Busy day today so for my weekly blog, I thought I would share something quick that you may be aware of. The "secret" Twitter dot. For those of you who use Twitter frequently, especially for marketing, you may not be aware of how to make sure your message gets out to all of your followers when you may be tweeting to say, just one person. Use the ol dot. Example:
You have to put something before the username to trick Twitter into thinking it’s a regular tweet for mass consumption. Perhaps you’ve seen people start their tweets with a period? Tricking Twitter is exactly what they’re doing. If you haven’t seen this before, here’s a sample:
.@rachelsklar just took at the stage at #SXSW to talk about trends for women in comedy. Any questions I should ask her?Now this tweet will get pushed to everyone following me, regardless of whether they also follow Rachel. Pretty slick eh? You all have a good rest of week!
FDMC Social & Digital Media
In the past week, Facebook and YouTube have both announced some changes to their video advertising formats. These changes won't take place until later this year (or perhaps early next) but I know video marketers, too. They HATE to change things. But, with that kind of advanced warning, who can really complain?
So, what are these changes? Nothing too super radical but they are going to be noticeable. And why did Facebook, whose mantra for developers has long been “move fast and break things,” and YouTube, which changes at a rate of 33% a year, decide to alert us to these alterations in their video advertising formats several months in advance? Well from my research, here is what is coming down the pike.
New Ways to Watch Facebook Video
On Feb. 14, 2017, Facebook announced four news ways to watch Facebook video. The biggest change involves bringing sound to videos in the News Feed between now and the end of the year. As video marketers know, videos in the News Feed have played silently up to now — unless a user tapped on a video to hear the sound. But, as younger people have been watching more Snapchat videos on their smartphones, they’ve apparently come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. Who knew? So, Facebook has decided – after testing sound on in its News Feed and “hearing positive feedback” – to carefully follow in Snapchat’s footsteps and slowly bring sound to more people, as well. When this update rolls out, sound will fade in and out as Facebook users scroll through videos in their News Feed.
Now, if your smartphone is set to silent, then Facebook videos won’t play with sound. And, if you never want videos to play with sound, then you can disable this feature by switching off “Videos in News Feed Start with Sound” in Settings. Facebook also says it will be showing in-product messages to tell people about the new sound on experience and controls.
In other news, Facebook also announced changes to make vertical videos look better on mobile devices. It made it possible to minimize the video you’re watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of your screen while you browse other stories in News Feed. And it announced a new Facebook video app for TV. But, these changes are less likely to ruffle anyone’s feathers.
All media companies have to carefully balance what their readers, listeners, viewers, and users want with what their advertisers would like to have. Back in the 1980's when I still had hair and "gag me with a chainsaw" was a popular catchphrase, two-thirds of the advertisers in PC/Computing (an example) wanted their ads to appear in the first third of the magazine, even though reader research showed that the most popular part was the middle of the publication where the cover story ran. Today, advertisers may prefer that their videos autoplay with the sound on, but that may or may not be welcomed by the vast majority of Facebook users. Snapchat users are used to sound because the audio they hear instantly typically comes from their friends videos. Not from advertisers.
With the advent of Facebook Live, we may see a similar response, but it’s too soon to tell. So, why would Facebook hear “positive feedback” after testing sound on in its News Feed? Well, not every Facebook user sees videos in their News Feed. The stats sate that only 500 million Facebook users even see videos, so the test may have been conducted using the most video-friendly segment of the social network’s users. And 85% of these Facebook users currently watch videos with the sound off. So, did Facebook conduct its test using the 15% that currently watch videos with the sound on? And as the social network rolls out videos that autoplay with sound, will the feedback continue to be as positive? In other words, kudos to Facebook for giving everyone a “heads up” that changes are coming down the road. For a company that just celebrated its 13th birthday, the social network is showing a lot of maturity. But, video marketers should still watch this particular change like a hawk, because sound may not be welcomed by as many Facebook users as advertisers would like. The jury is still out.
YouTube to End 30 Second Unskippable Ads
Google provided an official statement on Feb. 17, 2017, that said YouTube will drop the unskippable ad format beginning early next year. A Google spokesman added that YouTube will “focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.” The 30-second unskippable ads were popular with advertisers. So, apparently this format didn’t work for YouTube users, who have apparently come to expect the ability to choose which video ads they want to watch – which is what TrueView video ads gave them seven years ago. Advertisers will have until 2018 to make adjustments to their plans. And video ads that are shorter than 30-seconds, including 20-second spots, can still be made unskippable. Plus, YouTube has been touting its six-second unskippable bumper ad format since its introduction in April 2016. Again this is nice that YouTube gave consumers and advertisers a “heads up” that changes are coming down the road. For a company that just celebrated its 12th birthday, the video-sharing site is showing a lot of maturity. But, video marketers should recognize that YouTube appears to be giving its users want they want while Facebook is testing the limits of what its advertisers would like to have.
Although both video platforms and trying to balance the two competing forces that any media company feels, one is zigging, while the other is zagging. That means this isn’t a horse race where both competitors are trying to pull out ahead of each other on the same well-defined track. This is more like cross-country running where two different teams are competing in a race across open-air courses over natural terrain that is not well marked. That makes the changes to Facebook and YouTube’s video advertising formats well worth watching – even if we won’t know the outcome until next year.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
On Pinterest – the social platform built on beautiful, shareable imagery – opportunities for shopping come cleverly disguised as outfit inspiration and smoothie recipes and DIY centrepieces and VW bus renovations and french bulldog puppies. These collectible, bite-sized visuals feed our human instincts to covet and hoard and categorize. For consumers, it’s a place to hunt and gather. For brands, it’s a goldmine. saying "Take my money!" Last year, Pinterest was the second largest social source for traffic (over Twitter), and resulting visits had the third highest average order value (beating Facebook). If you’re still not convinced, consider this: sales and traffic from Pins can occur long after the item is pinned. In fact, 50 percent of visits happen after 3.5 months, according to Piqora. Compared to Twitter and Facebook where the content half-life is around 5 minutes and 80 minutes, respectively, Pinterest is more bang for your social buck. As a merchant, there are several ways to maximize your efforts on Pinterest, including choosing the right content, running contests, and engaging with your community. Here are seven ideas to add to your Pinterest marketing strategies.
1. Use Rich Pins
Rich Pins are pins that contain extra information right inside the pin. Your customers can benefit from Product Pins which include real-time pricing and stock availability. Rich Pins can improve CTR and discoverability of Pins, by making them eligible for Pinterest’s own curated feeds. Another advantage of Rich Pins is price notifications. If you reduce the price of your product, customers who Repinned that product image will receive an email from Pinterest notifying them of the price drop and prompting them to buy.
2. Pin Smarter
Quality over quantity is a long-revered rule of thumb when it comes to, well, just about anything. With Pinterest, make it your mantra. Volume matters for the sake of consistency – pin every new product, engage frequently, keep it fresh. Knowing what types of images work best on Pinterest is even more important. When shooting and choosing photos for your product pages, make them highly Repinnable. What makes an image Pinterest-worthy? Let’s dig into the data:
· Keep it Anonymous. Images without faces receive 23% more Repins than those with faces.
· Use Color Wisely. Pins with multiple dominant colors are Repinned 3.25 times more than those dominated by a single color, and red images fare better than blue.
· Size Matters. Images on your product pages should ideally be at least 600 px wide with the optimal Pin width being 736 pixels wide (the maximum display size). Taller images are more likely to be Repinned.
· Listen. Pay attention to your analytics, either through your Pinterest business tools or via other apps like Piqora, Tailwind, or Curalate. While summer salad recipes and DIY treehouses may have high virality potential overall, be relevant – find out what resonates with your audience specifically.
· Timing is Everything. Pin and engage when your customers are doing the same. The time periods 2-4pm and 8-11pm are roughly the best times to Pin, but it can depend on where and who your customers are. Pinterest research also suggests that certain categories perform better on specific days of the week.
You Need a Blog.
You already know why your ecommerce site needs a blog. Use it as a place tocreate beautiful content for your Pinterest boards, too. Even if you’re not a designer or photographer, you can use easy tools to help create great content
3. Sell the Lifestyle
Inspire your audience, don’t just sell to them. Create boards around lifestyle themes that include your products, rather than just product boards ("The Great Outdoors" vs "ABC Company Outerwear"). Great brands understand their customers and the kind of content that they crave.
4. Piggyback on the Popular
While I previously cautioned against pinning content simply based on viral potential, you can tap into the most popular pin types and search terms if they’re actually relevant to your audience. Are your customers predominantly men? Your slice of the Pinterest pie is small, so maximize your efforts. Create boards and pin content in the categories of photography, art, design, and home decor. Do you sell food or beverages? Develop easy recipes containing your products. Are your products related to fitness, health, or beauty? Pin inspirational and inspirational content with quotes. Is your ecommerce store a source for tools, craft supplies, or fabric? Use them to create DIYs and tutorials.
5. Run Pinterest Contests
Contests are a great way to increase engagement on Pinterest. Brands, however, should pay attention to Pinterest’s contest guidelines. Certain types of contests are not permitted, nor is spammy behaviour.
Done well, and within the platform’s parameters, Pinterest contests can drive sales and traffic for your ecommerce site. Jetsetter used contests to increase site traffic by 150% and Overstock.com saw a 1000% jump in referrals from Pinterest.
· Be Creative. Modcloth wins at contests by keeping them fun and original.
· Make it Worth it. Forever 21 asks followers to create an entire board, but puts a $1000 gift card on the table as incentive.
· Get Inspired. Look to other brands for contest ideas that might work for you.
· Use an App. Apps like Gleam.io, Wishpond or Woobox can help organize your contest and host it on your site or Facebook.
6. Leverage the Power of Influencers
Partner up with Pinterest influencers and bloggers to give your product some clout on the social network. Many brands get access to new audiences by inviting Guest Pinners to create boards on their accounts. Often, influencers will charge a fee for this service, but social media love in exchange for your product may be possible, too. Choose to work with Pinterest users whose audiences resemble your desired customers.
7. Engage Your Community
Involve your community to help increase engagement. Group Boards can be comprised of many contributors – customers, staff, a select group of influencers – or can even be open to anyone to join. The contributors to your group boards become brand ambassadors, creating content on your behalf. Celebrate the selfie! Tap into narcissism and encourage your customers to share images of themselves with your product. This is an especially useful tactic for fashion brands to gather alternate, accessible images of products worn by real people.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
B2B buyers take their time researching, consulting and getting approvals before making any decisions. As a result, it’s unlikely that a decision-maker would see an ad and make an impulse purchase the way a consumer might. Rather than using social media to drive direct sales, B2Bs should leverage it to share valuable content and position themselves as subject matter experts throughout the buyer journey.
LinkedIn automatically comes to mind when discussing social media for B2Bs but there’s plenty of untapped potential on other networks as well. For example, Twitter is a better platform for driving conversation. Facebook can be a powerful tool for B2Bs. Facebook helps us drive registration to events, whereas on LinkedIn, we focus more on thought leadership,
Consumer brand marketers advocate developing fresh content for each social platform whenever possible, but because of the investment B2Bs make in producing white papers and customer case studies, it doesn’t make sense not to reuse content. The key is to present it in a way that resonates with each social platform’s unique audience.
B2Cs often use social media to participate in live conversations surrounding current events. B2Bs have a similar opportunity at industry conferences and trade shows. Companies can share contextual information and drive meaningful conversations with a leaned-in audience.
Though B2B companies may often have more modest social reach than consumer brands, B2Bs can build niche decision-maker communities where questions are answered and industry-specific matters are discussed. The reach may be smaller, but with more room for one-to-one conversation, the impact could be greater.
FDMC Social and Digital Media
Networking. The mere word conjures up discomfort: There you are, making forced small talk with complete strangers while balancing cube-shaped cheese or veggies and a pool of dip on a plastic plate. But networking isn't just an activity you do over cocktails and finger foods or with conversations centered around safe topics like the weather or what you find most "rewarding" about your job.
Networking is simply any act that builds strong personal connections with other people. And it's an essential activity—a necessary evil, some may say—for advancing your career or, if you're an entrepreneur, for securing new business and meeting investors. Since it's a human-focused undertaking, you're actually networking every time you interact with another person—or at least you can be. Each tap, tweet, post, message, and comment is the chance to make a connection—therefore, it's networking. That means that in the space of an ordinary workday, you have plenty of opportunities to network in a multitude of micro-ways, hold the micro-cheese. Here are a few of them.
YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE
Come what may of other communication tools, email isn't going anywhere soon. According to a recent Radicati report, the average number of business emails sent and received per user each day totaled 122. And that figure is set to grow; by 2019, researchers estimate, we’ll be trading 126 emails a day. So rather than groaning about the state of your inbox, consider the 122 networking opportunities you have each time you hit "send." Set up an email signature line if you don't have one, and take a fresh look at it if you do. Do recipients know not only how to reach you (off email) but also what they should be seeking you out for when they do? Does your signature line appear at the bottom of each email sent, or do you have to remember to drop it in each time? Send yourself an email and consider how it looks from the perspective of a recipient. Would you like to talk to that person on the basis of the signature line alone? If not, change it.
You may have a polished, professional, up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, but that only tells part of your career story. To use LinkedIn to its fullest, you can't just treat it as a directory. You have to share updates pretty regularly in order to tell connections what’s on your mind, whether it's your point of view on some industry news story or just congratulating a colleague on a business win. You can break out of your own immediate professional sphere, too. Consider sharing updates on a nonprofit cause you care about; many business connections deepen around shared charitable interests, not just professional ones. And yes, updates are a chance to toot your own business horn—but just as the best networking isn't all "me me me," you should also use updates to cross-sell your colleagues’ talents or promote the services of vendors you trust. (Just remember that LinkedIn is still a business platform, so keep your LOLs and selfies for other social networking sites.)
YOUR SPEAKER OR AWARD BIO
Okay, maybe you aren't exactly invited to speak or receive an award on a daily basis, but the further you go in your career, the more often these opportunities may crop up. As they do, you'll need to craft custom bios that are tailored to each one. And as counter intuitive as it sounds, even if you're the main-stage attraction, the bio you submit should be all about the audience, not about you: Who are they? Why do they care about what you have to say or what you've accomplished? How can you draft your bio to connect with them more meaningfully? The bio you submit won't just appear in a program handout, it's also likely to be posted on the event or organization’s website, included in online marketing materials and even a press release (where others will readily find it with a quick Google search). So take the time to craft a targeted bio each time you're asked for one. Use the opportunity to not only just tell them what you’ve done in the past, but also to show them what they should be seeking from you in the future.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC