April 10, 2018

5 Online Marketing Trends Disney Says You Should Jump On

If you're going to learn how to do almost anything under the business umbrella, Disney is a great brand to learn from. That's why I was honored to be invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. It's an annual get together of influencers around the country who partake in a variety of Disney experiences and learn a little, too.

Aboard the Disney Dream, Alex Ruiz, the digital marketing director at Disney Parks, shared some online trends Disney is paying a lot of attention to. (And if Disney is, so should you.)

Be in the moment.

The new (or newer) art of storytelling is showcased on platforms like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and Amp by Google.  
The most popular of the three examples is Instagram Stories. Ruiz estimates more than 300 million users are taking advantage of this feature to reach their audience. Recently, the social-media giant unveiled something called highlights, which allows a story in a certain category to be saved for future viewing, meaning it won't be removed after 24 hours like all other stories.
Why does this work? It's fun, bite-size content. That's what people want to consume online. With so much to choose from and the attention span of people getting shorter and shorter online, these in-the-moment shares hit the mark.

If you really want to be in the moment, do it live.

Ruiz says Facebook Live is watched three times longer than regular videos, is commented on 10 times more than regular videos, and the search popularity for "Facebook live stream" is up 330 percent. That's the power of going live.
The most-watched live video to date proves this-off-the-cuff, in-the-moment point: It's the Chewbacca Mom, who has brought in more than 171 million views and counting... and it all started in a parking lot.

Multiple yourself with a chatbot.

Ruiz says while chatbots aren't really new, and they are picking up steam.
Chatbots are great because they can be trained to be a digital form of yourself that's available 24/7. The secret to using chatbots effectively is to not use them to sell, but instead to use them to offer value.

Voice-activated technology.

By the end of 2017, more than 30 million home devices have been sold.
The best-selling product on Amazon this past holiday was the Amazon Echo Dot named Alexa. Alexa has more than 25,000 skills (a "skill" is Amazon's version of an app.) Ruiz suggests being proactive and creating a new skill now, while voice-activated technology is growing. 
By 2020, Ruiz expects half of all searches will be voice activated. This should make you second-guess your current SEO strategy and start thinking about making your blog optimized for voice.

Don't be scared.

Like Walt Disney, be curious, stay informed, and experiment with new things. Surround yourself with experts to help you take a thought or idea to the next level. Online, things are always changing and evolving. That means you need to be willing to do the same with your strategy.
Owner, Media Maven 

April 5, 2018

How to Use Social Listening to Fuel Your Content Strategy

We're all looking for ways to improve our writing. For us content marketers, this means creating content that speaks to our target buyers, and ideally generates leads.

The key problem: we only have a limited amount of information about our customers and prospects. Knowing how to really speak to them can be a struggle.
But it doesn't have to be - in this post, I'm going to show you how to learn more about your customers, get new ideas from them, and even involve them in the content process. The result should be a content strategy that appeals to your buyers throughout their journey with you.
But before we proceed, we'd better get something straight.

What is social listening?

Also known as "social media monitoring," this is the practice of actively tracking social posts and comments.
For this to be done well, two things are important:
  1. It needs to be precise
  2. It must be in real time
Why precise? If you can't narrow down your listening to locate results you can actually use, you may as well not track social media at all. There are too many conversations online, and you'll end up ignoring them all.
Think about all those Google Alerts you've set up in the past. Chances are, you quickly gave up on them because they weren't really relevant, and there were just too many notifications.
And social listening needs to be immediate if you want your content to break through. If you're not listening in real time, you'll always be too late to have a real impact.

Get to know your audience better

Content creators know how important this is. You spend significant time building detailed personas to help visualize who you're writing for - and while these are incredibly valuable, the information is often based on your "best guess," or what your sales team has told you.
Instead, get to know your readers by seeing what they say online.
Look at the questions they ask, the topics they discuss, and what they seem to value. Combine this with information from more traditional methods like interviewing customers and talking to your sales team to build buyer personas and nail down the audience for your content.
And remember, you're trying to build a complete content strategy. It's not just about generating leads and handing them off to the next person - the better you understand your prospects and customers, the easier it is to create content that speaks to them throughout the buyer's journey.
Get to know your customers better, and it'll be easier to write content that speaks to them.

See what industry influencers talk about

If you want to produce the best content, it pays to learn from the best. And even if you already think you know all the most important influencers in your field, it doesn't hurt to watch out for new ones.
And naturally, when you find interesting influencers that suit your brand, you'll be able to reach out and forge a relationship. When they share your content with your audience, you increase your reach and get your message out even further.
So this guidance comes in two stages - first, find influencers that you can learn from, and improve your own content.
Second, reach out and try to work with those influencers. By monitoring conversations around your industry, both of these are easy to achieve.

Find user-generated content

Track your brand online, and you'll see people talking about you. That's the whole point - and when you find positive reviews and happy comments on social media, these become content quick wins.
SEVENFRIDAY sources photos of its watches directly from Instagram, then uses these on its webstore, which is cheaper and more authentic than catalog shots.
Instagram comments and Twitter posts can easily be incorporated into blog posts, and they help to lend credibility to your products. We all know that kind words from a customer are far more likely to be persuasive than your own recommendations. Buyers trust other buyers' opinions, since they're not paid to give them.
Even better, some of these happy customers may be influencers in their own right. Also known as brand advocates, these power users can add both credibility to your brand and help to increase awareness. When they can genuinely tell their large audience how much they love your product, that's gold.

Identify trends

At my company, Mention, we monitor a few key marketing terms in order to track the kinds of challenges that people face.
For example, monitoring our own industry shows us that everyone’s talking about influencer marketing - publishers are writing about it and readers are sharing it. So at Mention, we’re now talking about influencer marketing, too.
We look for growing trends in the marketing space (Google Trends is another good tool for this), then identify specific issues that people have. Which brings me to my next point...

Solve the right problems

The best content marketing provides advice and thought leadership. To do this well, you first need to know the problems people have, and then offer content solves them.
As per the example above, media monitoring lets you track specific phrases and see what people are saying. But even better, you can track negative words like "problem," "struggle," and "difficult," alongside your core offering.
For example, a ride-share company (pick your favorite) might look for people using these words along with "taxi," "driving," or "commute." They'll find people complaining about how much they hate taxis, and the specific reasons they give. They can then build a content program around how their service doesn't have the same issues.
Janet Choi from Customer.io does the same for keywords related to their business: "email marketing" and "lifecycle emails." They saw an increase in conversations about spam filters (something relevant to email providers), and were able to create specific content to answer that need.
Hopefully, your business exists to help others solve at least one particular issue. The more you can learn about your customers' problems, the better you can achieve this goal.

Examine your competitors

You’re not just competing with other brands for paying customers. You’re also competing with them for views, shares, rankings, and backlinks.
Your content can’t just be good, it also needs to be better than theirs. Media monitoring helps you understand what they’re producing, and how it’s performing.
Your monitoring tool will show you their highest performing content, and where it's most successful. That could mean social media platforms you're not using, content types you've ignored, or subjects you haven't written about.
You'll also be able to watch out for their big misses. When they take a gamble, you'll be able to watch as it falls short.
Competitors - by definition - attract the same buyers as your business. So this is another way to improve and refocus your content to grow even quicker.

Start paying more attention to social

Of course you or someone you work with already tracks the company Twitter and Facebook accounts. Of course you find and respond to comments quickly, and sometimes you start open conversations with your audience.
But social media can be so much more. There's a wealth of thoughts, opinions, and unsolved problems sent out into the world every single day. Whether they're about you, your competitors, or even wider issues in the business world, these nuggets can help you create and deliver content that speaks perfectly to your customers.
It doesn't take much effort, and it'll go a long way towards building a more targeted and appealing content strategy.
Written by: - Social Media Today

April 4, 2018

Twitter emoji ad targeting is still new territory for some brands

After nearly two years since its launch, Twitter's emoji targeting remains a new concept for advertisers.

First launched in June of 2016, Twitter’s emoji ad targeting gives brands the ability to connect with people based on the emojis they include in their tweets. Even though the ad-targeting feature has been around for nearly two years now — arguably a lifetime on Twitter — some consider emoji targeting to be a fairly new concept when compared to the platform’s standard ad-targeting options.
“4C has had hundreds of clients use emoji targeting, but we work with more than a thousand clients in total, so it’s still a relatively small group of advertisers that are experimenting with the feature,” says Aaron Goldman, CMO for 4C Insights, “We expect this number to grow as brands see positive returns from this precise level of targeting.”
4C is one of six Twitter certified partners that offers the emoji targeting campaigns. The data science and marketing technology company offers a self-service platform for advertisers running Twitter campaigns. Emoji targeting is one of several targeting options available via 4C’s platform.

Can emojis deliver results?

The CMO says one of his agency’s clients in the quick serve restaurant industry that targeted different types of emojis saw engagement rates increase 260 percent.
“Meaning the number of people who responded to the ad went up 2.6 times over the advertiser’s traditional ads. Typically a 10 percent lift on an ad is a solid result, so this is a huge increase,” says Goldman.
Like most ad-targeting, emoji targeting can be layered on top of other criteria, like age, interests, or location. The CMO says emoji targeting is still a relatively new concept compared to standard targeting criteria like demographic or geographic information that marketers have been using for decades.
“Ultimately, it helps advertisers get more precise about who they’re reaching and the best time to engage them, because an emoji paints a more colorful picture of their audience beyond black-and-white demographic and geographic information,” says Goldman.

Getting the context right

JD Prater, director of growth marketing for AdStage, says he sees Twitter’s emoji targeting as essentially keyword targeting.
While at a previous digital marketing agency, Prater oversaw a Twitter ad campaign that used emoji targeting paired with phrase-match keywords to drive website traffic to local weather pages for a weather app.
“We created ad groups targeting various weather-related emojis and segmented them by weather conditions: rainy, snowy, sports, etc. And we utilized Promoted Tweets for creative that also used the emoji in the ad copy,” says Prater.
Prater says the goal was to target people using weather-related emojis, and deliver a tweet that encouraged them to view their local weather forecast. The campaign used a number of emojis, including an umbrella ☂, rain cloud 🌧, and snowflake ❄, along with activity-related emojis like a person playing golf 🏌.
“We wanted to capture people in the moment of conducting an activity, or planning for an activity. Then, hopefully encourage them to view their local weather conditions for our Promoted Tweets.”
Prater says the campaign results were okay, but its performance was not strong enough to continue running emoji-targeted ads.
“The client had specific CPC [cost-per-click] goals, and unfortunately, these campaigns performed at a higher threshold,” says Prater, “The results weren’t necessarily bad for the industry, but for this specific client, the CPCs were too high.”
One issue Prater’s team encountered with the emoji targeting campaign was determining the context by which people use emojis.
“For example, during our campaigns, we found some people using the 🏌 [golf-club swinging] emoji to also mean ‘throw shade’ in a conversation. That’s definitely not a conversation we want to run ads on — or take the ☂ [umbrella] emoji, which we found gets used in a variety of contexts as well,” says Prater, “People might ‘☂ weather storms’ or ‘you can’t ☂ on my parade’.”
Prater says it’s difficult to understand the meaning and context by which people are using emojis, and that it’s much easier to derive meaning from keyword patterns. He believes, in most cases, advertisers are better off targeting specific keywords over emojis.
“Right now, people use emojis to communicate a lot of different ways, and there’s not really a universal standard.”

A throwback to the ‘Mad Men’ days of advertising

While Prater believes it will be tough to use emoji targeting ads to drive conversions, he does think advertisers looking for engagement, or to help grow follower numbers, could benefit from it.
“At the end of the day, advertisers are getting more savvy with their audience targeting thanks to specific and relevant data Facebook and LinkedIn offer,” says Prater, “I don’t see a reason why performance marketers would choose emojis over behavioral and interest based targeting.”
4C’s Goldman says emoji targeting isn’t necessarily best suited to specific types of campaigns, but is most effective when applied strategically and genuinely.
“Some brands want to get people to click and take an action right away — targeting athletic wear to people who have used football or basketball emojis, for example,” says Goldman, “Other brands simply want to create engagement with people in a certain frame of mind, like someone who has just tweeted the fire emoji.”
According to Goldman, emoji targeting pushes marketers to discern the emotional-intent behind an emoji.
“In a lot of ways, it’s a throwback to the ‘Mad Men’ days of advertising, when marketers were forced to get into the heads of their audience to understand what would lead someone to use a specific emoji, and therefore what marketing message will best match that level of emotion.”
When asked what a large-scale emoji-targeted campaign looks like, Goldman says its still tool early tell.
“Because emoji targeting is new, and advertisers are still experimenting with it, there is no scale for campaigns when trying to determine what a ‘normal-size’ campaign looks like.”
Goldman points out that there are 2,666 emojis in the Unicode Standard since June of last year, and the potential scale of unique emoji targeting ad campaigns is tremendous, “The use of creative software makes this scale achievable for advertisers.”
In the end, Goldman believes emoji targeting should be used like any other targeting — to make the ad more relevant for the audience.
“Just because a marketer might know a consumer’s Twitter handle, location, and favorite emoji, doesn’t mean all of that information should be used in the messaging of the ad,” says 4C’s CMO, “Consumer experience should always be an advertiser’s first priority. When in doubt, don’t be creepy!”
Written by:  - Marketing Land 
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