Content marketing via Twitter: Thinking Super Bowl style?

The companies that ran expensive commercials in the Super Bowl 2017 did not expect the added bonus of the game being the most dramatic in Super Bowl’s 51-year history. Yes, viewers will talk about the fantastic quality of the game. And they will remember the commercials that entertained them through out the game period. Money well spent, no doubt.

However, the value of any commercial’s PR has to lead to sales of either the product or service offered. An immensely rewarding offshoot is the earned media that circulates on Twitter to commercials aired during the game. Big names and big personalities with power-packed following get into the commercial conversation.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-9-33-45-am   screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-9-52-30-am

And those watchful for subtle messages even in the song and dance entertainment at halftime, support and, in turn, get the support of those they promote. Everybody wins here; take a look at Hillary Clinton’s tweet about Lady Gaga’s stunning performance. It will be interesting to see a spike in sales of the Lady’s album sales in the next week or two.

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While not many companies have a big advertising spend of millions of dollars for a coveted 60-second spot on prime media, we can follow the strategy they adopted in linking their commercials to their Twitter feed and the goals they are likely to achieve in their content marketing via Twitter.

So let’s review some tweets from a few of the big guys with the big spend who walked their commercials boldly during the 2017 Super Bowl and followed these in tandem with their Twitter feeds. Great cross promotion and linking.

  1. Wix.com (@Wix)
    Their pinned tweet that stays on the top of their Twitter feed.Clicking on the hashtag #DisruptiveWorld takes the viewer into their Wix web space that offers their services. Hint, hint. Can you read new sales??
    screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-03-29-am       screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-02-29-am
  2. Victoria’s Secret (@VictoriasSecret)
    screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-15-46-am      screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-16-30-am
    Brilliant connections with Victoria’s Secret models, Lady Gaga and pull marketing via Twitter on Super Bowl night.
  3. Budweiser (@Budweiser)
    Nobody predicted overtime. Not even 75% into the game. Yet Budweiser was ready. You need to be too.
    screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-19-55-am
  4. Intel (@intel)
    Intel wove the trending keywords “comeback” and “overtime” into their tweets together with their own hashtag
    #ExperienceMore.screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-23-11-am      screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-10-24-27-am
  5. Snickers (@Snickers)
    Deft word and visual associations between western setting, shoot, Super Bowl, hunger and Snickers.

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  1. 84 Lumber Company (@84LumberNews)
    The earned media this poignant commercial picked up went viral on news media channels.

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Super Bowl Twitter lessons
What did these advertising gurus and ad creators accomplish that we, with few dollars and not few millions, can learn from and practice?

  • Use the currency of the event to promote our own sell on Twitter. All the ads used the Super Bowl actors or references to promote their own products and services. And linked it to the most popular trending hashtag #SB51
  • See the simple black and white ad from Victoria’s Secret. With all their mega spend on beautiful videos, they created something so simple and effective for their Twitter feed. Did people take their time-bound offer? You bet they did!!! And what does it take for you to create a simple yet compelling ad like that? A bit of your time and willingness to learn from great lead generation.
  • The tweets also bandwagoned important persona of the Super Bowl. Go ahead and latch on to trending hashtags. Make sure that your content is relevant to the theme you are trying to hitch a ride on. Be opportunistic if you will. Just remember to be tasteful in your connections and content.
  • Set a call-to-action in your tweet; it serves to make your goal simple for the user to act on.

Make your tweet win its game. It’s game on!!

 

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Does your engagement strategy cut the mustard?

Social media revels in Web 2.0 characteristic of real-time synchronicity. Its highly interactive media make social media a playground of engagement.

Well then, as a business enterprise – small, medium or large – your judicious choice of channels to attract new clientele, while conserving your loyalty base, has kept you on your digital toes (pun intended). Your avatars as communication manager, marketing communication specialist, digital content advisor … spend days and nights brainstorming how to get conversions. Are you yourself converting a homely equation? Book Smart + Practice Smart = Best Outtakes?

Are your engagement goals up to par?
Some companies enter the social media arena with nebulous ideas about getting conversions, setting key performance indicators, getting metrics … . Few question their office pundits if they’re going about these mantras the smartest ways. In this blog, let’s explore what do you aim to achieve with the content you prepared whether these are snackable delights for Twitter or a listicle for Facebook or more of a full meal as a blog or an editorial on your website. The common denominator is engagement. Yes, having come so far, did you define what level of engagement you can wrest from the throbbing minds of the cyber multitudes?

Katie Paine in her book Measuring What Matters writes that users consume content on multiple levels of engagement. On an ascendency scale:

  • The base level rests with lurking; those who merely like or click through posts and links. Is this all you are measuring? Hmmm, ever wonder why you are getting nowhere in your “metrics” or “strategy”?
  • On the 2nd level are those who follow you on your social media accounts and those who comment on posts. How far can your strategy get you if all you see is “Nice picture!” and other inane remarks on your Facebook page, eh?
  • Midway are those who retweet or repeat comments – in short, they share your content with others. You deserve better than people sharing your stuff.
  • The 4th level gets those who display positive sentiments for your organization. Now things are looking up for you.
  • At the highest level are those who champion your causes, your organization and advocate for what you do. Are you aiming for this level of engagement?

Is your content segmented for its specific publics? How did audience specialization figure as part of your strategy? Does your content cut the mustard for the level of engagement you hope for?

Figure for Engagement (1)

Did you query the quality of relationships between your organization and its diverse publics?
Social media caters to relationship building in ways that traditional media cannot match. Relationship building with all stakeholders is the cornerstone of public relations. Public relations is about story telling; the value being in the retelling.

Your narratives should stimulate discussion, be credible, be relevant and generate trust. The level of user engagement that emerges is but a testimony to what you put out, when and how.

Is your Audience Acquisition on the right track?

Your launch into the world of audience acquisition evolved from defining your product’s core users even before you put your product or service on the production line. You had captured it in your business plan – a hunch, gut feeling, an idea bound in research that you shared in mind, conversation or on paper. Let’s suppose your business line was products for babies, infants or young children; you gravitated to mothers because you knew that mothers were the key influencers for your product’s business success. How right you were, Jeeves!

Then, you ran into this wall.

Wall for audience acquisition And more buzzwords … .

Common-sense marketing focuses on getting your target audience to act meaningfully. This translates to buying or influencing others to buy your products and services. Ditch building awareness; go for the business whetstone – purchase.

Audience acquisition runs the gamut of marketing ploys – contests, awarding points for rewards, employing different media and channels for advertising, wooing your press contacts, having a table at a fair or in a large mall that supports local business … . All cost money. So does your time. Why not then, spend these resources where it is most likely to get the biggest bang for your buck?

Eh? Then, let’s look at getting an enlightened audience from targeting key influencers. Your best customers are the most worthwhile of your on-the-ground or digital ambassadors of your product. They are the ones you need to concentrate on in your marketing push.

Build on the ripples of your spheres of influence
Shelve the awkward task of touching your personal contacts of family and friends to tout your business. Identify your key influencers to work for you willingly.

Key influencers

It began small and then
Mega success stories that took their creators to destinations beyond imagination are inspirational in their returns on investment in key influencers — Hunger Games, Harry Potter series — till savvy marketing splurged their successes to stratospheric realms.

You’re in good company. You’ve a first-rate product or service. Others are waiting in the wings to lift it up higher and higher. You only need to ask — the digital megaphone will carry your voice in the cyber wind. Believe in the good stories. They channel good practices to the best practices.

And to your successes.

 

 

 

What’s your Engagement hook in the Enterprise?

Worldwide, only 13% of employees feel connected and engaged in the workforce.1 Regionally, Gallup estimates show Canadian workforce fare a painfully bashful count of 16% engaged, 70% not engaged and 14% actively disengaged, ±3% being margin of error.2 When the greater part of our waking lives is devoted to work, why then are we distancing ourselves from the hand that feeds us? Our vested interests in our own well-being should be incentive enough to learn to cultivate positive attitudes and behaviours in our work environment.

How does poor organizational health affect the work landscape? Loss in productivity, lack of motivation, low employee morale, high attrition or frequent requests for employee transfer, below average work, higher than average number of sick days … . Is the social fabric of workplaces disintegrating? Employers are well aware of the mounting high costs at stake. We’ve dabbled bravely to find solutions, and continue to do so. Common “fixes” are legion and …

Figure 1                    Figure_2

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Band-aid relief at best. And perhaps, an honest acceptance of a sad reality that none of the previously tried fixes neither significantly influenced nor improved workplace culture. True, the outcomes raised hopes, employees enjoyed a day of fun, the feel good aura lingered temporarily … and dissipated. The weight of day-to-day demands on productively on a stringent workforce fretfully vaporized the efforts and expenses required to process promising changes.

The root causes are rarely addressed – lack of clear communication and lack of a sense of community. Employee engagement ceased being a Human Resource dilemma; it is now a practice of shared responsibility. The time has come to turn the tide with smart technology using enterprise social network as the solution. This might well prove the glue that binds the enterprise together engagingly.

Regardless of region or industry, businesses seeking to adapt to rapidly changing global economic conditions must learn how to maintain high-productivity workplaces … in widely varying social, cultural, and economic environments.

Software holds the key. Bring in social technology to break the arm-lock hold of top-down communication hierarchy and silo-enamoured communication by allowing every employee to contribute and participate using social network applications accessible via smartphones, laptops and desktops to engage across departments and hierarchies— skip over tired, disinterested or overworked managers, supervisors that employees do not trust … and  allow for instant and spontaneous applause, praise and feedback from peers and colleagues.

Companies need to embrace a “human-centred, design-led mobile approach to the front-end experiences of workplace management tools”.3 Here, then are a variety of noteworthy tools proven to revitalize employee engagement. They require no advance training, are easy to install and use in hardware already in place.

Enterprise Software What it does for you
WeThrive Gives managers a clear picture of staff who need help, where and how allowing them to respond immediately and effectively.
TinyPulse Peer-to-peer feedback; uses a mixture of management deployed surveys and “cheers” authored by colleagues.
Epic Measures and improves workplace climate with weekly 360 degree mini-surveys for all employees.
Engagement Multiplier Gets an honest assessment from teams and help track and increase engagement.
Everwise Connects employees with mentors to give them insights to succeed at every stage of their career.
MeoCare Rewards employees with health programs they already love such as Yoga, weight loss, Pilates, cooking, fitness, diet and nutrition.
Achievers Employee recognition that changes the way you work.
6Q Boosts company culture in just two minutes per week.
tibbr Gathers employees, discussions, apps, tasks and content in one place.
Newsweaver Improves, controls and measures the impact of every internal email you send.

Social networks let all employees shine. They create a connected community in real-time transcending institutional communication hierarchy. All of which is measurable and actionable for improvements. And that’s a welcome and refreshing change in engagement culture, isn’t it?

References

  1. Dennis Sims. Lack of employee engagement can be a costly disadvantage. Nashville BizBlog. October 2015. Accessed 24 October 2015. bizjournals.com/nashville/blog/2015/10/lack-of-employee-engagement-can-be-a-costly.html
  2. Gallup. State of the global workplace. 2013. Report.  www.gallup.com/services/178517/state-global-workplace.aspx
  3. Jamie True in How Software Will Transform Employee Engagement. July 2015.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/kaviguppta/2015/07/21/how-software-will-transform-employee-engagement/

Inclusive design in communication

Business websites regardless of size or strength of business, clientele, general or niche or specialty of focus, market or audience owe inclusivity in content to all their users. Inclusive design in communication is more than conforming to and providing standards of accessibility in content for persons with disabilities.

This article provides tips and access points of information for inclusive content design. I begin with an area that is often overlooked because we use the tool so often and pervasively that we tend to forget its function as a powerful tool — words.

Words on our websites need to be understood. We put them there in the first place to fulfil a user task. Yes, we learned so much from usability studies how people scan and not read content – the F-shaped pattern, front loading, optimizing search on browsers, fonts easy on the eye, use of bullets … all lined up for persons with non-disabilities. Well, let’s think “redesign”.

The value of common words and short sentences for inclusivity

  • Sophistication is simplicity in our choice of words – use common words as it helps speed up understanding for the users to complete their task. The best written content is designed not to make users think or second guess what they have to do next.
  • People with some learning disabilities read letter for letter – they don’t bounce around like other users. They also can’t fully understand a sentence if it’s too long.1
  • People with moderate learning disabilities can understand sentences of 5 to 8 words without difficulty. By using common words we can help all users understand sentences of around 25 words.1

Images we use on our websites embrace two categories – those that carry information and those for aesthetic add-ons. Images with information for the user are infographics, flow-charts, labels, messages, speech bubbles … . The content owner (meaning you) must provide alternate text or long descriptions explaining the message in the image so that screen readers can convey the same message to persons who use such devices on their computers. This area is well discussed in the Web Compliance and Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

Images that your websites use whether informative or aesthetic should portray inclusivity in their diversity of people with all levels of ability. For example, if your website is tourism related, show pictures of people in wheelchairs enjoying a day on the beach. And employ integrity in your ads – use real-life models. This creates a beneficial ripple effect and sends ad agencies a powerful message to build up their lists to invite persons with various disabilities to work for them.

Portable document formats (PDFs) are great to showcase your creativity in the graphics, colours, design and layout when you present brochures, pamphlets and other promotional or educational material for your users. Please ensure that the most accessible format is available as the first choice – HTML or PHP pages.

Colour contrast. Yes, you chose the colours on your website to match your logo, to complete one another, to look distinctive … . All of which is worthy rationale. Did you include “inclusivity” in your checklist? Check out the hexadecimal colour codes you used to find out how you match up using this colour contrast analyser – pass or fail?2

In our work world of diversity, our challenge is inclusivity. And it’s a challenge that only takes a few steps to go a long way.

Reference
1. UK Govt. Content design: planning, writing and managing content. Accessed 6 November 2015. http://www.gov.uk/guidance/content-design/writing-for-gov-uk

 

Analytics Unbound

Analytics Unbound: Assets to a small business

Free.

If it takes this single word to spark your interest, read on. As a small business owner working hard to make and keep your business profitable, you need to track your lead generation growth so that clear analytical insights drive your business decisions.

Small or enterprise, many organizations begin with the free product, maximize its use and when they need more, only then do they venture into the paid versions of these freemium products. This is the most sensible way to start. And why stay with one free product? Explore the unique value propositions of two or more products and take the best you can from them that answer to your specific business needs. Free from the vendor does not mean free from the user’s side; you have to invest your time and training hours to make the variety of tools profitable to you and it involves your payroll and associated costs. It’s an essential part to your business development.

Robust research by TrustRadius (2014) cites these products as most used and highly rated leaders in the field of analytic tools – StatCounter, Piwik, Google Analytics, Woopra, GoSquared, KISSMetrics, Mixpanel and Adobe Analytics.

StatCounter (https://statcounter.com/)
Most notable asset is that it is easy to implement and use with clear instructions and real-time demos that explain how each of their features works.

Piwik (http://piwik.org/ )
Whether you wish to segment your clientele or view how your multiple websites function, Piwik will deliver the stats without you having to find an expert to help you. Its choice of plug-ins for download add a bit more oomph to your analytics.

Google Analytics (http://www.google.ca/analytics/standard/ )
The power of GA spreads across the depth and width of any business scale; it’s the most widely used in the world and offers copious notes and videos and train yourself tutorials that overwhelm; its interaction with Google AdWords add power to the user and to your business. As a certified Google analyst myself, I would say “easy to use” is not the first attribute that comes to mind with this tool. But it’s the tool I employ on my own non-ecommerce website and I get to do work on it at the enterprise level where I work. Scales beautifully.

Woopra (https://www.woopra.com/ )
Perfect for small businesses especially those relying on local clientele because this product builds you comprehensive profile for each user. You segment your users and when your customer behaviour changes, these dynamically reflect in your segments real-time.

GoSquared (https://www.gosquared.com/ )
A freemium model, it allows you to access all your user-level data in one place. You can filter your user base by activity and spot once active users who have since dropped off the radar. It opens new possibilities for your business to grow.

Mixpanel (https://mixpanel.com/ )
This tool allows you to measure actions not visits. Good strong data focus with a business eye. I thought their marketing ploy was really cool; all you do is to add their badge to the bottom of your website and your free use jumps 8-fold. Their segmentation and analysis video samples what they have to offer and is not rocket science to use.

KISSMetrics (https://kissmetrics.com/ )
Not free but you might get a discounted pricing on your annual subscription, so this product may not be the first you wish to try out on account of its premium model. The individual level tracking that triggers engagement is highly interesting and their video gives you a taste of the goodies they offer.

All of the above cobble together many of these standard statistics reports: unique page visits, search engines, websites, top page URLs, page titles, user countries, providers, operating system, browser marketshare, desktop VS mobile, engagement (time on site, pages per visit, repeated visits), top campaigns, custom variables, top entry/exit pages, PDF downloads. All these fall into four main analytics report categories – Visitors, Actions, Referrers, Goals/e-Commerce. Keyword search term results are no longer a viable metric to quote from since Google pulled this out of their free domain and other heavily used search engines also followed suit.

Tracking the full customer lifecycle is a rabbit hole to analytics wonderland; you can go far and go deep using multiple tools from different products.

Begin at a great starting point – free.

 

Gone with the viral wind?

What’s your social noise?
Of course we all want our voices or of those we represent to be heard online virally. To begin with, the question and paradoxically, the first of many, begs itself. By whom? And why?

Social media channels make it easy for us to throw our voices into the howling cyber winds. The powerful digital domain allows our message to be encrypted in a space that time and technology can resurrect long after the establishments have faded, causes forgotten and we’ve moved on.

So who is listening? The delightful aspect is that engaging messages, quirky, compassionate, witty, trendy, unintentionally brilliant are responded to, pick up the pace and create powerful firestorms. The power of new media messaging lies in those numbers easily measured even by the simplest and the lowliest scale of engagement metrics ─ Likes. What we hope for is some action going beyond the skin deep. Vanity metrics matter to those in the entertainment industry and in the political landscape, where there’s strength in numbers. Others are well advised to look at conversion rates and how this translates to economic values as factors to test the listening waters of their communication products.

So is your strategy to make any variety of noise and hope to be listened to? Or do you craft your messaging so that even the few who hear, respond in ways you want them to? Your business profits from a few, say 500, followers who are so tuned to your communication products that much of their engagement is a positive conversion to boost your business. The draw of the Pull. Isn’t this way better than friending a couple of thousand other sites who will unlikely convert their interest, faked or bought, to dollar value for your business no matter what you push out to them. Pull over Push.

Yes, you need to track how each communication product fares that you put out. Set up Google Analytics or buy Adobe Analytics and engage trained staff that track customized metrics for you.

Your messages can’t be gone with the wind.

 

 

Social properties

“Occupy Social” begins benevolently enough; find a spot to perch your organization and let it grow and expand magically bringing in the dosh by way of conversion. Ads on Google and Facebook would ensure this surge.

Then you realised that one social spot wasn’t enough. You had to find a different social medium and a different mode of communication. From tweets, videos, 6-second videos, pinning pictures and writing reams … . You took the roads well travelled and those that weren’t. You were busy; Occupy Social was gathering properties.

If this weren’t enough, at some point, truth dawned. You rightly realised that certain channels served select audiences better than others. You dutifully refined your social properties to create social offspring that served niche, general, professional, age-defined audiences. Bravo!

How do you go about making coherence of all the social properties you now occupy in relation to one another? How do you relate your business goals and key performance indicators in social media?

Prepare dashboards in Excel and update them every 2 weeks; see the individual performance in the overall social space. To illustrate a hypothetically hyper dashboard:

Platform Your Property June 1-15 June 16-30 July 1-15
Facebook
–           General
–           Young parents
–           Teens
–           Seniors
–           For separate ethic groups
–           For people with specific medical needs
Twitter and its many properties that you own
WordPress Your different blogging channels
YouTube Multiple properties
Vimeo Multiple properties
Pinterest Multiple properties
Linkedin Multiple properties
Flickr Multiple properties
Instagram Multiple properties

Use the same template to record each of the following:

  1. Followers
  2. New followers
  3. Follower growth (%)
  4. Tweets
  5. Pins
  6. Videos
  7. Posts

Derive content analysis from the above date; what content generates new leads, drives traffic to engage in conversion. Then monitor the engagement metrics

  1. Engagement rate
  2. Conversation rate
  3. Amplification rate
  4. Conversion

Are you meeting your dollar goals? Is your vast social occupation paying good dividends?

 

Mobile first

You’d think the mantra “Mobile first” would have a legion of practical followers; not so if we look at the plethora of websites that we traverse cyber globally. And when we do grapple with the undivine intricacies of poorly designed websites, individually feel how difficult it has been to complete the task we set out to do without its attendant, familiar frustration for poor usability.

On guard websites! With advanced web tracking information that shows performance metrics on webpages , free and premium, we’ve really no excuse to stay away from making our websites easy to navigate, use, and accomplish tasks.

So how do you go about setting your mobile house in order? Think “Mobile First” and you’ve won the game.

  • Tasks have to flow vertically in the Main body of content
  • Your Left Nav menu disappears off the first view on the mobile screen
  • It reappears only if the user is aware of what your hamburger menu can do
  • Your website’s 3rd column is pushed well below at the bottom of your mobile screen. This affects any information that is placed alongside your Main content and is paired with it. In effect your mobile screen will give only part of the information, giving the user the chance to walk away from your site.
  • Users don’t look at images on the mobile; they are looking to complete a task quickly. Google Maps would be one of the exceptions where visual aid is relevant and critical to completing a task
  • Visually distracting videos, animation are lost on the mobile user.
  • Focus on links and words with a Call to action task
  • Integrate Google Analytics for your website and go to the section that provides data on user device. Look at your top tasks and how users approach them – desktop, mobile, smartphones.
  • Use those tasks to determine your mobile information architecture.
  • If your page is long, reward the user for staying on your site by adding text anchors at the top of the page so that the user does not have to scroll way down.
  • Tag your pages so that they turn up higher on the Search results. Users who go to the Search/Menu rightaways are more likely to have a low success rate with their task as they pick the first item that shows up in their Search results

And if Usability testing means something to you, practise it. And implement it. It’s a 2-decade old concept. “Mobile first” as a mantra is rewarding. Your business will know. And pay you back for being considerate to the user.

Geo fencing – Marketing Tech Tools in the Wild

My head in social marketing – during my one year sabbatical to master the business facets of new media communication – believed that geo fencing was a cool tool to send out push notifications using Google AdWords and Facebook ads to attract local itinerant traffic to local businesses.

Then on a Sunday evening, end of March, a beautiful documentary “Migrations” screened life-saving applications of geo fencing technology. And it opened my mind to evolutionary lives of social media widgets that I was hobnobbing with. This documentary showed how the lives of two formidable co-habitants in Mali– elephants and humans – improved dramatically with the extrapolated use of a social media marketing tool, geo fencing. Scientists and conservationists strapped tracking collars fitted with geo-fencing technology to track elephants’ paths. The use was explained this way; virtual fences mark the terrain geographically and when elephants cross these geo fences, email messages automatically go out to the virtual trackers who alert the villages. This life saving alert enables villagers to steer away marauding herds in advance and save both the village as well as the herd from the wrath of the villagers.

This is one giant shining beacon of how some highly intelligent minds crafted a new media marketing tool to empower unintended recipients in remote, underdeveloped areas who benefit from the legacy of an exploding nova of social technology innovation. This inspiring tale holds the promise of other social widgets being taken to new paths beyond the original ken of its inventors.

The success of just this one geo-fencing widget for one animal might extend to other animals too – leopards that prey on the periphery of Indian villages as natural habitats constrict – so that we may successfully repair some of the serious damage we have inflicted on unsuspecting Earth in the last 100 years.

And where would those widget technologies get the animals? Perhaps, in the near future we’d see innovative applications of:

  • Face recognition software from Facebook helping aerial photo recognition of whales, sea otters … .
  • Wearable technology to save the world’s most endangered species.
  • Encouraging pandas to mate and breed mimicking alluring sounds and smells by remote “push notifications”

Who knows? The exciting stuff that dreams are made of may see light of day from an unsuspecting application was circumvented ingeniously to fulfill a higher calling. We’ve new social domains to conquer to save the natural world. And in doing so, we as homo sapiens, might reclaim some good karma. And repay our debt. To Earth.