Social influencers are possibly digital marketing’s most underutilised resource.
Let’s face it, we’ve always been influenced by people we admire or know. But online influence takes it to a whole other level. Buyers are listening to what their key online influencers are saying and sellers need to start paying attention.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone. When Tim Ferriss talks about a new product, book or brand I usually check it out and often buy it. Same for Chris Brogan, Chris Guillebeau or Gary Vaynerchuk. These guys know their stuff and I (and many others) tend to trust their opinions.
Technorati’s 2013 Digital Marketing Report revealed that brands spend the least on the outlets consumers trust the most: the word of mouth of their friends and those they follow.
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association defines a social media influencer as a person or group of people who possess greater than average potential to influence due to attributes such as frequency of communication, personal persuasiveness or size of and centrality to a social network, among others.
Yet fewer than half of social media influencers follow brands on Facebook (47%) or Twitter (38%) while well over half of the social media marketing budget goes toward those outlets. Why? Because they are being ignored by brands who would be better off engaging with them.
Here’s the bottom line:
- 74% of consumers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions.
- 81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ posts on social media when making purchasing decisions.
- Facebook and Twitter are the top platforms used by bloggers and the top platforms for generating blog revenue.
- Facebook is the number one platform for mobilizing consumers to be brand advocates.
Marketers must start to invest in influencing the feeds of key influencers and bloggers.
Who do consumers trust when it comes to their purchasing decisions? This great infographic from MBA in Marketing explains all.
Expect a growing wave of complaints and resentment on social networks over the next few years as the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn increase their efforts to generate revenue through advertising.
You see, since the launch of these hugely popular social networks many of were under the misguided impression that we were the customer. We enjoyed using these amazing free services, connecting with family, friends, colleagues and new people around the world. Its been wonderful and it has revolutionised the way we communicate.
And its free!!! How good is that?
Hold on, didn’t your parents always tell you “nothing in life is free”?
Well, they were right. You pay one way or another for most “free” services. Payment doesn’t always have to be financial. Sometimes we pay in time or attention. That’s how traditional “free” media like TV and radio works. It interrupts our attention and asks for 30 seconds of our time in return for free entertainment.
And so it will be with social networks like Facebook and Twitter. These are big expensive beasts to run. Free memberships don’t pay for staff, servers, large buildings, Segways and funky cafeterias.
Up until recently Venture Capital was funding the growth of these services and the focus was on attracting users who in turn shared their life, loves and information. Eventually these networks had to start delivering a return to the VCs and shareholders and inevitably advertising would be the solution.
The good news is that the services are still free…. BUT you are now the product. All that information you have shared, all those like buttons you have clicked, all those groups you have joined have helped the networks understand more about you so they can attempt to deliver more valuable solutions to their real customers; the advertisers.
Ask most people what they think Facebook is for and they’ll say ‘it’s there to help me make friends’. Guess what? Facebook’s boardroom isn’t talking about how to make you more friends. It’s talking about how to monetise your social graph.” Increasingly that will be via a range of “targeted” products like Graph Search, Suggested Apps, Sponsored Posts and Sidebar Ads.
Facebook has been doing advertising for a while but its only recently that users have really started to complain about it. That’s because initially the ads were focused on the sidebar and we’d grown accustomed to that style of advertising on other sites and Google search results.
But the shift to mobile forced Facebook, and others, to rethink how they serve up advertising. There’s now room for sidebar ads on the mobile site so now the ads are steadily being seeded into your stream or newsfeed. And that’s not kosher according to some users.
Now Twitter is evolving from it’s Promoted Posts product to unveil its newest ad product, which enables “keyword targeting in timelines” allowing brands to serve up ads to users based on the content they’re actually tweeting. (Read more about it here)
The bottom line is you need to get used to it or unsubscribe. These networks need to make money in order to continue providing you with a “free” service. They will push the limits of your loyalty to their service over time, but as long as they aren’t losing more users than they’re gaining they won’t desist.
Whether you like it or not…you are now the product.
Social media has become an invaluable marketing and communications asset for many organisations over the last few years but it also represents yet another task for marketers and business owners to cram into their already busy schedule. And there are now quite a few social networks that can’t be ignored, so it can been seen as quite a burden.
The most common question I receive when recommending a social media plan to clients is “but how much time must I dedicate to it?” The good news is that, with a bit of planning, organisation and automation, you don’t need to become a slave to social networks. In fact, you can manage 6 popular social networks in just half an hour a day.
The team at Pardot have assembled this great guide to demonstrate how you can rock social media in just 30 minutes a day. It covers, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram and also has some excellent automation tips.
Follow this plan, fine-tune it for your business and social networks and then be consistent and you will have gone a long way to really optimising the benefits of social media.
Social media has become ubiquitous and naturally the world’s advertisers and marketers are following the trend and allocating an increasingly larger share of their budgets to the leading social networks.
If the future of advertising is to start participating in the stream that people want to use and around 80% of active internet users are visiting social networks and blogs, then its only natural that the marketing dollars will follow. In fact, in the USA over 75% of brands have already incorporated social advertising into their integrated marketing budget.
So what does the social advertising landscape look like? The team at Uberflip have compiled this infographic to illustrate the increasing adoption of social ads among marketers, the amount of dollars allocated on these channels, and the effectiveness of these paid social media campaigns.
The future of advertising27Feb13
The future of advertising is to stop trying to advertise to people, and instead start participating in the stream that people want to use. People will follow your brands if you contribute to whatever it is the people are up to.
This is a modified version of a statement Stowe Boyd made recently in a post. He was talking about the future of advertising on mobile but I feel it applies everywhere now.
In fact it nails it.
Stop advertising. Start participating and contributing.
Social media is ubiquitous now and for many organisations it has become an essential and effective marketing tool. But social media can also be highly effective as a customer service tool, something that relatively few organisations realise or utilise.
I have found from interactions with larger organisations that if you can fix an issue that a customer is having via social media you’ll find it’s one of the best marketing channels you’ve ever worked in. Leave them hanging, and you’ll find out the opposite is true.
This Infographic from ClickSoftware highlights compelling stats, for example, customers who engage with companies via social media spend 20%-40% more with those companies. So, how do you use social media when interacting with corporate brands or with your own customers?
The web is a place for new and shiny things, for fads and sexy new start-ups. Like many of us, web “experts” have short attention spans and tend to jump from one fad to the next. Over the last few years I have heard a consistent refrain that Search is dead or dying and being replace by something new or better.
In 2012 the discussion around search have been even more vigorous following Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Some have even claimed this will kill the SEO industry.
SEO is more important than ever, it just needs to be addressed differently.The only people suffering are the SEO’s who cling to old-fashioned strategies that are no longer effective.
Lets look at the facts:
- Eighty-two percent of consumers researched a product before buying it according to latest Forrester report
- Search engines are still used by around 92% of all internet users
- Here in Australia, Google continues to enjoy approximately 94% share of all search traffic according to Stat Counter.
- Crucially, being found on page 1 of Google is still the best way to drive qualified traffic to your website.
- The higher your Google search ranking , the more likely you will receive a click through to your site, as this graphic from Search Engine Watch displays.
A lot of the “search is dead” hysteria has been due to Google’s apparent punishment or discounting of unnatural link-building. This has long been the main tactic of many SEO’s and is how they measure and charge for their services. So while it might mean the death of SEO for for practitioners, the fact that Google is placing less emphasis on link-building is a good thing for consumers. It mean that results are steadily becoming more relevant. Smart SEO’s know this and are addressing it.
What is also becoming apparent is that social media is becoming a significant factor in search results. Most experts now agree that Google and Bing are paying attention to the amount of social activity around posts and pages on your website, even if Google is paying an unnatural amount of attention to its own network. The smart marketers are making sure they have a holistic approach to search and social to achieve the best results.
As Neil Perkin says in his recent analysis of the industry:
“….whilst SEO may not be dying, it is certainly changing and changing fast. As the link between so-called ‘earned media’ and search engine results gets stronger and as the data sources that form results become more numerous and more complex, the requirement is increasingly for SEO to be integrated into everything that the brand does. That means not only the quality of your content, but how you produce it and what you do with it. The skills of a good SEO person have always been about increasing visibility of content and getting it in front of people who are prospective buyers/customers/consumers. And that skill will surely be in more demand than ever.”
SEO isn’t going away anytime soon. Its changing rapidly but as long as so many consumers are logging on to research and purchase SEO will remain an important and necessary task. Honestly, we’re only at the beginning of the online shopping revolution. The numbers will grow exponentially in the next 5 years.
The question now is whether your SEO strategy reflects the current state of the search industry. If it doesn’t then its likely your results will be far from optimal.
Most of us now know that effective use of social media can be highly beneficial for business, but have you ever wondered when is the best to post your message to reach and engage with the most people? Fortunately Bit.ly have done the research on this and have the answers courtesy of this nice infographic by Raka Creative. They’ve worked out the best times to Tweet for click-throughs and the best times to post on Facebook for click-throughs. How does this compare with your experiences?
The Olympics is considered to be the greatest sporting event in the world as well as the oldest international sports extravaganza. Leading up to the London Olympics 2012, Beijing as the host of 2008 had ushered in an era of glitzy grandeur to the event which made the games a big hit all over the world. When every continent comes together for the Olympics with the urge to create a historic event every four years, you would expect the Olympics to sync well with times. Sadly, the upcoming London Olympics 2012 has just been plagued with a controversial statute.
The IOC, International Olympic Committee, has set aside a few very strict social media laws for this year. As per the social media laws stipulated for 2012 Olympics, every post, tweet or blog, in short any online content being circulated through social media or social networks, must be in a first person narrative. Which implies that every piece of information posted online should be in a diary type format necessitating the fact that the poster, tweeter or blogger is giving a firsthand account and speaking for himself or herself.
If these social media laws were not enough, the IOC further states that no videos can be shared from the Olympic village and if athletes were to post any photos or any sort of content about their peers or other competing athletes then they would have to seek permission from the concerned athlete or athletes prior to doing so. What the social media laws for this year Olympics imply is that there would be a sort of social media ban on athletes and everyone involved in the event. This is a form of censorship being imposed and the social media laws basically amount to a social media ban.
What the IOC had in contemplation while announcing these social media laws is not well ascertained at this stage but the sporting community and also a huge section of the online community are not very happy with these social media laws. Putting a social media ban would not only limit the exposure of the Olympics but telling the athletes what they can do, share and what they cannot is simply something that would not go down well with most sportspeople, not to mention the hundreds of millions of social network users.
The IOC is certainly out of touch with the social media phenomenon to have come up with these laws which are nothing short of a social media ban.
When the Olympics start in London on Friday, 27 July they will be forever known as the social media Olympics. At the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008 any news from there may have found its way onto the Internet via blog posts and the occasional video being posted and re-posted on YouTube.
Since then the explosive growth of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest has changed the media landscape dramatically and this time around the impact of social media on the Olympics will be huge. In the past people may have sent text messages, e-mails or commented on forums and chat rooms about the most interesting aspects of the Olympics. Can you imagine the volume of traffic that will be going through all the social media sites as soon as an event has taken place?
As soon as Usain Bolt crosses the finishing line there will be thousands if not millions of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. People will be posting on Facebook to get interaction from their friends about the race. Twitter will be buzzing with all sorts of comments, jokes and anecdotes about what just took place. Pinterest will be awash with folk pinning a whole variety of photos that have been lifted from news sites all around the world.
What kind of impact do you think that the social media Olympics will have on newspapers? By the time a journalist has written their piece, the editor has chosen the relevant photos and the rest of the newspaper printed and delivered, there will be very little in the newspaper that has not already been seen, discussed and dissected by the vast majority of the civilised world. The impact of social media on the Olympics could render newspaper coverage superfluous.
Many people will be watching the Olympics not on TV but on iPads and various other mobile devices. Every single bit of news that comes out of the Olympics will spread through the social media like wildfire. It is going to be very difficult for the media to compete against the more popular social media sites. It will be interesting to see the increase in the volume of traffic that is generated by the social media Olympics.
A lot of the athletes themselves will be posting comments on Facebook and Twitter and it is here that most people will go, rather than tune into TV to see any interviews. People now expect news to be delivered immediately and are impatient. If you want to see results, comments, quotes or photos of any of the events it is most likely you will go to one of the social media sites for instant gratification.
2012 will be the first true social media Olympics. The data that emerges over the next few weeks will be telling. Take your mark, get set…..Tweet!