Marketers who work with their companies are at different stages when it comes to the digital transformation. Some are just beginning the transformation process, while others are unsure of what it really involves. But according to a new study of US digital transformation leaders, many agree that digital innovation comes with many advantages.
The research from Couchbase, an open-source software company, found that improving customer experiences and increasing profitability of services and products are widely considered some of the important benefits of digital transformation.
For example, more than nine in 10 respondents (95%) thought improving the customer experience was an at least somewhat important aspect of digital innovation, while nearly as many (89%) said the same about creating services and experiences that stand out from the competition.
In fact, a majority of respondents thought each of the digital transformation projects cited in the study was important.
According to the report, many respondents felt that businesses that can’t keep up with digital innovation will survive less than five years before going out of business or being absorbed by a competitor. What’s more, 80% of respondents were already concerned that their own organization could be at risk of being surpassed by a rival.
If you don’t think the digital transformation of your business is not important, just stop and think how newspapers which during the “good old days” thought nothing of pages of paper print and the advertising to go with it. Newspapers were the first to go digital with their content when print edition sales fell sharply. Sadly, due to overkill of ads popping up (which they need for survival) has made many of their loyal readership go elsewhere for less intrusive on line reading.
In summary, if you have not made the digital transformation, when you do, think about your content and your visual images. Think about your customer’s experience when they see the “New You!”
When it comes to online marketing, the purpose and objectives are generally the same as traditional strategies in terms of increasing brand awareness and finding new customers. There are several ingredients that go into a successful digital promotion all the way from planning to sales. Perhaps the biggest benefit online marketing has for small businesses is that it enables them to spend each dollar more efficiently to yield a higher ROI. Here are some ways in which small businesses are making the most out of their online marketing efforts.
Producing strong content
Content marketing is the cornerstone of every online marketing strategy. Producing stellar brand material is a surefire way to create loyal visitors and encourage sharing. At the end of the day, the most important goal of content creation is to turn visitors into customers. This can start with small objectives like earning a follow on social media, signing up for a newsletter or taking a survey or poll. Regardless of what type of content you are producing, such as a video, image, blog or social media post, you need to have a clear vision of how your content is going to add value to the life of the reader. Successful small businesses don’t just produce content for the sake of keeping a schedule. Typically, they know exactly what the concerns of their target audience are and they gear their content to address them in a profound, meaningful way. Everyone benefits from quality content Small business can take advantage of their tight-knit followers and cater to their precise interests.
Localized SEO strategy
A good SEO strategy is the key to getting noticed.. Local SEO is extremely important for small businesses, especially ones with a physical address. The end goal of local SEO is to gain high rankings for searches around your geographic location. When users search keywords or phrases in the area, you want your website to be at the top of the list. Localized SEO is great (but very competitive) for smaller companies such as dental offices or law firms. For example, Abrahamson and Uiterwyk, a Florida injury law practice, has used local SEO to dramatically boost their rankings to increase business. With consistent efforts, they’ve ended up ruling Google’s Map packs and local results for keywords like “injury lawyer Tampa FL.” Google them and see for yourself. Currently, only 17 percent of small business are investing in SEO. Now is a great time to jump onboard and find the best ways you can leverage the Search Engine to increase your online exposure.
To compete in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, having a strong website is a must for businesses of all sizes. Keep in mind, 51 percent of website traffic comes from organic search. Your positioning depends on the reputation of your website. Perhaps one of the most important factors that go into a website’s reputation (that influences Google Rankings) is speed. Loading time has a huge impact on how users interact with your platform. Page abandonment drastically increases after each second. A great way to optimize website speed is to select a good host for your web server. A lot small businesses miss the mark in this area because they’ve put together a site using a basic CMS like WordPress, but don’t have a good technical team to support them. For a small business evaluating a website platform, the free trials are typically pointless. Building and marketing a good website takes a lot of work and resources. Committing to this task is one of the best investments of time and money you can make for your business. One of the greatest things about online marketing is that it gives small businesses a chance to compete a relatively level playing field as the bigger enterprises. Success is based on smarter rather than total money spent. Having a solid content creation plan and SEO approach is crucial in getting your website in front of the eyes of your target audience. No need to rush it, a strong foundation will almost always lead to good results in the end.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
Social is easy – if you great content and the means to distribute it. As a marketer, however, your attention is split between various tasks at hand. It isn’t easy to give social media marketing the undivided attention it needs to get your approach to it right. Sometimes you overlook a tactic that is clearly working, or fail to optimize one that you are working with. Here is a list of six ignored tactics to increase your social media reach.
1. Create a social media sharing contest
You could use social media contests to engage and reward people who have been following you for a while. They also work in acquiring new interest for your pages, and increasing reach for the content you include as part of the contests. By powerfully branding your contest you can also increase your brand awareness on social media. One easy way to increase reach for a new product or service is by involving it in a social media sharing contest.The ideal goal here would be to get people to participate and share/bring in other participants. To do that, you have to ensure that the reward is exciting, and that the contest involves something that your audience is likely to do. The simpler you make it, the more likely your audience is to participate. Ensure that the platform or app you use to conduct the contest is user-friendly and prompts your audience to share something that furthers the reach of your contest.You could begin with the simplest contest idea you have in mind – like, share or comment to participate. Analyze the participation on that contest and slowly work your way up to more demanding activities with subsequent contests. Fully make use of the data you pull from contests, because they tell you important things about your content, your audience and your brand’s presence on social media.
2. Build a targeted social media following
If you want better engagement on your social media pages, you need a targeted social media following. Followers on your page who don’t add value to your brand or business are simply a number. While large numbers are indicative of popularity, low engagement numbers affect your brand’s search engine efforts. Irrelevant followers can also damage your brand’s identity if they decide to include you in less than desirable content.To build a targeted social media following, you first need clarity on your target audience persona(s). Define your demographic, identify what makes them tick and what their concerns are. Go to where they are located on the internet/social media and bring them to your social media pages – with the right content and follow-back links.A good way to do this is through the influencers in your niche. Follow their followers, who are highly likely to be part of your target audience. While following these people, scan through their social media descriptions and match their interests to your ideal target personas. Also judge by their following/followers ratio to see if they are likely to follow you back. Another method of building a targeted following is by sharing content specific to your industry.
3. Leverage keywords that are likely to drive traffic to your social pages
You can optimize your search for social media, just as your do for other search engines. If people are searching for something on Google, the same trends are likely to follow on social media.When was the last time you analyzed the performance of your content you put out there on your social platforms? If you have noticed, some keywords may work for you better than others, on different social media platforms. Monitor them and apply them to every post that you share on your social media pages. Here are a few words that generally perform betteron different social media platforms.
Twitter: free, top, how to, blog, 10, great, media, follow
Facebook: comment, post, discount, when, where, take, deals, amuses
LinkedIn: researched, developed, created, won, improved, under budget
Search trends generally don’t undergo drastic changes, but subtler ones that are also observable in your audience’s language. By optimizing your content to reflect the subtle changes, you can consistently build and grow the traffic moving to your social pages. One of the easiest ways to do this is by referring to what is working for your competition, on a regular basis. By using this tactic you can avoid doing the leg-work yourself and feed off what your competition is doing. The only catch is the choice you make for the topic mining. Choose one of the giants, a company that you know does its research before implementing a content strategy. You could of course go by the popularity of any post that you see is working. But when committing to a strategy in advance, follow only the best in your niche, or a large company targeting the same audience as you are, but with a slightly different product/service.
4. Build a peer/employee advocate network
Why add shares when you can multiply them? By building relationships with peers and advocates on social media, you can increase your reach up to 300X times (where X is the number of advocates you create and 300 is an approximate average follower count each of them has on all social media platforms). Imagine what would happen if your employees fill the variable X. The larger an organization is, the more they have to benefit from employee advocacy. When building a peer/employee advocate network, you have to be considerate. This relationship works like any other, there has to be give and take. You could reciprocate your peers’ sharing efforts by helping them promote some of their content. With employees, you could help them build their authority on social media while helping you push out your content. You can also create an advocacy program and reward your best advocates.
5. Post more often and on a calculated schedule
At any given time, your social media reach is limited to your audience’s real-time activity and the position of your content in their feeds. Sometimes, your audience may not even get to see the content you have created, stunting your content performance. You may have to schedule your content multiple times to reach most of your social media followers. A good frequency of posting is clearly necessary to engage and grow your social media following.
It is a good idea to focus your posting to fit the period when your followers are most active on each social media platform. People generally use Facebook and Twitter in the afternoons while LinkedIn usage happens in the mornings. But is isn’t enough to rely on generic research. You should optimize posting times to fit your social media followers’ activity. You could do this by setting up a simple experiment. Take one piece of content and schedule it to be posted on different days and at different times on each day. You could choose four-time intervals to test (early morning, mid-morning, afternoon and evening) and see the exact time when your content performs the best. You should do this on each social media platform you intend to be active on. Once you have your results, you can plan a content posting schedule to make the best of high engagement time intervals.
6. Interact with your social media audience
There is no point building a social media audience if you don’t interact with them. To build strong and lasting relationships you’re your audience, you have to care. You have to pay attention to the people who make your social media audience. People appreciate if you take the time to respond to them or to initiate conversations with them, it makes them feel special and gives them the impression that they will be cared for by your brand. How do you expect to turn your social media audience into customers without engagement and conversation? It is easier to manage your social media mentions when you have an app to help. Social media listening apps can monitor certain keywords, related to your brand, and give you real-time alerts when a mention has been made. Some of them also let you delegate tasks to a team to make your response streamlined and efficient.
The key to succeeding on social media is a good content strategy and effective reach. To optimize both for your brand, it is important to be observant of everything you put on social media and how it is received. Focus on the tactics that work better than the others, and ignore the ones that don’t.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
According to June 2016 research, more than half of US young adults watch mobile video on the video-sharing site—and just as many view mobile video content on Facebook. Native advertising software provider Sharethrough polled 300 US internet users ages 18 to 20, who were asked questions after being shown an auto-play in-feed native video ad.
Though a large share of respondents said they watched mobile video on Facebook and YouTube, nearly as many (50%) watched mobile video on Snapchat daily, and nearly half (42%) said they viewed mobile video content on Instagram every day. Twitter trailed behind with just 24% of young adults watching mobile video on that social platform each day.
Video habits are steadily moving to mobile. A survey from Millward Brown revealed that though time spent watching video on TV is still greater than on other devices, video habits are shifting, thanks in part to the proliferation of mobile devices entering the market, as well as growth of multi-screen usage.
According to the study, half of all video viewing happens on TV sets—split between live TV and on-demand TV. The other half comprises mainly mobile devices, which includes smartphones and tablets. Smartphones take the largest digital share, encompassing 22% of total daily time spent viewing video.
Food for thought to all of you SMB's out there using video.
FDMC Social and Digital Video
Social Media continues to evolve. It seems to be changing every month with new platforms, new trends, and applications. So you have your business on Facebook and Twitter and you think you are doing just fine in the world of social media. But are you really? Here are a few facts with business and social media. As Facebook becomes more of a "We want your money" operation, more and more people are drifting away to find the free platforms for their business to reach their masses. If you want the goodies now on Facebook, you are finding you have to cough up some dough to get it. Facebook's recent audience network launch program means for the business, the days of something for nothing is over.
What is becoming more popular for target marketing is video and images. Many of the Fortune 500 companies are moving in this direction for advertising and marketing. Images tell a lot and young shoppers especially are using this to their advantage and in their shopping habits. Pinterest and Instagram are picking up not only more users but advertisers as well as they pull away from traditional desktop platforms. Mobility, video, and photo images is 3 key words you as a business need to grasp and embrace for marketing and advertising. Video and still images have helped push Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine to new heights. Another popular tool for the young 15 to 25 crowd is Snapchat. While advertisers and still trying to figure out how to capture this new hot platform, Snapchat has become very trendy to this key target market.
While I am not saying you should not still keep a solid market plan in place for Facebook and Twitter, businesses need to be open to new platforms and monitor social media trends to capture that market share. keep up regular engagement conversations with your customers and stay connected. Remember, spending your marketing dollars in an empty room is not only fruitless, it is silly. Capture your market share and stay abreast of technology changes. Be a leader in the social media circle. Reach your goals.
If you are into social media deeply or have been using it for some time, then you are probably somewhat familiar with Klout. Klout is a company that tracks your social media influence. It is easy to sign up for and gives you a
measuring and marketing platform to see how effective your efforts are. This company has been around awhile but recently has gained some popularity and is getting a foothold in businesses for providing analytics. The key word here is influence and not so much anything else.
So having said that who would care about using Klout? In a nutshell those who are trying to influence their audience or market share.
As you use social media and are trying to get a certain sector of the population to pay attention to you or your product or service, then using Klout will help you via your score they provide. The higher the score, the better your influence. If you are a small business or enjoy a local or small regional market then Klout is probably not for you.
Klout works best on a national or international stage.
How it works. As you produce engaging content or topics, followers who tap into your feeds are tracked by Klout through their very detailed analytics or algorithms. Simply, the higher your score (up to 100)
the better you are influencing your followers. Some say that
Klout does not really work that well and at the moment as I stated for small business, that is true as there just is not enough sampling for the system to be strongly effective. But if you are a say a famous speaker, offer a service or product geared toward a specific market and you are wanting a larger share of that market then give Klout a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Get yourself a plan of action, build great content and
start loading your social media!
Nothing troubles me more than to see a website built by a business (probably the owner him or herself) and content does not change, pictures of staff who no longer work there, or even old addresses from where the business once was
located. A website can be a powerful tool if you maintain it. To throw something up and see if it sticks is insane. I visit a lot with SMB's and I ask them. "How is your website doing?" I get back "Well we have one if that's what you mean." You start talking analytics, key words,
content management, and they all give you this blank look. With today's technology, data streaming, market targeting, and embedded analytics, if you do not understand the real purpose of your website, then you seriously should not
even have one. You have to maintain your website and change the content frequently and you should also embed at the very least Google Analytics to track your hits and see whats working for you. A website can be a powerful marketing tool, but you have to empower it to work for you.
A recent study shows that only 25% of SMB' use any kind of tracking tool So what are the other 75% doing? Nothing. Using reported data properly can tell you not only who is visiting your site but when, what pages they are looking at, and this is just a small sampling of all the data you can use. I am only mentioning Google analytics because it is free for most of its basic services. We are in a digital and competitive world today. With the proper tools, even small businesses can compete with the big boys if you know
your market, use your web site to gain that data, and keep your content rich with key words that will attract todays buyers and market share. I highly encourage you to revisit your website and look at it carefully. Embed an
analytic tool and use it! If you find it too complicated, then hire a web service to do it for you or ask one your employees who may be web savvy to help you. It will be a win-win situation for your entire team.
We have a few months behind us in 2013 already so what are businesses doing with social media? Doing some research, video is quickly becoming the tool to draw customers. Web video is becoming big business. YouTube recently announced they are now getting 2 billion users a day world wide. That in itself, is amazing. Besides video however here are some quick fast observations about
where social media is trending in marketing and advertising.
Facebook and that "Like" button: Businesses in the past loved those Facebook landing pages and getting customers to like them to get traffic. But that is no longer enough to keep your customers. Now it is solid relationship building.
It must now move across other platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. (Ahh, that Video platform again!)
Marketing Your Market: SMBs can no longer sit on their laurels and expect magic things to happen on one platform. If you talk about your business let's say via a single source such as a web or blogging site, you are already losing your base. Right now it is the trend to embrace multiple platforms to talk about your products or service via Twitter, Tumblr, StumpleUpon , Pinterest, and your own YouTube channel. This has been popular with e-Commerce or e-Books in marketing.
Video Entertainment Advertisers : As I mentioned before businesses are embracing web video to sell their products and using big bucks in the form of entertainment to do it.
As more and more consumers are pulling away from their armchairs and going mobile so has the trend to market to the web. They are creating dynamic high-profile ads to reach that market.
Reality Marketing : Although it is nothing new in the sense of selling, "Call To Action" advertising and marketing I noticed, is also making a larger presence. I am seeing this not only in print media but also on the web and television. The soft fuzzy ads are being replaced with "So what are you gong to do about it Mr. or Mrs. Consumer?" They are telling you to make a decision and make it now before it's too late. This is becoming in tune with the fact we are now a fast paced and action oriented society. Being mobile and with all these tools to take action now via our cell phone, tablet, or laptop, we can now buy cars on-line, make a reservation for dinner or a hotel room, and even buy a
plane ticket. Reality or augmented marketing is growing leaps and bounds this year.
We are 4 months into the new year and look how social media has
shifted! I will be anxious to see how the rest of the year shapes up!
So you are ready to make the leap to social media. My first question is "Why have you waited so long in the first place?" My second question is "How are you going to develop your game plan? If you have a limited budget, chances are
you are going to go after what is free out there over paying for a consultant or paying for various apps or on-line ads. Free is not so bad. There are a lot of free platforms that can work to help get your brand out. Paying for enhancing your brand is obviously better. Let me briefly go over the pros and cons of both and you can decide for yourself based on your needs and your budget. Regardless of what you decide, just making the jump to using social media is a smart choice in this digital age we now live in.
Free Social Media Marketing
Your business exists because you made it happen. You probably built your customer base by having good products or services so your first happy customer told someone else thus word of mouth got you started and perhaps is still working for you. This coincides with repeat business. Your branding that you worked hard to build can be placed for free on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to start. These are all free. While it will take time intense monitoring of your sites to start, soon, you will build followers if you do it right. Create promotions, interaction with your customers, attach links via your website or email or even on your invoices. The bottom line is get your brand out.
Paying for Social Media Marketing
While we all like free, the other side of social media marketing is paying for related services, apps, and on-line advertising is going to get you better results most of the time. While you may have a free Facebook site, you
can do promotions, use their per click ads or tap into Google ads top romote your business. I use Woobox which offers a paid service to promote your business as does another company that integrates with your Facebook called Wildfire. LinkedIn also offers paid ads. Finally , if you have a website (technically not a social media platform) Use the social media platforms you have made to link to your website or vice-versa. Create the interest and make one big circle so everything interconnects! Your on-line ads creates leads for you, especially if your website deals in e-commerce. Good luck and I hope these tips were of value to you.
It is no secret that mobility is fast becoming the standard for social media. Tablets and smart phones are in the consumer's hands and the desktop is taking the back seat. Where we eat, where we are going to travel, where we are going to shop, where are we staying on that next business trip, all decided from the couch or arm-chair. Businesses need to know the methodology of mobility and how the consumer are responding to those wonderful apps and tools in their hands. Some are for business and others are for their personal needs.
I have found however, that many business have been very proactive in predicting this new generation of mobility toward social media. Customer interaction via surveys, on-line communities, tapping their customer's preference levels for contacts and so on. Many have developed interactive apps for easier navigation of their products and services designed specifically for smart phones or tablets.
So what does this all mean? Two words. "Customer Satisfaction" Happy clients or customers means increase profitability. The easier it is for customers to deal with you, the easier it means they will come back. Business value and your ability to connect to the mobile market especially in this next year may determine your bottom line. Large corporations are investing millions into revamping their social strategy to include mobility and making sure their marketing is either including or even better, leading with mobility. So where does your company stand? Think about how you are reaching the mobile marketplace. Is your website mobile friendly? Does your company have an app for downloading? Do you even have a social media plan? Make sure your new year's resolution include social media and mobility!