in this instance, “us” means Kiwi Internet users) visit social media networks at least daily.

1-nz-media-habits-2

In other words, where once the best place for marketers to find Kiwis in large numbers watching TV, listening to radio or reading newspapers or magazines, nowadays online in general (and social media in particular) is where we mostly choose to spend our time.

So how many of us can be found hanging out on Social Media networks in a typical month?

Nielsen New Zealand to the rescue:

1-nz-media-habits-3

That’s a whole lot of cat pictures!

Another study, by New Zealand On Air, reveals that there’s still quite a digital divide between Kiwis Under 40 and older generations:

1-media-consumption-2016

Source: NZOnAir Audience Report 2016

The most notable intergenerational differences?

If you’re under 40, you’re:

  • significantly more likely to be watching online video (typically via YouTube and Facebook) than traditional (linear) TV
  • reading newspapers (whether in print or online) at around half the numbers of your older counterparts
  • five times as likely to listen to music online through services like Spotify
  • four times as likely to subscribe to video on demand services such as Netflix, Lightbox or Neon

Oh, and if you’re Under 55, you’re virtually guaranteed to have a smartphone

1-smartphones-2016

All that consumer attention switching to digital devices rather explains why NZ advertisers are following suit, with the inevitable result that Digital Advertising now attracts more dollars than any other New Zealand medium.

nz-adspend-2016

So if you’re one of those 47% of small businesses who still aren’t online (according to a recent MYOB “State of the Digital Nation” Special Report), or if you consider that you have only a limited understanding of Digital Marketing and how you can promote your business through digital activities, then we recommend you check out our NZ Digital Marketing 101 online training course.

digital-marketing-101

NZ Digital Marketing 101 online training course

We’ve drawn on our (gulp!) 30 years of online experience to introduce our first ongoing course, DIGITAL MARKETING 101, to take participants from a standing start (knowing very little about Digital Marketing) through to more advanced topics building on earlier lessons.

DIGITAL MARKETING 101 runs weekly across six months, and covers:

  1. Introduction to digital marketing
    The basics of Digital Marketing and what you need to know to promote your organisation and your brand online. In this lesson, we cover Digital Marketing Options available in the NZ marketplace and discuss which are the most important (based on your target market and your brand objectives).
  2. Developing a web presence
    In Lesson Two we discuss the various ways in which you can build your presence online (we assume that, like most NZ businesses, you’re operating on a shoestring so mostly we talk about free or low-cost options). We also look at the key online elements you should claim to ensure that you own your brand identity online.
  3. Claiming your Google My Business page
    In Lesson Three we cover the strategic importance of your Google My Business page — it’s how you tell Google your key information — and exactly what you need to do to claim that page.
  4. Understanding the customer journey
    The customer journey (also Customer Journey Experience, Customer Engagement Cycle) refers to the stages customers travel through in their relationship with a specific brand (as defined by DJS Research). In this lesson, we step you through what you need to know to map out your brand’s customer journey and market accordingly.
  5. Creating a digital marketing calendar
    As you market online, you’ll quickly realise that you constantly need to create fresh content, to feed your web pages, your emails, your social media posts, press releases and other online information — Google loves fresh and so do your customers. But what can you talk about (you can’t only talk about yourself, as you’ll soon discover). In this lesson, we talk about how to create a digital marketing calendar (and what to talk about).
  6. Secrets of effective outsourcing
    If you don’t already have existing arrangements with marketing suppliers, don’t miss Lesson Six. In this lesson, we talk about where you can turn for effective (and cost-efficient) marketing assistance, how to choose reliable suppliers and exactly what you should outsource to propel your business forward.
  7. Mastering email marketing
    It’s the oldest digital marketing tool of all, but it’s still the most effective for most target audiences. In this lesson we talk about email marketing strategies and best practices, and the tools you should use to promote your business as effectively as possible through email.
  8. Lead generation principles
    Generally speaking, as a business marketing online, you either want online buyers, online followers or online leads (those prospects who will convert into buyers later). In this lesson, we listen to highly-experienced digital marketers and draw on their collective wisdom to understand the best ways to generate leads (and turn them into buyers, consistently and efficiently).
  9. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
    Turns out that there’s quite a science to being found online (and an industry has grown up around the challenges of what’s now known as Search Engine Optimisation). In essence, if you want your prospects to find your web pages, those pages need to contain content that prospects are looking for. In Lesson Nine, we explore the How, What, When, Where & Why of SEO.
  10. Pay per click search advertising
    Not every page can be Number One on Google. So if you want to hit the top of the search engine rankings (especially for the most popular search phrases), sometimes you have to pay. In this lesson, we talk in detail about AdWords and other Pay Per Click advertising tools.
  11. Social media marketing explained
    Once upon a time — up until about 2012 — if you had a Facebook page and posted content to that page, all of your followers would see it. Sorry, not any more. In this lesson we explore exactly what you need to do to build an effective presence in social media.
  12. Creating effective Facebook posts
    What really works on Facebook these days? We spell out the characteristics of successful Facebook posts and identify 20 different posting formats that get noticed and get shared. Then we review the types of posts worth sharing, accompanied by a wide range of examples.
  13. Conversion optimisation
    In Lesson Eight, we talked about Lead Generation. In this lesson, we focus on what you need to do to convert those leads into sales. Every little improvement turns into extra dollars, so it’s definitely worth the effort optimising your conversion rates.
  14. What you need to know about Content Marketing
    According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. It’s particularly relevant to B2B marketers, but it’s important for B2C as well. In this lesson we explore the principles of content marketing, including Creation, Curation and Content Pillars.
  15. Finding Kiwi influencers to promote your products
    Influencer Marketing has come from nowhere to become a hot buzzword these days, as more and more businesses turn to “influencers” — those who have already developed their own followers, especially in social media — and sponsor posts to promote their products. In this lesson, we explore the Dos & Don’ts of Influencer Marketing, and how to find Kiwi Influencers.

  16. What you need to know when writing for the web
    Writing online copy has become more important than ever — but there are processes to follow, and structures and formats that are forced on us by the various digital media channels. This lesson covers the key facts that you need to know when writing for the web, including the seven deadly sins you need to avoid.
  17. Mastering Visual Marketing
    Images and visual concepts are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, according to 3M Corporation research. Add in our seven-second attention span (shorter than goldfish now) and it’s quickly obvious why visual marketing has become so important online. In this lesson, we explore how you can use visuals to multiply the effectiveness of your online content (and free and low-cost tools you can use).
  18. The basics of video marketing
    Online Video is no longer an “up-and-coming” marketing tactic — it’s here, and it’s a powerful way to communicate your brand story, explain your value proposition, and build relationships with your customers and prospects. This lesson introduces you to the basic principles and explores some of the available tools.
  19. Moving to Mobile First
    In his book “The Third Screen“, Chuck Martin points out that “the world gone mobile is not a simple story of technological change, it is a story of fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour that are forever changing the practice of marketing and how you should view its application with your business”. In this lesson, we talk about why “Mobile First” — ensuring that your content looks good on mobile devices, even before you see how it looks on a desktop device — is now essential.
  20. The principles of selling online
    More than half of New Zealand (58%) now buys products online! Seven out of ten Kiwi internet users aged 25-44 purchase online — and 94% of NZ web users who research products and services online (even if they eventually buy the products offline). In this lesson, we introduce you to the principles and practices of effective ecommerce.
  21. Mastering Google Analytics
    It’s free, and it’s packed full with information that can transform your digital marketing efforts. We’re talking Google Analytics, and a great many online marketers use the free Analytics service to track the performance of their digital marketing. In this lesson, you’ll discover exactly what you can learn from Google Analytics and how to master it (even if you hate maths and stats).
  22. Considering native advertising
    The technology known as Adblocking can cause havoc for digital marketers, with ads stripped from web pages before users can see them. Native advertising — ads that mimic the editorial format of the pages on which they appear — is one of the more powerful ways to combat Adblocking. Of course, it’s not new. In the old days, we would have called it Advertorial. But these days it’s more prevalent, and more valuable, than ever.
  23. Marketing through messaging apps
    Messaging Apps, also known as Dark Social, have gone from strength to strength in recent years, with Facebook’s own Messenger and WhatsApp leading the way. In this lesson, we explore Messaging Apps and tell you what you need to know to use them effectively for marketing purposes.

  24. The new importance of consumer reviews
    The customer has gone from being always right to now always having an opinion — and, through social media and specialist services such as TripAdvisor, Yelp and even Trade Me, now having a direct and powerful influence on their peers. Look no further than Amazon.com, where one-star and two-star reviews can quickly kill a product. In this lesson, we look at customer input, how you should monitor it and what you can do about negative ratings.
  25. When to use marketing automation
    Marketing Automation — software tools designed to handle repetitive tasks such as emails and web actions — can improve your efficiency and even (if used effectively) enable you to take actions that would otherwise not be possible. In this lesson, we explore the capabilities of marketing automation platforms and consider if and how you might use them in your business.
  26. Key new marketing technologies
    In this lesson, we peek into the digital marketing technologies of today and tomorrow, including such topics as programmatic advertising, voice search, chatbots & Artificial Intelligence. The digital tools are getting smarter and smarter, and you need to keep track of what’s possible (and what’s inevitable).

Please note: all materials are online and can be accessed anytime 24/7, so you don’t have to make yourself available at a specific time to take this course.

At the end of DIGITAL MARKETING 101, you’ll be given the opportunity to move on to DIGITAL MARKETING 201, which covers even more advanced topics.

WHO SHOULD TAKE THIS COURSE

Any NZ marketer or business owner who needs to understand and master Digital Marketing.

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WHAT CUSTOMERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR COURSES

Here’s a sampling of the feedback we’ve received from those who’ve taken our courses:

  • Thanks for an informative and interesting [Facebook Accelerator] course. Your presentation held a good balance of theoretical and practical information and was clear and simple enough for a non IT Facebook novice like me to follow. There are many ideas that I have gained that I will attempt to incorporate in the overall marketing plan my team is currently developing for our brand. Facebook can offer so much more than I thought as a medium for communicating with our current and prospective customers. Julie D
  • I found this course fantastic, i started off knowing very little about facebook (just how to run my own personal page) to now having a thorough understanding of ALL the things you can (and there is a lot). The course format was great and allowed knowledge to be built up over time. Course length was great and this will definetly be something i come back to constantly as we develop our facebook pages more within my company. Aleisha H
  • I have really enjoyed the course and the way it was structured. It was informative and interesting – liked the way you incorporated slide-shows, video, statistics and different forms of media to provide information. Lisa C

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COURSE CREATION AND TUTORING
This course has been created and is tutored by Michael Carney.

Michael is a veteran marketer with an insatiable passion for whatever’s new, different, exciting or interesting in the world of communications (and especially in the digital space). Michael has been in the marketing game since 1971, online since 1987 — and can be variously described as a digital marketing trainer, adman, media director, strategist, researcher, copywriter, consultant, playwright and dad.

He is probably best known for his many years as Media Director of a number of leading NZ advertising agencies, including MDA Mackay King (now Saatchi & Saatchi) and HKM Rialto (since merged with Colenso BBDO). More recently he worked in strategic roles with MediaCom New Zealand and Grey Worldwide and was Strategic Planning Director for the Media Counsel before setting up Netmarketing Services Limited.

Michael is also the author of “Trade Me Success Secrets: How To Buy and Sell Effectively on NZ’s Favourite Auction Site”, now in its second edition.

Michael was chairman of the NZ Marketing Association’s Network of Digital Marketers from 2009 until March 2013.

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TIMING

This course begins on Wednesday 02 August, 2017.

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INVESTMENT

This ongoing online training course is available for $397 +GST per month (and you can cancel at any point). However we offer an EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT of $100 +GST — pay just $297+GST ($341.55 including GST per month) for bookings received by the end of Wednesday 26 July, 2017.

Bookings are confirmed on receipt of payment. We can raise an invoice in advance if you need it.

To reserve your place in this course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here:

sign up now

Your credit card will be billed monthly by PayPal for six months.

If you require an invoice, please send an email to [email protected] with your requirements.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

You’ll receive our emailed confirmation of your booking. Then on the first day of the course we’ll follow up with details of your Login and Password, along with an Enrolment Key for the Digital Marketing 101 online training course.

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please email us at [email protected]

7 Facebook Advertising Tips for 2017

7-fb-advertising-tips-for-2017

Facebook advertising continues to evolve, so it’s important to keep track of the latest trends and developments.

If you’re planning to advertise on Facebook this year, here are seven key considerations:

1 Make it Video

According to statistics quoted by Social Media Today, video on Facebook accounts for just 0.9% of all posts but 7.15% of all reach on the network. And that number is growing.

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The popularity of video is driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Facebook’s algorithmic encouragement of video posts (Facebook is more likely to show your followers video content)
  • the spread of unlimited broadband (more than half of Kiwi households are now on unlimited data plans), so we now have the capacity for lots of video content
  • generational preferences (Gen Y and Gen Z prefer pictures and video to text)
  • limited attention spans, now less than a goldfish
  • scroll speeds on mobile — as we swipe through post after post on Facebook, moving pictures are far more likely to catch our eyes

In other words: if you can, go video, your posts are far more likely to be effective.

PS Check out our Online Video Marketing course if you need help with the medium

2 Use High Contrast Images

The AdEspresso blog suggests:

Ad images are the first touching point between people and your offer. And there’s a lot at stake. It’s either love at first sight or a sorry attempt to gain potential buyers’ attention. If your ad image catches people’s attention, they’ll read through your ad copy as well. It is incredibly important that your ad visuals manage to catch attention in crowded news feeds.

One of the best pieces of advice about Facebook ad design that I’ve ever heard is this: Use a high level of contrast.

Utilize contrasting colors and bold fonts, mix positive and negative space, and spice up your ad with complementary colors.

A high-contrast example:

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3 Use an image of a smiling woman

Yes, apparently, according to Kim Garst:

This little trick has proven itself again and again; images of happy, smiling women lead to the highest click-through rates. Facebook also suggests showing people using your products rather than just images of your products:

“Remember that your ad may show in someone’s News Feed, and it should feel like it belongs there. Your image is competing for people’s attention with stories from their friends and family.”

Here’s an advertisement that follows Kim’s advice:

4-smilingwoman

Our own view: if she’s relevant to your product and your target audience, sure, use a smiling woman in your advertisement. Otherwise, don’t.

 

4 Choose Your Target Location Carefully

Moz warns us to proceed with care when choosing a target location on Facebook:

Let’s say you want to target people who live in Wellington. You might type “Wellington” into the Locations box, leave it at the default 40-kilometre radius, and keep moving.

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But, if you did that, you might miss the small drop down menu above the map that says “Everyone in this location.”

See it now? Well, if you click on that drop down, you’ll find out that Facebook’s Locations targeting gets way more granular:

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That’s right — not only can you target actual residents whose home is in the selected area, but you can target people currently visiting Wellington who live more than 100 miles away, and people recently in Wellington.

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As an example, a 40-kilometre radius for Wellington shows 310,000 audience members for “Everyone in this location,” but only 290,000 audience members for “People who live in this location.”

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In other words, 20,000 people, 6% of the default audience, are irrelevant if you’re only trying to reach Wellington residents — which means you could have been wasting at least 6% of your ad budget.

 

5 Optimise your Ad Specifications

The ideal Facebook Advertisement specifications in 2017, for a single-image ad, according to Buffer, are:

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels

If the post contains a link to a website, ideal link specifications are:

  • Link Headline: 25 characters
  • Link Description: 30 characters

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The recommended image size ensures that your image always looks high-quality. The recommended text length is how many characters of advert copy could be displayed on smaller screens (the vast majority of your audience will see your Facebook ads on mobile devices).

Your image should include a minimal amount of text, ideally less than 20%, otherwise Facebook will restrict delivery.

6 Add a call-to-action button

These days, Facebook enables you to include a call-to-action button as part of your advertisement.

It’s a familiar sight to Facebook users, and they are now well conditioned to clicking such buttons, so make sure you take advantage of the option.

You have ten different possibilities:

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Choose the one that  is right for you.

7 Track your ads to see which are the most effective

As Kim Garst notes:

There is nothing more frustrating than paying for ads and then having no idea if they are working. Conversion tracking solves this problem by allowing you to know exactly which ads led to conversions.

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For more on this, see Facebook’s help article on Conversion Tracking and Optimization.

LEARN MORE

There are, of course, plenty of other tips that we offer to help guide your Facebook activities and 2017 beyond. We recommend that you check out our Complete Facebook Marketing course (for those new to Facebook marketing) or our Facebook Accelerator course (for more experienced Facebook marketers).

How to Get Found on Google in 2017

how-to-get-found-on-google-2017

Let’s face it — getting found in the search engines in 2017 feels like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. Just when you think you’ve identified an approach that will satisfy the great algorithmic idols, along comes another quaintly-named but terrifyingly-lethal update that stamps out all your gains.

Now, however, assistance comes from a highly unexpected source: the Gplex itself. In an article released a few days ago, Google tackles the issue of snippets — the words underneath your link in search results that describe your webpage — and recommends some best practices.

Before buying a book, people like to get a snapshot of how they’re about to spend a few hours reading. They’ll take a look at the synopsis, the preface, or even the prologue just to get a sense about whether they’ll like the book.

Search result snippets are much the same; they help people decide whether or not it makes sense to invest the time reading the page the snippet belongs to.

The more descriptive and relevant a search result snippet is, the more likely that people will click through and be satisfied with the page they land on. Historically, snippets came from 3 places:

1 The content of the page
2 The meta description
3 DMOZ listings

The content of the page is an obvious choice for result snippets, and  the content that can be extracted is often the most relevant to people’s queries. However, there are times when the content itself isn’t the best source for a snippet. For instance, when someone searches for a publishing company for their book, the relevant homepages in the result set may contain only a few images describing the businesses and a logo, and maybe some links, none of which are particularly useful for a snippet.

The logical fallback in cases when the content of a page doesn’t have much textual content for a search result snippet is the meta description. This should be short blurbs that describe accurately and precisely the content in a few words [think Executive Summaries for each page].

Finally, when a page doesn’t have much textual content for snippet generation and the meta description is missing, unrelated to the page, or low quality, our fallback was DMOZ, also known as The Open Directory Project.  With DMOZ now closed, we’ve stopped using its listings for snippeting, so it’s a lot more important that webmasters provide good meta descriptions, if adding more content to the page is not an option.

What makes a good meta description?
Good meta descriptions are short blurbs that describe accurately the content of the page. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for. For more tips, we have a handy help center article on the topic. Remember to make sure that both your desktop and your mobile pages include both a title and a meta description.

What are the most common problems with meta descriptions?
Because meta descriptions are usually visible only to search engines and other software, webmasters sometimes forget about them, leaving them completely empty. It’s also common, for the same reason, that the same meta description is used across multiple (and sometimes many) pages. On the flip side, it’s also relatively common that the description is completely off-topic, low quality, or outright spammy. These issues tarnish our users’ search experience, so we prefer to ignore such meta descriptions.

Is there a character limit for meta descriptions?
There’s no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the search result snippets are truncated as needed, typically to fit the device width.

Another Google article provides even more specific advice:

You can help improve the quality of the snippet displayed for your pages by following the general guidelines below.

The description attribute within the <meta> tag is a good way to provide a concise, human-readable summary of each page’s content. Google will sometimes use the meta description of a page in search results snippets, if we think it gives users a more accurate description than would be possible purely from the on-page content. Accurate meta descriptions can help improve your clickthrough; here are some guidelines for properly using the meta description.

Make sure that every page on your site has a meta description. The HTML suggestions page in Search Console lists pages where Google has detected missing or problematic meta descriptions.

Differentiate the descriptions for different pages. Identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site aren’t helpful when individual pages appear in the web results. In these cases we’re less likely to display the boilerplate text. Wherever possible, create descriptions that accurately describe the specific page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and use page-level descriptions everywhere else.

If you don’t have time to create a description for every single page, try to prioritize your content: At the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your home page and popular pages.

Include clearly tagged facts in the description. The meta description doesn’t just have to be in sentence format; it’s also a great place to include structured data about the page. For example, news or blog postings can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise.

Similarly, product pages might have the key bits of information—price, age, manufacturer—scattered throughout a page. A good meta description can bring all this data together. For example, the following meta description provides detailed information about a book.

<meta name=”Description” content=”Author: A.N. Author,
Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price: $17.99,
Length: 784 pages”>

In this example, information is clearly tagged and separated.

Programmatically generate descriptions. For some sites, like news media sources, generating an accurate and unique description for each page is easy: since each article is hand-written, it takes minimal effort to also add a one-sentence description.

For larger database-driven sites, like product aggregators, hand-written descriptions can be impossible. In the latter case, however, programmatic generation of the descriptions can be appropriate and are encouraged. Good descriptions are human-readable and diverse, as we talked about in the first point above. The page-specific data we mentioned in the second point is a good candidate for programmatic generation.

Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don’t give users a clear idea of the page’s content, and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular snippet.

Use quality descriptions. Finally, make sure your descriptions are truly descriptive. Because the meta descriptions aren’t displayed in the pages the user sees, it’s easy to let this content slide.

High-quality descriptions can be displayed in Google’s search results, and can go a long way to improving the quality and quantity of your search traffic.

Oh, and here’s a (dated but still mostly relevant) video explaining even further:

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Work your way through as many of the above steps as possible. You’ll be amazed how well it improves your search results.

PS We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our forthcoming Search Marketing Trends 2017 presentation:

search-marketing-nz-2017

This is a slide presentation, with accompanying notes, providing an examination of Search Marketing Trends as we head towards 2018.

Like our other NZ Marketing Insights presentations, Search Marketing Trends looks ahead at what marketers should expect and plan for in 2017 and 2018 — based on local and global trends you may not yet have had the opportunity to examine — turning those forecasts into a comprehensive report & slide deck in PowerPoint format (with accompanying notes) – information that you can easily present to your team and your clients, bringing everyone up to speed on the latest New Zealand Marketing Insights as we accelerate through 2017. All presentations are unbranded, so you can add your own branding and comments.

Each presentation consists of at least 150 slides, dealing with as many key insights.

In this Search Marketing Trends presentation, to be published late July 2017, we’ll wax lyrical about a wide ranging collection of topics, including:

Mobile Really Must Be First
In May 2015, Google reported that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches on its search engine. Since then, the company has taken many steps which signal that mobile, not desktop, should be considered as the default user experience. Google is moving towards giving priority to mobile-centric indexing, which means that your website must as well.

Three Seconds is the New Fast
According to a study Google presented in late 2016, website that gain priority in search results will be expected to load in three seconds or less. That’s simply a recognition by Google of the impatience of mobile-wielding web surfers. As you might imagine, that has direct implications for your website structure — and whether or not you opt for accelerated mobile pages (AMP) or Progressive Web Apps (PWA), which allow a website to work as if it were an app.

How Machine Learning is Revolutionising Google Search
Google CEO Sundar Pichai laid out the corporate mindset: “Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we’re rethinking how we’re doing everything. We are thoughtfully applying it across all our products, be it search, ads, YouTube, or Play. And we’re in early days, but you will see us — in a systematic way — apply machine learning in all these areas.”

Perils of the Google Answer Box
In 2017/18, brands will need to place value on optimizing their digital content based on intent rather than specific keywords. As you have no doubt noticed, Google has become more and more likely to offer up specific answers rather than simply links to search results.

For example, here’s Google’s answer to the query “what is the height of mt egmont”:

google-height

So how do you get chosen to be the answer to such a query (and is it a good thing)? We explore the options.

Google Shopping Now in NZ
Google Shopping has arrived in New Zealand and is likely to play a larger and larger role in commerce-based search queries. We look at the players so far and examine the possibilities.

Big Data + Search = Attribution Challenges
Today’s conversion paths are extremely complex and as a result, micro-moments matter more than ever. Engaging with customers’ days, weeks, and even months before they’re ready to convert is going to be the new norm.

Reconsider Bing
Bing is a big player amongst the new breed of digital assistants. It’s fueling the search of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, apart from being the default search engine of Microsoft’s Cortana. Ignore it at your peril.

The Move to Natural Language Queries
Why does Google have this irresistible interest in natural language? Sure, on an ideal level, it’s because Google wants “to provide the better answer to users’ needs,” and to do that, Google must:

  • Understand what each web document is about (semantics);
  • Understand what users are actually searching for, now that more and more using their voice to search

Voice Search
Already 20% of mobile queries are Voice Search (and will be 50% in 2020, according to Microsoft). Voice Search is going above and beyond voice recognition and evolving into voice understanding. This involves several changes with respect to:

  • previous searches
  • location-based context
  • context based on frequently used apps
  • personalised information
  • keyword research based on spoken queries

How should marketers modify their content to cope with those new search parameters?

The Search Marketing presentation also looks at:

  • the big challenges of cross-channel marketing
  • getting to know Google RankBrain
  • image recognition searches
  • Key SEO Stats
  • Google’s top 3 ranking signals
  • User Experience Optimisation
  • Content Marketing That Impacts SEO
  • and, of course, a whole lot more

TO PRE-ORDER THE SEARCH MARKETING TRENDS PRESENTATION

The Search Marketing Trends presentation is due to be published in late July 2017, and will be available for $597+GST.

To pre-order, please pay by credit card via PayPal through this link:

buynow

BILLING OPTIONS

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice before making payment, please send an email to [email protected] with details of your request. (The service provider will be shown as Netmarketing Services Limited in your transaction and on your credit card statement).

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

1. Your purchase will be confirmed by email (if you have not received a confirmation within 24 hours, feel free to email [email protected]).
2. Once the Search Marketing Trends presentation is published, download instructions will be provided to you by email.