Archive for the ‘Social Networking, Media, Marketing (SMM/SMO)’ Category

Build Brand Reputation and Visibility Through Expert Question and Answer Apps

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

There are a few websites and apps gaining in popularity right now that are focused on community-based, user-generated questions and answers. The top three biggest players in this field right now are Quora, Cinch, and Jelly. Let’s take a look at each one and see how they stack up against each other. We’ll also give you helpful hints on how you can use these tools in your role as a marketing professional or business owner.

quora_logo_620px

Quora

Quora is by far the most developed of the three platforms and has been around the longest, since June 2009. It is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Questions are grouped by topic, and users can work together to edit questions as well as suggest edits to other users’ answers. You can also “vote up” questions that you want to see answers to.

Quora is available as a website, however they have also developed an iPhone and Android app as well. The cherry on top came last year when they rolled out a blogging platform. The last main updates that Quora released in 2013 is the ability to search the full text of questions and answers, and finally, the ability for writers to see how many people have viewed their questions and answers.

There are already many well-known people that are actively engaging in the Quora community, such as Rand Fishkin and Ashton Kutcher. This boosts the credibility of the website as a whole. If you’re new to the question and answer websites, this is a great place to start.

Jelly

Jelly

If you head on over to the Jelly homepage, they have a very well put together video you can watch that features the CEO and co-founder of Jelly, Biz Stone (Yes, that Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter.) He tells you the main idea behind the platform and how it all came about. Essentially he explains that they wanted to build a search engine that is built for today’s technology landscape. Their concept is “everyone is mobile, everyone is connected, so if you have a question, there is somebody out there who knows the answer.”

Jelly is an app that uses photos and people from your social networks to get you answers to your questions. It uses both your network and your extended network to give you access to a whole bunch of people who may be able to answer your question.

It was founded in April 2013 and naturally is not as developed as Quora. However, the image and social network aspects of the platform are what sets Jelly apart from Quora. Quora is much more text-and-topic based whereas Jelly is image-and-relationship based.

3017957-inline-screen-shot-2013-09-20-at-82439-am

Cinch

Like Jelly, Cinch is a relatively new platform and is only available as a smartphone application at this time (available for iPhone only). Made by the folks at Klout, cinch is “people directly helping other people by sharing their wisdom and knowledge and influencing them to make better decisions.” It is also geared towards the home advice industry specifically, so most users are interested in topics like gardening, cooking, furniture, and so on.

It was launched in September 2013, making this the newest app of all three platforms. It is not currently available outside of the US and there is no dedicated website for the platform. The developers are currently working on creating an Android app with the hopes of releasing it in the near future.

The app has received a bit of feedback from initial users saying it’s a great concept but some of the features are not quite perfected yet. For example, as of December 2013, users are not able to edit or delete submitted questions. Additionally, some users complain that the questions they receive to answer are not relevant to them. These are kinks surely to be worked out in the future since this is a young app.

What makes this app different is you can sign up as an “expert” and the app will automatically send you questions it thinks you can answer. The marketing potential of this app will grow as the number of users also grows.

How-To Use These Platforms For Marketing Your Business

These websites and apps are perfect to establish yourself as an expert in your field by providing authoritative answers on key topics. So for example if you sell a product like baby clothes, you can answer user questions on that topic and people will begin to respect you as an industry insider. The more answers you post, the more people will be able to read your opinions and expert advice.

Great for B2B and B2C Businesses

These platforms can be used as excellent tools in both the B2B and B2C industries. In fact, they offer quite a bit of marketing power for B2B industries, which is great news considering B2B marketing can be challenging in the eyes of many marketers and business owners. For example, Rand Fishkin is very engaged on Quora and answers all types of industry questions about SEO. If you’ve been in the online marketing biz for more than a minute, you know how well-respected Rand is on the topic of web optimization. Imagine the thrill if you asked a question and received a direct answers by Mr. Fishkin? Now imagine if you take the time to answer user questions across these platforms. You can become that type of expert in your own field, so that when people ask a question, they are thrilled to see that it’s been directly answered by you.

Track and Monitor

It’s best to try and get a pulse on your specific industry by setting up “listening” tools wherever possible. Quora lets you follow topics so you can stay up to date on whatever interests you. You can fine-tune your email preferences to only receive notifications about questions and answers you feel are important.

Finally, wherever possible, track your questions and answers to see how many people are viewing them, and actively think of new ways to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Ready to ramp up your marketing in 2014? Check out our services, email us, or give us a call at (818) 806-3868.

Have you used any of these Q&A sites or apps? Share your story by leaving a comment below, on Facebook or LinkedIn.

3 Ways to Improve Your Visual Marketing

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Just a few years ago, most marketing was focused around compelling copy. Crafting your words in just the right way to persuade your target audience to take action. That component is still important but more and more we are seeing how users consume content and that trend is more graphics.

Visual marketing is essentially using  the power of images to boost your brand, its messages and goals. Images can help people make sense of intangible things and abstract concepts, making visual marketing a great tool for B2B companies. Visual marketing can ultimately make your overall marketing strategy more powerful and more memorable. (Visual marketing should not be confused with visual merchandising, which refers to designing retail space in order to maximize sales.)

90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

(Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

Brands today are spending increasingly more time on visual marketing. In fact, many experts agree that visual marketing is the way of the future. This week we’d like to show you 3 tips to help improve your visual marketing campaigns.

Tell stories.

visual marketing should tell a story
A picture is worth a thousand words. Create images that can tell the story of your business or brand. For individual social media posts, use one eye-catching image that concentrates on a specific point of interest. This will draw your viewers into the frame.

40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.

Source: Zabisco

Get your employees into the action. You can either showcase your business by taking photos of your employees, or you can give your employees a little bit of creative control and let them take pictures that capture their unique point of view.

Get your fans involved. Photographs are an excellent way to encourage conversation. Ask them to share their photo moments as it relates to your image. Photo contests are also a neat way to engage with your fans.

Evoke emotion.

facebook_header_image-blog-full
If you sell products, use pictures in your social media marketing in the same way you’d use a display window for window shopping. The pictures can lure potential buyers into your e-commerce site. Nordstrom’s does an excellent job at this across Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.

If you don’t sell consumer products you can still utilize visual marketing successfully. Think outside of the box and create images of interest. Ask yourself: What would an outsider want to see about your business? How can you show the personality of your employees in images? For example, maybe you could do a montage of people’s lunches or work spaces.

Be consistent.

Boon-Marketing
It’s important to remember to incorporate attributes of your brand into your photographs. Maybe you want to always use the same frame or filter so that viewers will instantly recognize who created the image. Consistency is key in order to gain loyal followers and fans in the social media world.

Do you have a specific marketing question as it relates to your business? We’re happy to help! Give us a call today at (818) 806-3868 or shoot us an email and we’ll be sure to respond. You can also browse our other social media blog articles for more tips and advice on how to supercharge your marketing campaigns.

Key Takeaways from this Week’s Top 5 Digital Marketing Stats

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

digital marketing stats

Instagram captures 15 times higher interaction rates than Facebook.

According to research from L2 Think Tank which analyzed 249 brands and their social media campaigns, interaction rates for Instagram posts were 15 times higher than those on Facebook. [Source: eMarketer.com]

Takeaway:

If you haven’t yet ramped up your marketing campaigns on Instagram it’s about time you start. As a tip, you can easily insert Instagram custom tabs into your Facebook page now that Facebook owns Instagram. Many companies are experimenting with promoting Instagram campaigns on Facebook due to this higher engagement. For example, encouraging users to submit their own photos with the same Instagram filter (like sepia-tone or Lo-fi). This trend is likely to grow in the future if Instagram engagement remains strong for brands.

The average click-through-rate for Facebook Ads has jumped 275% since 2012.

Facebook has improved its targeting abilities since 2012 which is partly why CTR’s are on the rise. Another reason these ads are seeing more success is due to third-party Facebook ad tools. [Source: Wishpond]

Takeaway:

If you’re not happy with the ROI of your Facebook Ads, take some time to sit down and analyze why your campaigns may not be performing well. Maybe your ads could benefit from additional creative copy, or it’s possible you could have some tracking issues that are preventing you from knowing the true stats of your ads. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other professionals to help streamline your Facebook ad campaigns.

Companies that blog 15 times per month get 5 times more traffic than companies that don’t blog.

[Source: Ektron]

Takeaway:

Don’t let content marketing overwhelm you. Gather your team together every couple of weeks to brainstorm fresh content ideas. Then delegate responsibilities like managing the content calendar, writing and editing articles, and promoting across social media channels to different team members based on their skills and interests.

4 Out of 5 Yelp users visit Yelp.com before spending money, and 93% say that visiting Yelp leads to a local purchase.

According to a Nielsen survey commissioned by Yelp, four out of five Yelp users visit Yelp.com before spending money, and 93 percent say that visiting Yelp leads to a local purchase. [Source: MarketingLand]

Takeaway:

Online Reputation Management is an important part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Whether you’re a local business with a presence on Yelp or a global brand with wide international reach, it’s inevitable that your customers and other key audiences will talk about you online. Creating a plan for ORM can help save time and stress when issues arise and keeps the pulse on emerging competitors and developing trends.

Daily we spend 9 minutes on email via a mobile device, that is 7.6% of the total 119 minutes we use our phone per day.

[Source: EmailMonday]

Takeaway:

It’s time to ensure your mobile email marketing campaign is flawless. If you’re struggling with your email marketing campaigns now that mobile is dominating the market, get help from a pro. You don’t want to miss out on business just because your promotional emails aren’t displaying properly on mobile devices.

Get more mind-blowing digital marketing sound bites and stats by following us on Instagram.

Selecting the Right Inbound Marketing Tool For Your Business

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

New marketing software comes out practically every day, making it a challenge to find the right platform for your business. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the top inbound marketing tools on the market right now and broken them down for you into costs, features, and ratings.

₪ Cobija: Corporativa al atardecer - Flickr Meeting at Tusk ₪
►Milo► / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

HubSpot is an inbound marketing software company that helps businesses transform their marketing from outbound (cold calls, email spam, trade shows, TV ads, etc) lead generation to inbound lead generation enabling them to “get found” by more potential customers in the natural course of the way they shop and learn.

Ideal for what audience: Big business, corporation, medium-sized business, business to consumer, business to business

Cost: Basic plan is $200/month. Pro plan is $800/month. Enterprise plan is $2,400/month.

Features: HubSpot’s software contains everything you need to do inbound marketing. You can blog, send email, monitor social media, create web and landing pages, do marketing automation, SEO, and analytics.

Ratings: Ranked #1 in customer satisfaction according to G2 Crowd.

 

Hatchbuck is simple sales and marketing software geared for smaller businesses who want to leverage marketing and CRM in an all-in-one marketing software.

Ideal for what audience: Entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses

Cost: Starter plan is $99/month. Standard plan is $199/month. Premium plan is $299/month.

Features: Lead management, Simplified Marketing Automation, Effortless Email Marketing, Built-in CRM, Insightful Dashboards and Reports

Ratings: The software was launched in May 2013. Hatchbuck has been in VIP-Beta for the last 8 months and hundreds of small businesses are quickly seeing results.

 

Silverpop is a digital marketing technology provider that offers email marketing and marketing automation solutions. The privately held company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and has a presence in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Ideal for what audience: Large corporations, marketing agencies

Cost: Cost varies depending on which product package you choose. Pricing starts at $600 per month.

Features: Silver pop has three main products. (1) Engage Marketing Automation (2) Engage Email (3) CoreMotives.

Ratings: 3/5 stars based on 60 reviews on G2 Crowd

 

Marketo provides easy and powerful marketing automation software with everything a marketer needs: email, social, analytics, lead management, and more.

Ideal for what audience: Small and Medium Business, Large Enterprise, B2B marketing

Cost: Pricing is tailored to your needs and requirements.

Features: Helps you create, automate, and deploy marketing programs that capture and engage leads. Marketo also helps you convert leads into customers, handing your best leads over to sales and nurturing the rest until they are ready to purchase. Marketo helps you attract better leads and helps your sales team close more leads than ever. Finally, Marketo gives you visibility to see what’s working and what isn’t. You can see how your campaigns influence deals at each stage and identify your exact ROI, proving how your marketing efforts create real revenue. Beyond just the software, Marketo offers a knowledge center where you can tap the brains of experts and search for solutions to your marketing challenges.

Ratings: 4/5 stars based on 193 reviews on G2 Crowd.

 

Eloqua is a marketing automation company which develops automated marketing and demand generation software and services for business-to-business marketers.

Ideal for what audience: Large companies

Cost: Basic plan starts at $2,000/month. Standard plan starts at $4,000/month. Enterprise plans must contact the sales department for pricing.

Features: Track your own business goals with personalized dashboards. Access all your marketing campaigns, analytics and databases from a single place. Eloqua allows you to design marketing campaigns from scratch. You can create a quick email campaign, or easily build multi-channel, multi-step campaigns. You can include email landing pages, social tools, mobile, and even display ads all in a single campaign, and you can create flexible workflows that are as simple or as complex as you need. You can also choose from dozens of third party tools in Eloqua’s app cloud. Every part of your marketing campaign is tied together so it’s easy to measure your success as a complete picture in one place.

Ratings: 4/5 stars based on 152 ratings on G2 Crowd.

 

Act-On is a cost-effective marketing automation software platform with email marketing, lead nurturing, lead generation, lead scoring, webinar management, CRM integration, and social media prospecting and tracking tools.

Ideal for what audience: Act-On can be used by large and small business alike since the pricing is based on the total number of active users, and they have reasonable prices for smaller agencies and start-ups.

Cost: Pricing is based on number of active contacts. You’ll pay $500/month for 1,000 active contacts, $1,300/month for 25,000 active contacts, and $6,500/month for up to 1,000,000 active contacts. Plus, Setup and implementation fee starting at $399.00.

Features: Act-On includes email marketing software, website visitor tracking, lead management, social media, CRM, forms, landing pages, web event integration, reports and analytics, webinars and events, and administration functions. This allows the user to plan and execute all their email marketing campaigns with one simple, cloud-based, integrated platform.

Ratings: 4.5/5 stars based on 59 ratings on G2 Crowd.

 

Have you used any of these tools before? What did you think of them? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Best Practices and Tips for Businesses Using Instagram for Marketing

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular websites/apps used by tech-savvy teens and adults worldwide, however it still leaves many marketers and CEO’s scratching their heads when it comes to how to use Instagram for marketing.

First of all, every company and industry is different, and Instagram quite honestly can be challenging for some markets. Furthermore, it may not be appropriate for every company. It all depends on your target audience and goals.
How to use Instagram for Marketing

Find Your Audience

If you want to use Instagram for marketing, it’s important first and foremost to find your audience and begin to follow these user accounts. Do not just come up with loose guidelines for following users however, as following too many people too quickly can be viewed as spammy.

As a tip, it’s best to find power users and follow these accounts to start. Try to really form an authentic relationship with these power users by introducing yourself and offering valuable information/content that relates to their lifestyle and interests. Since you have identified them as power users, most likely there is going to be an aspect of their life that fits well with your company content.

Give Love to Receive Love

Once you have established good relationships with your audience on Instagram, you need to start using these relationship to benefit your company goals. Essentially, you need to give love to receive love! For example, shout-out to your top influencers in your posts and they will be much more likely to return the favor and even share your posts with their audience.

It’s also important to stay up to date on best practices and avoid spam tactics like paying for followers or using spam hashtags like #followforfollow. Leaving ridiculously long comments is also not great and often results in your comment being removed, so keep your messages short and sweet on Instagram.

Get Creative

Many B2B companies struggle with using Instagram because their products or services are not image-friendly. In instances like this, you can brainstorm creative ways to utilize the photo-marketing platform. For example, create a graphic template where you can plug in interesting facts and statistics that relate to your market. Like we do on Instagram.

Hashtag Research

Next, do some research to choose the most relevant and highly-targeted hashtags that relate to your industry. Beyond that, look for hashtags that relate to each individual post in order to further tailor your Instagram marketing campaign.

Cross-Promote and Track

Once you have done your preliminary research done, grown your list of followers, and published your fabulous content on Instagram, it is vital that you cross-promote your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else that is appropriate. You’ve already spent your time and energy crafting your Instagram marketing campaign, you may as well leverage it across multiple platforms to get the most out of each post.

Finally, as with any digital marketing campaign, you need to track success using Google Analytics and other marketing analytics programs. Make note of specific posts that perform better than others and try to identify underlying themes that make them more popular so you can incorporate this knowledge into future campaigns.

Do you have any challenges, tips or stories about your experience with Instagram marketing? Feel free to share with us.

How to Generate Leads with Pinterest

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Not a trend, Pinterest is here to stay…at least for a while. Here are some facts to back the hype for using Pinterest for your business and quick how-to for getting started on generating leads through this social media platform:

  • As of September 2013, there are 70 million users on Pinterest
  • There are about 500,000 Pinterest business accounts.
  • 80% of total Pinterest pins are repins.
  • Pinterest has approximately 2.5 billion monthly pageviews.
  • Amount per order that Pinterest shoppers spend: $140-180

how to generate leads pinterest

Share Multiple Types of Content

First, it’s a great idea to share different types of content on your Pinterest account, because there are essentially two types of leads you can generate through Pinterest content: direct leads and indirect leads. Direct leads point users to a landing page on your site where they can enter their information in exchange for your content (such as a newsletter or coupon). Indirect leads are when you share a piece of content on Pinterest that points users to valuable information but is not the final destination landing page where they share their personal information.

Board Variety, Range and Simplicity

Second, create a wide range of boards that your potential customers will want to discover. As a tip, Pinterest users love practically anything that is Do-it-yourself, so if you can think of a way to provide content that shows people how to create or do something valuable related to your industry you’re off to a good start.

Also, don’t overcomplicate your board names. Keep them simple and catchy so they can be easily found when users search for specific topics.

Image Pinning Best Practices

So, what about the types of images you should be pinning? While there is no exact science to pinning quality content, there are some tips you can follow based on recent Hubspot data, such as:

  • Tall images get re-pinned more
  • Red/orange images get pinned more than images that are primarily blue
  • Brand images without faces get 23% more repins than those with faces
  • Bright/light images are re-pinned 20x more than very dark images

Next, it’s important to use the description box wisely. You should describe the pin in a sentence or two and also include a shortened URL with tracking parameters so you can measure the success of your Pinterest campaigns. Also, add a hashtag or two if relevant to your image so that people can discover your pins more easily.

Promotion and Distribution

Finally, promote your pins across other social media channels and be sure to monitor the success of your Pinterest marketing efforts with the use of Google Analytics and other marketing tools.

Happy Pinning!