Join us in this sponsored thought leadership project, featuring insights from many of NZ’s leading marketers and communications professionals. It’s an opportunity to reinforce your position as a thought-leader in your category.
from New Zealand’s Leading Marketers
As the title suggests, MARKETING INSIGHTS is a new book collectingadvice and opinion from leading NZ marketing professionals, enabling them to demonstrate Thought Leadership in their category. This is a content marketing project featuring sponsored contributions from many of New Zealand’s leading marketers.
The first edition will be published inlate January 2016and will be distributed free of charge in electronic form toa wide range of New Zealand marketing decision-makers, from small, medium and large organisations. The book will also be available to purchase in printed form a short time later.
Topics which marketers are invited to contribute include:
Marketing Trends, Challenges & Opportunities in 2016
This is a sponsored Content Marketing project. Marketers are invited to sponsor an article on one of the above topics and provide 500-1000 words on the agreed topic. All topic selection is subject to availability at time of booking. Relevant images are welcomed (high-resolution please).
A fee of $1295+GST applies for each sponsored contribution, due January 31 2016. However this fee reduces to $995+GST for payment in full received by December 31 2015.
All sponsored articles will include:
A sponsorship box at the end of the article, featuring the name & logo of your organisation, along with phone, email and website details.
The article can be written on your behalf, based on the topic you choose and featuring any key copy points that you wish to specify. Writing fees are $400+GST for 500 words, $750+GST for 1000 words.
Limited advertising may also be available in the publication.
Topics shown above are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Other topics may be proposed by sponsors and will be considered by the publishers.
Our booking deadline isDecember 21(although you are advised to BOOK EARLY to secure your choice of topic) and our deadlines areDecember 31(if you wish us to write the copy) orJanuary 12if you are providing complete copy.
This book will be distributed initially as an ebook, offered free of charge via email, to New Zealand marketing decision-makers on our 1600-strong marketing database, to 3000+ current and former participants in our online marketing courses, and also via marketing blogs and social media and through participating industry associations and trade media. It will also be made available to members of at least a dozen NZ LinkedIn business and marketing groups with a combined membership of more than 50,000 Kiwi business people.
The ebook will also, of course, be available for contributing sponsors to distribute freely to clients and prospects.
The book will also be available in printed form on an on-demand basis. The book will also be available for purchase via Amazon.com.
To participate, email us at michael (AT) netmarketingservices.co.nz
There’s been a lot of talk — and, frankly, a fair amount of doom and gloom — about marketing on Facebook in 2015. The most significant development in that sphere came from Facebook itself, which announced late last year that from January 2015 self-promotional posts on Facebook pages would no longer be shown to Facebook followers.
As we’ve commented previously, that’s both good news and bad news. Bad news because marketers fondly hoped that the fascinating news that they were offering a discount or having a sale would be freely distributed to all their followers by Facebook; good news, however, because the new rules actually require that marketers create posts that are relevant and interesting if they are to be shared.
So, here we are at the middle of 2015. How are we doing?
NZ Facebook Marketing 2015
If we look at how New Zealand Facebook pages scored this time last year versus this year, the answer is: not so good.
Across the 25,603 New Zealand pages we track, just 0.75% of followers were (to use Facebook’s terminology) “talking about” the pages in June 2015, compared with 1.92% in June 2014.
In other words, on average expect less than one in 100 of your followers to be “talking about” your posts this year, half the engagement you might have expected last year.
As always, of course, there are outliers — Facebook pages that achieve far better results. Let’s take a look at some of those pages and see what we can learn.
This normally unassuming page, with just 647 likes, achieved a “talking about” score of 812.86% – 5254 people were talking about this page, more than eight times as many as actually followed the page.
The reason for this indecent popularity: a single good Samaritan post that was widely shared.
This success is, alas, likely to be a one-off. On the other hand our next example is more replicable. It’s from Kings Sound Centre, whose page enjoyed 367.69% popularity thanks to a series of videos as part of an online talent quest, their NZ Music Month Ibanez Guitar competition:
For a more sustained success formula, check out ZM Online, whose success (272.82%) derives from multiple posts each contributing to total engagement.
One common thread that you see across all these pages: these marketers are NOT talking about themselves, surprise surprise!
Media channels such as ZM Online obviously find it really easy to talk about other things that are relevant to their audience, without lapsing into self-promotion. They’re simply doing online what they already do through their own channels.
On the other hand, if we look at some of the NZ Facebook pages that are under-performing the average, we typically find plenty of posts that Facebook has deemed self-promotional and not to be shared (without the advertiser paying for the privilege).
For example, when NZ Breakers writes about products it is selling, such posts only get 9 likes and 1 share (despite the team’s 79,209 Facebook followers):
On the other hand, posts about its returning superstars do so much better:
Similarly, despite 1391 followers, My Little Gift‘s really cute pictures also fell afoul of Facebook’s new rules and attracted just 10 likes.
Perhaps the toughest task in NZ Facebook Marketing 2015 is faced by retailers (both online and traditional), who’ve been accustomed to posting their new products to Facebook and attracting attention as a result. Now, businesses such as Designer Gear Women are greeted by deafening silence (just a single like for the post below) despite having 6,854 followers.
It’s not that their followers don’t like what’s being posted, but rather that (under NZ Facebook Marketing 2015 new rules), they’re simply not being shown the posts.
By the way, we should note that the three examples we’ve chosen are simply that — examples, drawn from the 13,836 New Zealand Facebook pages that have less than 1% of their followers talking about them. In fact, these three are much more successful than most, having already attracted thousands of followers. All we’re saying is that times have changed and now new Facebook Marketing strategies are required in 2015 and beyond.
So how can you actually succeed with NZ Facebook Marketing 2015?
For you to achieve success with NZ Facebook Marketing 2015, you need to put on your thinking caps and do some serious brainstorming about your content.
use Graph Search to learn more about your followers and the sort of content that will interest them
identify the types of posts that your followers are most likely to share
create more of those types of posts
create posts in styles and formats that encourage more engagement
identify when your followers are most likely to be active on Facebook
publish your posts at those times
post more frequently than in the past
pay topromote the best of your posts to your followers
bump evergreen popular content
aim to drive Last Actor engagement as much as possible
crunch your numbers regularly to see exactly how well you’re doing (and whether or not you’re fulfilling your potential)
use Facebook advertising to drive Facebook users to your website
PS We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest that you check out our Complete Facebook Marketing and Facebook Accelerator online training courses, which discuss in great detail exactly what you need to succeed in NZ Facebook Marketing 2015.
We don’t normally talk about mobile on this blog (we usually save such comments for our sister site at http://mobilemarketing.ac.nz). Today, however, we’re making an exception because of a very important Google update.
Google has been warning the business community for months that websites now need to be mobile-friendly. TODAY, it’s crunch time.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, expect it to be demoted in search results on smartphones from today, April 21, as Google rolls out its latest algorithm update.
The new algorithm will give priority to mobile-friendly websites, rewarding those who’ve made the change and punishing those still stuck in a desktop-bound world.
More mobile-friendly websites in search results
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
It’s an update that makes complete sense to anyone who has ever visited a website through a mobile device and then found the site virtually unusable.
Image source: www.andupdatemywebsite.com
Common Website Problems
These are the most common problems on websites that aren’t optimised for mobile devices:
The text is too small to read
Website visitors need to pinch, swipe or zoom to see important content (New Rule: If you have to zoom in, it’s not mobile-friendly)
Links and any elements that you need to touch are not thumb-friendly and are too close together (i.e. too easy for humans with fat fingers to accidentally click on the wrong thing)
Your website uses flash or other technologies that don’t play well on some mobile devices
The site doesn’t load within 3 seconds (mobile users are time-sensitive, and will quickly move on)
The content is wider than the mobile screen
The site is full of long, dense copy rather than designed for snacking with short paragraphs and lots of images
To make any transactions through the site, visitors need to fill in long, complicated forms (always difficult on those tiny keyboards)
There is a mobile version but it’s not correctly configured
So why is Google making this change? Why now?
Andrew Gazdecki, writing in Business2Community, highlights the inevitable fact that mobile search will hit the tipping point any moment now:
According to predictions by Google, mobile searches (at 85.9 billion) will surpass desktop searches (84 billion) in 2015
For the last year or so, Google has been developing and testing software that can look at the code of a website and determine whether or not the website has been optimized for mobile devices. If you’ve used Google search on a mobile device lately, you may have noticed that they’ve started adding “Mobile-friendly” labels to the results.
Image source: www.andupdatemywebsite.com
Tracking this “Mobile-Friendly” label experiment has proven to Google that helping searchers find “mobile-friendly” results is a winning strategy: mobile searchers prefer “mobile-friendly” search results.
Therefore, the next logical step is to show them only “mobile-friendly” search results. And that is exactly what this new “mobile-friendly” algorithm is going to do.
A few key points to keep in mind about this mobile-friendly, algorithm update:
It affects searches done on mobile devices only — not searches done on a laptop or desktop computer.
It is applied on a page by page basis, not site-wide, so it may be that some of your pages will be affected while others won’t.
This evaluation of “mobile-friendliness” is done not by humans, but by Google’s computers, so it’s possible (though unlikely) for a website to look fine on mobile devices, but still be dinged by Google.
How to test if your site is Mobile-Friendly
Here’s what Google advises:
Check out Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:
Late last week, Facebook gave businesses the bad news:
Overtly promotional posts will no longer be shown to page followers, beginning in January 2015.
Exactly what types of posts are banned? Here’s what Facebook specified:
Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Facebook gave some hypothetical examples of undesirable posts, but here are just a few of the millions of real Facebook page posts that would seem to fall foul of Facebook’s new rules.
Posts that only talk about products you should buy:
Or contests you can enter:
And even big brands have Facebook page posts unlikely to survive the January 2015 promotional massacre:
Those 762 people who like the above post? They’re going to be out of luck, when January rolls around. They won’t see the Uniqlo promotional posts in their newsfeeds, so they won’t know about the deals.
The Continuing Push Towards Zero Facebook Engagement
This move by Facebook is just the latest step in the social network’s efforts to:
reduce unwanted clutter on users’ Facebook newsfeeds
drive down the reach of brands’ Facebook page posts (towards zero)
From a user-centric point of view, Facebook’s motives are not merely practical but praise-worthy. As Facebook notes, “our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see. When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed”.
From the point of view of businesses, however, Facebook’s moves are typically not viewed in such a benign fashion.
As re/code notes, it’s “likely going to anger brands in the process, many of whom spent years building up a following for this very purpose. Why would Coca-Cola pay Facebook to promote one of its posts when it already has 90 million users following its updates?”
Facebook’s own guidelines for business pages spell out the social giant’s thinking:
Publicize exclusive discounts and promotions with ads
If you’re looking to inspire more purchases from your posts, create Facebook Ads with special discounts or promotions.
Use link ads to drive people to your site, and include special codes they can use at checkout
Drive urgency with a time prompt like “free shipping, this weekend only” or “12 hour flash sale”
Promote only products or services you think your audience is most interested in
Advertise end-of-year contests and giveaways to drive customer loyalty and sales
In other words, if you want to use Facebook to actually sell stuff, you can now expect to have to PAY.
Overcoming Facebook Frustration & Reaching Your Followers
So what should you do? Simply abandon your carefully-constructed Facebook presence? Or pay every time to reach your followers?
Time and again, we’ve seen that Social Media amplifies – sometimes for good, too often for bad or worse. Say something stupid in social media and there’s a better than even chance that the whole world will find out about it, far sooner than you think.
There’s really only one solution (and even that’s not guaranteed): learn what you should and shouldn’t say on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and all those other social networks. Get some training before it’s too late.
So how do you know if you need social media training?
If your organisation exhibits any of these classic errors.
Social Media Warning Signs
Get yourself social media training fastif your business makes any of these mistakes:
1. Asking open-ended questions (and then ignoring the responses)
2. 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.
3. 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:
4. 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).
5. 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.
6. 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.
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.
7. 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 (via your Page Manager dashboard) and view “When Your Fans Are Online” (under “Posts”).
Post perhaps twice a day, at times that coincide with most of your fans being 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 courses: overview here.
If you want a comprehensive overview of Social Media Marketing, its principles and its practices, start here
If you want a rundown of the latest developments, check out our Advanced Social Media Marketing course here
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 learnHow 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
It’s been apparent for the last couple of years that posts to Facebook Business Pages are being seen by fewer and fewer page followers. In October 2012, the Dangerous Minds blog published its (unhappy) views on the trend:
Spring of 2012 was when bloggers, non-profits, indie bands, community theaters, photographers, caterers, artists, mega-churches, high schools, tee-shirt vendors, campus coffee shops, art galleries, museums, charities, food trucks, and a near infinite variety of organizations; individuals from all walks of life; and businesses, both large and small, began to detect—for it was almost imperceptible at first—that the volume was getting turned down on their Facebook reach. Each post was now being seen only by a fraction of their total “fans” who would previously have seen them.
But it wasn’t just the so-called “fan pages,” individual Facebook users were also starting to notice that they weren’t seeing much in their newsfeeds anymore from the various entities they “liked”—or even updates from their closest friends and family members. Something was amiss, but unless you had a larger “data set” to look at—or a formerly thriving online business that was now getting creamed—it probably wasn’t something that you noticed or paid that much attention to.
When we first noticed the problem, our blog had about 29,000 Facebook “likes.” Our traffic was growing 20% month over month, but our Facebook fans grew at a far faster pace. We were getting hundreds of new ‘likes” every day. Still do. As I write this, our Facebook fans now number over 53,000, not quite double what it was then, but give it another month or so and it will be.
53,000 is a more than respectable number of Facebook fans for a blog that’s only been around for a little over three years. So why is it that our pageviews—our actual inventory, what we sell to advertisers—coming from Facebook shares are off by half to two thirds when the number of new “likes” has risen so dramatically during this same time period?!?!
In a widely read—and widely shared on Facebook—NY Observer article titled “Broken on Purpose: Why Getting It Wrong Pays More Than Getting It Right,” (emailed to me by a friend, a prominent blogger, with the subject line: “Why putting a lot of energy into building a Facebook presence is a sucker’s game”) PR strategist and social media expert Ryan Holiday succinctly laid out the case against the damage Facebook had inflicted upon its most active users with its recently rolled out Promote “option”:
It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.
As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”
In other words, through “Sponsored Stories,” brands, agencies and artists are now charged to reach their own fans—the whole reason for having a page—because those pages have suddenly stopped working.
This is a clear conflict of interest. The worse the platform performs, the more advertisers need to use Sponsored Stories. In a way, it means that Facebook is broken, on purpose, in order to extract more money from users. In the case of Sponsored Stories, it has meant raking in nearly $1M a day.
Organic reach of the content brands publish in Facebook is destined to hit zero. It’s only a matter of time.
In 2012, Facebook famously restricted organic reach of content published from brand pages to about 16 percent. In December 2013, another round of changes reduced it even more.
By February 2014, according to a [email protected] analysis of more than 100 brand pages, organic reach hovered at 6 percent, a decline of 49 percent from peak levels in October.
For large pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach hit 2 percent in February. And Facebook sources were unofficially advising community managers to expect it to approach zero in the foreseeable future.
The ability to build communities of fans, and then maintain contact and encourage engagement using content published to fans’ News Feeds was a critical aspect of Facebook’s early appeal to marketers. The opportunity of achieving engagement at scale motivated many brands and corporates to invest millions in developing communities and providing for care and feeding via always-on content.
With the impending end of organic reach, what are the consequences for marketers and others who use Facebook to connect with their communities? How can brands and corporates get the most from Facebook in the future? Is Facebook still a driver of “earned” conversation and word of mouth? Or is it just a straightforward paid channel? How should communities approach content and engagement going forward?
This isn’t an academic exercise. Facebook Zero is a reality now facing every brand and business with a presence on the platform. Action is required, and specific decisions will need to be made with regard to content planning, paid support for social media activities, audience targeting and much more.
Our own analyses support the [email protected] calculations. Across our database of 27,444 New Zealand Facebook pages, as at March 1 2014, we found that:
NZ pages with more than 100,000 Likes were talked about in the preceding seven days by just 2.78% of their followers
NZ pages with less than 100,000 Likes were talked about by 5.82% of their followers
If marketers want success on Facebook, sorry, but you have to pay. This shouldn’t come as a shock or a disappointment. When was the last time you saw ITV offer a free 30-second spot, or The Guardian hand over a cover wrap because they sympathised that a brand had spent years building up a community among its readers? Marketing success on Facebook is no different to anywhere else: it requires ruthless media spend, efficient targeting and fantastic creative.
Getting Your Followers Talking About You
So what should you do? Simply abandon your carefully-constructed Facebook presence? Or pay every time to reach your followers?
BTW, we’ve also added appropriate advice into our Advanced Social Media Marketing course, for those who want to learn more about not just Facebook but also Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Another year, and by now you probably think you have a pretty good understanding of Social Media.
Perhaps so. Then you won’t mind if we put that to the test, will you?
Strap yourself in as we take you on a journey through 14 Social Media Facts, Frivolities, Forecasts, Fails and Fallacies you need to know as we plunge into 2014:
FACT: LinkedIn Kiwi visitor numbers grew by a very impressive 53% over the most recent 12 month period. The site grew from 520,000 in December 2012 to 798,000 in November 2013, according to comScore. Two thirds of Kiwi LinkedIn visitors are over the age of 35.
FALLACY: that teens are abandoning Facebook.Mashable has just weighed in on the topic: “Facebook may have a teen problem. Maybe. Facebook does, however, have a media problem around the now widely adopted perception that teens are abandoning the site, or using it less. Or something. Nobody seems quite sure.” Actually, if we compare (via Nielsen Online Ratings) the numbers of Kiwi Under 25s who visited Facebook in March 2013 (754,000) versus September 2013 (675,000), there’s clearly a decline but hardly a rout.
FAIL: the online world held its collective breath in December 2013 as Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her flight. The tweet (you can view it here) 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.
FRIVOLITY: YouTube’s Top 10 Trending Videos of 2013included Foxes, trucks, animals, babies — and the Chatroulette version of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball.Caution, may be NSFAWAASOH [Not Suitable For Anyone Without An Adolescent Sense Of Humour]
FORECAST: Advertorial is back in fashion for 2014, but this time it goes by the trendy new label “native advertising”. Why is it back? Because consumers are more likely to trust content that looks like editorial. Why the new name? Umm — if we were cynical, we’d be inclined to suggest a little bit of smoke and mirrors might be involved. There’s a useful Pros & Cons of Native Advertising article here.
FACT: Google continues to integrate its social layer throughout the search giant’s operations. In December 2013, that integration included the trial of a whole new breed of social ads: as we noted a few weeks ago, Google is doing a thing that was probably inevitable with its social network Google+: It’s testing a new +Post ad system in the form of promoted posts that translates public Google+ content from their brand sites into a display ad that can run across Google’s Display Ad network. The big benefit: the new offering provides a way for those who see the ads to reshare content directly from the ad, leave a comment or question that will be answerable via its G+ account, or even start a Hangout instantly to chat with someone live.
FALLACY: That Likes are what matter on Facebook. There’s been a bit of press noise in recent months about major NZ marketers who have amassed plenty of likes on Facebook. Good for them, but we’re more interested in those marketers who are effectively engaging with their Facebook followers (the stat that Facebook calls “People Talking About This”. For example, we wrote (back in August) about Made4Baby, This Kiwi brand, which provides natural skincare for babies & children, at the time had only 2,457 Likes but was talked about by 14,300 in a single week, representing 584.2% Engagement — nearly six times as many people talking about the Facebook page as it has followers. Now that’s what we call social marketing!
FORECAST: 70% of small businesses plan to use the Facebook mobile app for business development and marketing in 2014, according to a MarketingProfs survey. That’s not surprising: 73% of Facebook’s monthly active users now connect to the social network through their mobile devices, according to Facebook reports. That has particular implications for Facebook advertising: standard Facebook ads (those that show up on the right hand side of the page on the Facebook website) don’t display on mobile.
FAIL: Nokia New Zealand tweeted a mysterious obscenity to its followers in November 2013. The offending tweet was promptly deleted and quickly followed by an apology and a promise to investigate. The company later said a hacker was the likely culprit. Are your social media passwords safe and mostly uncrackable?
FRIVOLITY: Those who do best on Twitter: celebrities. For proof, look no further than the most popular Twitter accounts. Right now, Katy Perry is on top of the world, with more than 49 million followers, followed closely by Justin Bieber on 48.6 million. Lady Gaga is next, with more than 41 million hanging on her every word. The most powerful man in the world, US President Barack Obama, could barely manage fourth place with his 40.9 million followers. Top New Zealand celebrity: teen sensation Lorde, with a mere 817,000 followers (still well ahead of what we would call the biggest New Zealand celebrity brand, the All Blacks (289,987 followers). Perhaps Tourism New Zealand (53,615 followers) could sponsor Lorde’s Twitter account?
FACT: Facebook is killing Sponsored Stories from April this year — but fret not, Facebook marketers, the social network will still leverage its knowledge of its users, just differently. The changes, according to ReadWrite, “were in large part due to a lawsuit against Facebook claiming sponsored stories violated user privacy. The crux of the $20 million lawsuit Facebook settled in August 2013 hinged on the social network using users’ likeness in advertising without asking or compensating them.” However “social context — stories about social actions your friends have taken, such as liking a page or checking in to a restaurant — is now eligible to appear next to all ads shown to friends on Facebook”.
FAIL: Twitter Vine users are filming a scary amount of video footage while driving.Mashablereports that “Whether to yell at crazy drivers or poke fun at unknowing passersby, Vine users are watching and filming their own Vine videos behind the wheel. ‘I speculate that video recording with Vine might cause more visual distraction than voice calling or speech-based conversation,’ says Jibo He, assistant professor of psychology at Wichita State University.” You think?
FALLACY: Establish a Presence Everywhere On. Every. Single. Social. Network. That ranks amongst one of the worst pieces of social media advice you will ever hear, according to Sharon Michaels. She makes the point that there are just too many social networks out there, and suggests instead that “The saner thing to do would be to take stock of your market, resources, and objectives, choose 3-4 social platforms that your audience is most active on, and use them dedicatedly. For instance, if your business deals with travel, interior designing, landscaping, or fashion, Pinterest would be a lot more useful as compared to LinkedIn. However, the latter makes for an invaluable resource if you are offering products and services for business professionals.”
FORECAST: Investment in Social Media in 2014 will become a necessity, not a luxury. Forbes Magazine argues that “Businesses are already coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy, and are seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic, and revenue. As businesses see these very real and measurable benefits, I believe we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see even more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.”
We could go on, but we think that’s best left to our various courses:
If you’d like to know more about how to use social media effectively for your business (big or small), check out our Principles & Practice of Social Media course (next course starts Monday Jan 27, Early Bird $100 discount for bookings received by Monday Jan 20).
If you’d like specific details of what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube and much more, sign up for our Advanced Social Media Marketing course (next course starts Wednesday Jan 29, Early Bird $100 discount for bookings received by Wednesday Jan 22).
If you’d like to know about how social media and mobile marketing work together, take a look at our Principles & Practice of Mobile Marketing course (next course starts Wednesday Jan 29, Early Bird $100 discount for bookings received by Wednesday Jan 22).
If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business but think you really should, start with our Complete Facebook Marketing course (next course starts Wednesday Jan 22, Early Bird $100 discount for bookings received by Wednesday Jan 15).
On the other hand, if you already have a Facebook business page, we recommend our Facebook Acceleratorcourse to help you take your page to the next level (next course starts Wednesday Jan 22, Early Bird $100 discount for bookings received by Wednesday Jan 29).
If you haven’t already mastered Social Media Marketing, you’re missing out on a vital weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Not yet convinced? Check out these key statistics which show why you should be marketing in Social Media in 2014:
90% of Kiwis between 18 and 39 now use social media (Colmar Brunton research, July 2013)
Facebook alone reaches 75% of 35-54s in a typical month(Nielsen Online Ratings, September 2013)
Older audiences can be found there too. 70% of those in the 60-64 age group use social media, as do 66% of those aged 65-69 and 58% of those over 70(Colmar Brunton research, July 2013)
A word of warning:Social Media Marketing is not just a matter of tossing a few ads on Facebook. “Kiwi social media users are open to connecting with brands but brands must have a good reason to be using social media understand who they’re engaging with, and what they’re interested in. Overt advertising on social media is seen as intrusive – 78% of people don’t like advertisements on social media and that rises to 82% when it is on mobiles or tablets.” (Colmar Brunton Innovation and Business Development Director Vanessa Clark)
Social Media is not just for connecting with friends.40% of New Zealanders have been contacted about a potential job opportunity via a social media network and 17% of New Zealand respondents had successfully secured a new job opportunity in this way (Kelly Global Workforce Index, November 2013)
Kiwis use Social Media for purchase recommendations. 85% of buying decisions are made by researching the web for recommendations and information. 92% of Kiwis trust recommendations from their peers.(Localist, November 2013)
They’re very frequent visitors. 24% of Kiwis use their 4G smartphone or tablet to check social media apps at least 20 times a day(Vodafone 4G Network Report, November 2013)
Social media is now considered more important than traditional print advertising in [industries such as] the food and beverage industry (Grant Thornton International Food and Beverage report, October 2013)
“Social media has increased the speed of delivery of the message to market, enabling adaptability and a quick reaction time, but only if the organisation is geared up for it.An online presence can be a game changer for companies operating in a country like New Zealand, where retailer power is concentrated.” (Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner and National Leader, Food and Beverage, Simon Hunter)
Male business owners (in particular) need to lift their social media game. Over a quarter of women SME operators (27%) use a social media site to promote their business, compared to 21% of men. (MYOB Business Monitor, August 2013)
Mastering social media can lead to more effective business development too. 92% of business people say that networking is a key part of professional development and business success, but only 8% of respondents chose social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as their preferred method of networking. (The Icehouse survey, August 2013)
Social Media drives Engagement with Consumers. “The X Factor NZ has become the most socialised television show in New Zealand listeners, the show’s Facebook community numbers 109,000 fans (and counting), with up to 70,000 people actively talking about the programme at any one time, and individual status updates having an organic reach of 300,000 users.” (TV3, July 2013)
Have we made our case about the strategic importance of Social Media Marketing? Then may we recommend that you take advantage of our special Summer School offer of a 25% discount on one or more of our online training courses.
The special Summer School editions of each course begin on Friday December 20.
How the Summer School works: on the first day of each course, we send you login and password details, at which point you are able to access all lessons. Then twice a week over the next several weeks we send you Course Notes for each Lesson.
Please note that you are able to access the course anytime 24/7, and can proceed at your own pace through the course — the course remains online for you to access when convenient.
Here are the course details (click through for more information):
The Principles & Practice of Social Media Marketing
This is a seven-part eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to Social Media Marketing, from the Basics to detailed instructions on how to build and run a Social Media Marketing programme.
For more details of the Summer School special offer for our Social Media Marketing online course, please click here.
Advanced Social Media Marketing course
Because Social Media never stands still, we’ve developed a course that has as its focus the very latest developments in the medium. This course is designed for those who already have a solid understanding of Social Media Marketing and wish to keep themselves as up-to-date as possible. The course covers the latest happenings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube and a great deal more.
For more details of the Summer School special offer for our Advanced Social Media Marketingprogramme, please click here.
Facebook Accelerator Programme
So you have a few hundred (or a few thousand) followers on Facebook but now you want to know how to get to the next level? Our Facebook Accelerator seven-part online course will lead you through the steps necessary to supercharge your Facebook presence and get Kiwi consumers engaging with you and your brands.
For more details of the Summer School special offer for ourFacebook Accelerator programme, please click here.
Our online course, “Mastering eCommerce”, tells you what you need to know about selling effectively online in a seven-week programme that steps you through the principles and practices of eCommerce in New Zealand.
For more details of the Summer School special offer for ourMastering eCommerce programme, please click here.
The Complete Facebook Marketing Course
For those who wish to master Facebook Marketing in its entirety, we’ve created a ten-week online training programme which will take you from absolute beginner on Facebook to highly effective Facebook communicator.
For more details of the Summer School special offer for ourComplete Facebook Marketing programme, please click here.
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively – For Your Business And Your Career
This is a seven-part online training eCourse providing a comprehensive introduction to LinkedIn, from the basics to detailed instructions on how to use LinkedIn to promote your organisation, build your personal reputation, find a job, recruit prospective employees and even make sales.
For more details of the Summer School special offer for ourHow to Use LinkedIn Effectively programme, please click here.
Don’t get left behind! Get your marketing knowledge up to speed for 2014 with one of our Summer School courses!
It’s the professional social site’s 10th Birthday this week. Wow, how time flies!
In honour of that momentous occasion, we’ve put together 10 Tips that will help you make more effective use of LinkedIn.
We start with a piece of advice that isn’t counted as one of our tips but is the basic starting point for everyone on LinkedIn:
Yes, your profile may be long (unless you’re just starting your first job). Yes, it can onerous to transfer all your information from your CV to LinkedIn (and that’s just the beginning). But a 100% Complete Profile (or as near as you can get to that blissful state) will see your LinkedIn page rise to the top of Google search results if anyone is searching for you by name; and a complete profile will also ensure that those prospective customers, clients or employers will be able to see the complete you when they visit you virtually on LinkedIn.
You only have yourself to blame if your LinkedIn profile doesn’t present the very best summary of who you are and what you can do for a prospect.
Now let’s turn to those ten tips. We start with Keywords.
LinkedIn has more than 200 million members — and a little over 829,000 of them are Kiwis. So the only way you’re going to get found amongst all those people on LinkedIn is through keywords. Identify the keywords that are relevant to those who you want to be found by, and work them into your Headline, your Summary and elsewhere in your Profile.
Speaking of your Headline, by default it’s simply the title of your current job (see the example of Sepi Bordian, above). Change that immediately, adding in relevant keywords and put in a customer benefit as well, just as Mikhail Pomeliako has done. Your choice whether you want to be as modest as Mikhail.
Social Proof is all the range, thanks to Facebook, TripAdvisor et al. On LinkedIn, such proof takes the form of Endorsements and the more powerful Recommendations. If you expect to receive Recommendations, start by giving them — to current and former clients, suppliers and colleagues. As the Bible has it, “Give and Ye Shall Receive” (Luke 6:38).
One of the most effective ways to get noticed and build your reputation on LinkedIn is to join groups — and then participate in the life of the group. Don’t just join any groups though (LinkedIn restricts you to a maximum of fifty groups) — join groups where your prospects hang out. And then contribute to those groups, commenting, answering questions and generally becoming a valuable part of that virtual community. You may think nobody will notice you — but they will, if you actively participate. And if you’ve chosen your groups wisely, group members (AKA Hot Prospects) will think of you when it comes time for them to look around for suppliers for their next project or for potential employees.
As we mentioned above, Keywords are vital if you want to get found on LinkedIn. But there’s also another HUGE factor that determines whether or not you’re found: are you connected to the searcher, as what LinkedIn calls a 1st, 2nd or 3rd connection [what we might call (1) a friend, (2) a friend of a friend or (3) a friend of a friend of a friend]?
The closer the connection, the higher you’re likely to appear in that person’s search results. So you owe it to yourself to connect with as many people as you can (always taking into account that you need to actually KNOW the person you’re trying to connect with on LinkedIn). Make as many (relevant) connections as you can and you’ll show up more often in searches as a result.
We’ve already noted that LinkedIn hates it when you try to connect with people you don’t know. There’s one exception, however: LIONs. A LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) invites connections from everyone — it’s a great way to expand the reach of your network. LIONs are less numerous in New Zealand, however, so if your market is NZ only, connecting with LIONs may not be effective for you.
Your photo is really important on LinkedIn — a picture sells a thousand words. In the example above, the first photo is Bad because we can’t tell anything about Andy from the photo (except perhaps a fondness for plaid shirts) — Andy’s photo is too small to see his face clearly. The second photo is fine — a nice clear closeup, visible at the small size that features in search results. The third photo isn’t great, because Mike’s face is again difficult to see clearly. We’ve also seen photos on LinkedIn of two women standing together (and we had no idea which was the subject of the LinkedIn profile). Go for sharp, clear closeups. Save the personal stuff for Facebook — LinkedIn photos should be promoting Brand You.
A LinkedIn Profile is NOT a CV. Even though some of the elements (eg listings of previous roles) start out the same, they should be treated differently. For example, as in the example above, this person had a sales training role in London. Clearly, he wants to promote that aspect, so the description of that previous job includes a title stuffed with keywords. We don’t recommend you go that far — search engines penalise such obvious stuffing — but you shouldn’t settle for just a generic job title either. Use the space to sell your achievements in each role, current or past (taking care to be honest and accurate, of course).
For instance, instead of saying “Sales Trainer”, you might create a title for that job that describes your role as “Sales Trainer leading a team responsible for tripling sales volumes in Greater China in 3 years”. Don’t expect your visitors to read the small print on past roles — at most they’ll just flick through the job titles. Use those to highlight your achievements.
One of the more recent innovations on LinkedIn is the Skills & Experience section, which enables you to specify your skills and experience (doh!), which your connections then endorse.
It’s important that you focus your Skills & Experience on those that are relevant to your prospects. Why? Apart from the obvious — prospects who visit your Profile page want to see that you have the right skills to meet their needs — it’s also apparent that LinkedIn uses the Skills & Experience endorsements as another factor in search results. If someone, for example, is looking for Digital Strategy as a keyword, and you have that skill listed but you haven’t received many endorsements for that skill, you’ll be further down the list of results in a search for the keyword Digital Strategy than if it was your most-endorsed skill.
Avoid filling out your Summary till last, and understand this: despite the title, it shouldn’t actually be a summary of your profile but rather a summary of your achievements and how you can help your prospects. Refresh your Summary regularly, adding in new achievements that are relevant to your prospects.
And, of course, if your prospect targeting changes (if for example you move to a different job role), you’ll need to revisit your Summary (and indeed every aspect of your Profile) to ensure that your LinkedIn presentation is still relevant to your new focus.
Follow those Ten LinkedIn Tips and you’ll be well on your way to using LinkedIn effectively.
The existing News Feed displays a mash-up of posts from friends alongside Facebook pages you’ve liked . Those posts include check-ins, photos, videos, and status updates in some arcane order determined by an algorithm. The updated News Feed, by contrast, separates types of content, and lets users choose to view only photos, or only music, or only updates from businesses like yours—in other words, the pages they’ve liked.
One of the biggest changes to the design is the way it handles music. There’s a new feed to deal only with music-related stuff. You just choose the feed from a feeds drop-down list at the top right of the page.
The Spotify music your friends are listening to is now featured in the music feed. Facebook has moved your friends’ song listens out of the old ticker at the right hand side of the screen, and into the music feed.
And Facebook is doing a lot more with those Spotify listens. It looks for artists and songs that multiple friends are listening to and groups them together in an article in the news feed. The article contains a large picture of the artist, and at the left you can see all your friends who’ve listened to the artist lately. Mouse over any of the pictures and you can see what those people said about the artist.
The Following feed
Some of these themes are continued in other feeds. In the Following feed, Facebook now builds media rich articles using content from the pages of publications or public figures you like. For instance, if you follow the Onion’s page, you might see an article in your feed with the three most recent articles from the publication. Each article has its own image, and a 20-word summary. You might also find in-page videos of public figures you follow.
The Photos feed
The Photos feed simply displays all the posts that include photographs. The photos appear larger in the feed, as well as the text around them. Even the text in the comments boxes below the photos appears to be a little bit bigger than before. At the top of the Photos feed page, you’ll find a small header image that incorporates one of the images from your feed. (Actually, all the new feeds pages have these header images.)
2. Larger Pictures for More Visual Impact
Images are to be given much more priority in the new-look News Feed, for which we can probably thank Pinterest and Instagram (and the fact that, as revealed by Mark Zuckerberg, 50 percent of the content in the Facebook News Feed already comprises photos and videos). Little wonder, then, that the News Feed is being given a visual makeover.
Here’s what you’ll see if you look at a typical Facebook News Feed now:
And how it will look once the revamp rolls out:
3. Facebook Albums Look Better Too
4. New Look For Shared Stories
Perhaps the most dramatic change is to the way that links are shared on Facebook. You’ll be familar with the current appearance:
The new Sharing layout resembles (and was probably inspired by) the table of contents of a magazine. The new look includes:
A much larger image
A more prominent title
And a longer summary that tells you what this article is about
Facebook is also starting to add the logos of the publishers in the corner, its own effort to add authority and credibility to the shared content.
5. Desktop Mobilised
This visual makeover will see Facebook adopt similar layouts across both desktop and mobile, taking advantage of recent mobile styling.
What About The Marketers?
Collectively, the changes add up to a bold new look to the Facebook News Feed, at least for consumers. But where are marketers in all this?
AdWeekreported on the reaction from the marketing industry:
Many marketers gleefully anticipated that the content-specific feeds that Facebook was reportedly prepping would improve their ability to target ads. But when Facebook announced the new feeds on Thursday, advertisers were all but shut out—many of them feeling none too happy about it. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has yet to determine how it wants to handle ads in the four new feeds.
The ability to target, say, image-rich ads to the Photos feed, or promote a brand-related jingle to the Music Feed ads would be “definitely a great opportunity for advertisers. I don’t know why they’re not making that available right now,” said Performics global CEO Daina Middleton.
Facebook isn’t leaving Madison Avenue completely in the dark. After the announcement, the company emailed marketers with a follow-up overview of the new feeds and design “and said right now ad units aren’t going to change,” said iCrossing’s head of social media Amanda Peters, who received such an email.
Despite that outreach, “I was surprised that there wasn’t any mention of ad units [during Thursday’s announcement],” Peters said. “I think [the new feeds] do present an opportunity for new units and potentially more dynamic units, more targeted units for specific feeds. My guess is that would come very soon.”
But maybe marketers shouldn’t be surprised about a lack of initial ad talk, given past Facebook announcements regarding product changes, said MEC managing partner and social practice lead Kristine Segrist.
“I feel like historically whether it was Timeline or other big platform changes, they roll out the user experience first, get some learnings, test it in the wild, then roll out the accompanying ad products,” she said. However “the scary story for marketers is whether users have newfound controls and can choose to spend time where brands or businesses can’t be part of the conversation.”
“There will be a section of the new News Feed dedicated to pages that users have liked”, saysTony Bradley. However:
Borrowing the personalized newspaper analogy, that section will be the equivalent of the classifieds section.
It’s fair to assume that the users who have liked your Facebook page are at least peripherally interested in your products and services. However, people spend time on the social network to be, well, social.
Their first thought won’t be, “Hey, I wonder if that company I liked has anything new to say.” It probably won’t be their second or third thought, either.
Don’t wait for users to find you in the equivalent of the classifieds. To stay in the game and engage with your community, take your business to them. How do you do that? Use lots of photos and videos to help you business show up in the sections of the new Facebook News Feed, such as Photos, that will have the most traffic.
In other words, even in the new-look Facebook News Feeds, old-fashioned Engagement is as essential as ever.