Tag Archives: Brands

Reasons to implement your Engagement strategy

Does your online strategy show how much you care about your customers?  Do you engage regularly with your audience, giving them value from your interactions with them? In this connected world, can you afford not to communicate with your customers?  Do you know what your ROI on your social activities is?  Do you even measure your ROI?

image

There are some staggering numbers of people online these days, and there’s also an expectation that brands will have good workable social strategies.  Take a look at these facts:

  • Over 2 billion people online are now.  There are only 7 billion people in the world.  Lots of them are still too young to read.  You can engage with 28.5% of the entire population of the world 
  • There are 1 billion accounts on Facebook.  If you have a Facebook page, potentially huge numbers of your fans can see it.  Starbucks has 30 million fans, Coca Cola has 41 million fans and lady Gaga has 50 million fans.
  • 85% of customers expect that businesses should be active in social media.  Where is your social brand?
  • Business is built on relationships.  Are you passionate about your customers>  Does your online engagement and social activity demonstrate how much you care about your customers? Customers believe that 80% of brands are not passionate about their customers
  • Do you blog?  If you do, you’ll get about 55% more visitors to your web site ad 67% more leads than if you don’t blog.  Demonstrate your credibility.  Blog regularly, be credible.  Keep up the conversation. Put blogging at the heart of your content marketing strategy
  • 77% of customers will read status updates from the brand.  They probably wont comment – but at least they are listening to you.
  • 17% of your fans will comment on your messaging.  Perhaps they will share your story amongst their friends.  That is if you are communicating with them in the first instance.
  • 51% of Facebook fans say that they are likely to buy from you if you have a Facebook page.
  • 68% of subscribers to your email newsletter are likely to buy your services.  You need to have a strong call to action to encourage them to purchase
  • Brands don’t always have a good listening strategy.  30% of customer questions and feedback do not get replied to. 
  • On Twitter the listening strategy is poor.  over 71% of complaints on Twitter are not responded to.  implement a listening framework across channels and respond to feedback, good and bad.
  • 43% of social media users talk to brands, but brands don’t listen to their social customers

Further information and facts can be found in the infographic from BitRebels.  Avoid this at your peril.  Engage or be left behind commercially.  You need to have an engagement strategy and make it work with your audience and customers.

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: Keoni Cabral

 

Content strategy the Coca-Cola way

Coca-Cola has disclosed its content and creative strategy for the next phase of their journey which will take its key brands up to  its goal in 2020.

The intention is to move from creative excellence to content excellence. Goals are to:

  • Create ideas so contagious that they can not be controlled
  • Through telling stories they will provoke conversations that they can earn a disproportionate share of popular culture
  • Create a conversational model centred around brand stories to create ideas, provoke conversations that coca-cola can act and react upon
  • Harness the distribution of creativity.  Coca-cola has observed that user generated content outnumbers coca-cola generated content on its brands
  • Respond to the on demand culture where consumers can turn their demands on 24 hours a day
  • Leverage existing ideas and behaviours used in other companies using social media
  • Develop a deeper emotional connection through storytelling

Moving from one way storytelling to dynamic storytelling is a challenge.  Creating a unified band idea needs system wide capabilities amongst technology platforms.  Storytelling needs to be at the heart of communities and cultures and should be captured across the brands

Brand stories should be captured and should demonstrate commitment to making the world a better place.  Without this the brand won’t succeed.

The 5 guiding principles Coca-Cola mention are worth noting:

  • Inspire participation amongst the very best
  • Connect these creative minds
  • Share the results of efforts
  • Continue development
  • Measure success

Chapter 2 of the Coca-Cola content creation story is here

Applying the 70:20:10 principles to content will ensure a good mix.  70% is bread and butter content, consuming less time and engaged broadly.  20% is medium risk content, which engages more deeply.  10% is high risk content which introduces brand new ideas for the next set of medium or low risk content idea.

By using conversation in an iterative way, the conversation can evolve and have longevity. using great measurement tools can ensure that the increased investment in social activities.  However, bringing the consumer conversation into the mix can make sure that each activity is exactly what the consumer wants. and can evolve to match changing needs.

Iteration not replication of the content will ensure the correct evolution of content and bring the company towards its 2020 ambition.

If Coca-cola can do this successfully – then their ideas could also be adapted for use in your own business.

It’s certainly worth a try

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Bank of America gets its online branding strategy wrong

Bank of America have a Google + brand page.

So that’s good right?  You can search for them and find them on Google+

image 

Unfortunately, it appears that they have been brandjacked by pranksters or users intending to cause harm.  Only a few days after Google announced that Pages were being made available for brands, companies such as this are being impersonated. Ed Bott  over at ZDNet, discovered their fake page earlier today – and it still hasn’t been removed as these screenshots of the page show.

image

The Google plus page for the brand has been created by someone who obviously isn’t the Bank of America.  rather it’s owned by someone who has created the page, populated it with images of senior members of the bank.  The About page introduction states:

image

I think the biggest issue at the moment is that Bank of America don’t seem to have taken any steps to remove the page.  Not enough people have clicked on the link and reported the page as impersonating the real Bank of America brand.  Representatives from the Bank haven’t contacted Google directly to have the page taken down.

So why is a reactive online branding strategy wrong?

As part of the online strategy at the bank, they should have ensured that they have created profiles on all social media sites.  If they are not currently using these sites, the brand page should be in place and be there as a placeholder until the outbound communications strategy was in place.  The bank already has an active set of Twitter accounts which are updated regularly.  They have a Facebook page – of sorts -  that has gathered thousands of fans.  Other brands would love to have that many Facebook fans, with no investment in Facebook and no activity from the brand itself.

But Bank of America seem to prefer not to communicate using all social media channels.  It seems like all online marketing, relationship marketing and brand perception are delivered using more traditional mechanisms.  But in order to stop malicious users impersonating you, it’s important that you claim all of your online personas to stop others getting there first.

Brand perception changes at the speed of a mouse click. 

Through their inaction and delay in getting the page removed Bank of America haven’t done themselves any favours.  I now wonder if they have the same sluggish response to their customer issues and service requests.

Be being reactive, then now appear to be inactive.  Not a good place to be in our real time web world…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Google + opens up Pages for brands

imageGoogle + which now has over 40 million user accounts have finally opened up the ability for brands to create pages.  when Google + was launched  back in June 2011, they had a strict policy on brands and user names.  They hit the headlines a couple of times for deleting accounts with pseudonyms and other reasons for violating their ‘real name policy’.

Brand pages weren’t allowed to create their spaces on Google + either.  Now they can.  It’s been hotly anticipated for a while.  Google have been giving teasers to online sites that Google was going to create pages for businesses and asked brands not to create profiles too early.  Google have obviously learned their lesson from Facebook who had the challenge of migrating more than 400,000 users from Apple’s group to Apples pageGoogle+ for Business is now a big push to get brands engaging socially using Google.

So what are the benefits of having your own Google + Page as a brand?

Fish where the fish are:  Brands want to be g push to get brands involved in the same social space as their customers, so it makes sense for them to gather fans and communicate with their fans on every social platform

Advertising:  Having a page on Google + means that you’ll easily be able to connect to services such as AdWords and DoubleClick from your page.  All of the search results, from your website, ads and searches will get added up and appear as a single total.

Search:  There will be search benefits for advertisers with brand pages.  With Google + entries becoming exposed in search results, brands will get extra exposure in search results for their Pages

Analytics:  You’ll now be able to get detailed data, click through and page views from Google Analytics giving a much more targeted set of results

Google has positioned Google + around sharing so that adding pages to their mix helps you share with businesses and brands more effectively.  Google Direct connect will allow you to connect with Google pages right from the search results page and add them to circles.  Bing have had social search additions allowing you to ‘like’ a  Facebook page for some time now.  There’s more info about the things you can do with Google+ on the Google blog.

If you’re looking for examples of pages  so that you can get some inspiration for your own page or to add the page to your circles, you could try Pepsi, Thomson Reuters, Amazon or BBC News.  I couldn’t find ANY Microsoft pages on the top one hundred pages at CircleCount  Hopefully they’ll put something online soon..

So will the introduction of Google +  pages be the death of Facebook and Twitter? 

I don’t think so..

Until they gain a heck of a lot more momentum, integrate other, non Google services through something similar to OAuth, and integrate with other applications that Google doesn’t own.

I think we’ll be waiting for quite a while…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Building brand loyalty using social media

Brands who want to stay competitive are using social media to complement their existing marketing activities.  The are listening to their customers.  They are responding to their customers needs, they are giving them information, discounts and offers.  They are getting customer loyalty and advocacy for their brands and a return on their investment and effort

Its really easy to set up a social networking account to set the brand up on the global market.  Our online habits are changing and we spend over 22% of our time online interacting on social media sites.  These sites give us immediate feedback for our online efforts.  Brands that bother to interact with their customers are more likely to gain enthusiasts for the brand.  Brands are recognising that social media activities are crucial to your business success.

And its not all about Facebook and Twitter… Blogs are important too:

Blogging continues to lead to success in business.  its a way to demonstrate your credibility online in a way that Twitter never can with only 25 words or so to validate you.  Even if you think you have no time to blog, remember that you can still get credibility with your posts.  The blog is not dead.

Millions of people read blogs daily.  There are more blogs on WordPress.com alone than there are Twitter accounts.  Blogging helps you to be successful in business.

image

Blogging is still considered a very valuable way to ensure business success and these numbers haven’t changed much over the last 4 years.  (the image part of an infographic from socialcast by the way)

Brands like Microsoft and Dell, Pepsi and PlayStation all use blogs to really connect with their customers in a way that they can’t with a tweet. They can build brand loyalty by interacting with  customers, responding to comments and sharing links.

Brand loyalty can’t just be created using Facebook, it’s a co-ordinated approach – but the dividends will pay off if you’ve got time to build the relationships your customers want…

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

Reasons to follow brands: Discounts and laughter

Following on from my previous post with 5 ways to better engage your customers, here’s an infographic from the Get Satisfaction blog giving brands some clues on what make people follow brands.  As IBM discovered earlier this year, we want special offers and deals and we want entertaining content.

Infographic: What Makes People Want to Follow a Brand?

So get your competition going and find yourself some special discounts and offers ready for your campaign.  You might be pleasantly surprised…

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

5 ways to better engage your customers

I often get asked about how to get more engagement on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  After all, it’s what I do for a living.  The challenge that most companies have is trying to get their customers to talk to them.  They expect far more engagement than they are getting.  But companies don’t tend to engage.

They  use social media as a way of broadcasting their message.

They don’t reach out and engage with their customers, they broadcast to them.  Brands have campaigns to run, launch calendars and social schedules to adhere to.  They don’t have time to reach out and proactively chat to their online audience.  They broadcast and wait for a response. So how do you get better engagement for your brand? Here are a few ideas…

Talk to your customers.  First.  Reach out, don’t wait to respond.   Your customers would love it if you proactively joined in the conversation

Use the tools to find out who is talking about your brand and join in the conversation.  when I say join in the conversation I mean: Leave a comment on someone’s blog, initiate a Twitter conversation, comment on a YouTube video, vote for something on a web page.  The link with track back to your brand.

Don’t spend all your time talking exclusively about the brand.  The Cravendale social media campaign using subliminal messaging to raise awareness of milk.  They don’t even use the brand name Cravendale, preferring to communicate through the Bertrum Thumbcat alias.  This makes you more curious to find out what is happening to the ‘purrsonality’ each day.image

Don’t expect too much from your Facebook engagement and ROI efforts.  Remember not many people ‘actively’ engage

Don’t worry if engagement doesn’t appear immediately.  Like all relationships, they take time to develop and grow.  But you’ll reap the rewards if you’re patient and your group of brand evangelists will grow.

What are your tips for better brand engagement?  Is there anything I’ve missed out?

Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.