Archive for : Social Media

Digital Branding [Part 2]: The Results

Digital branding has its merits in producing fantastic results towards businesses both small and large. It is a means to personal branding too as we look towards an integrated digital era where work and personal ambitions combine in a unified online persona. Let’s take a look at what you can reap as you focus on digital branding.

1. PLATFORM PREPARATION

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin. We are uncertain of the future if we do not start preparing and using technologies of the future. Digital branding allows you to constantly work and massage digital assets such as social media platforms where it acts as a place for content dissemination to a ready community.

2. PEOPLE (Community)

Once you get into the momentum of preparing your social media platforms, the constant exercise of digital branding allows you to build a community of advocates that will have a higher chance of brand loyalty and communication. Content fed to them are more relevant and allows for a more receptive bunch of consumers.

3. CITIZEN JOURNALISM

A community is made up of different individuals that have their own characteristic and level of advocacy towards your brand. In the case of customer to customer (C2C) marketing, these individuals that are highly vocal; always willing to share their experience, will be your evangelists. They become your journalists to push for your brand’s promise, experience and product / service.

4. FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Building your brand digitally allows for quick feedback. First impressions online are vital to whether that lead stays or drops out. With proper digital branding and strategising, your brand has higher chances of capturing that lead with multiple impressions; curating content and a brand image that suits that lead. Make sure to constantly ensure that your brand is on-point with its overall look and messaging.

5. LEAD GENERATION

Ultimately, brands want to generate leads and convert them into customers. With a ready platform, a committed community and brand evangelists, it is almost in auto-pilot when a potential customer discovers your brand. If that lead is your target audience, proper digital branding allows for a quicker feedback and decision making from that lead. Take it one step further and capture that lead with a campaign; collect their data in exchange for a reasonable gift / prize so that they can experience your brand with a lower barrier of entry. Note: Always state clear terms of data usage, do not misuse data for mass marketing. Your brand can still run without an online presence or any form of digital branding. However, what sets your brand apart with digital branding is the headstart you have to manoeuvre through the changing times, intentionally communicate with your intended target audience and stay far in front of your competitors. Give your brand that edge and make it global.

Read Part 1 for the benefits of digital branding.

Digital Branding [Part 1]: The Benefits

Branding is simple and it should be. The goal is to establish a recognisable name, symbol, design, outlook that serves as a unique identity of a product or service. It tells of your story and the experience that customers can expect. It boils down to perception. So, what is digital branding? Simply put, brands these days do not solely rely on offline mediums to cultivate their brand. Brands are leveraging on digital mediums such as websites, social media, mobile apps, digital advertisements, email and the likes, to solidify their online position; allowing a more wholesome experience.

Creating a brand perception online takes into account all the possible digital platforms that your customers are actively on. The term ‘digital’ can be broken down to 4 main elements – Interactivity, Multichannel, Virility and Progressiveness. Each of these has its own benefit towards your brand. Let’s break it down.

1. Interactivity

Gone are the days of one-way communication. Brands have to embrace a rather engaging approach to attract customers. Digital branding allows for greater interactivity where brands can choose different elements within a content to be marketed in a more engaging manner. For example, showcasing your product USPs via a GIF, hosting a live video on Facebook / Periscope / YouTube and responding to comments on-the-go, launching clickable banner ads on related websites.
Allow your customers to do something, get them in on the experience. This will create a deeper branding strategy.

2. Multichannel

Having your brand strongly vested in digital branding allows for a convergence of different platforms. Imagine your brand’s identity being unified across multiple online platforms (social media, email, online advertisements, chat applications) with different display mediums; all in unison, preaching one message yet customised to every customer.
Your brand’s content requires a channel as an outlet. Digital platforms are at your fingertips. Set them up and integrate them to showcase your brand.

3. Virality

Virality has come a long way and has been misused many times. Having your brand go viral is a post result instead of a pre-planned process. There are viral elements to potentially push your brand towards a further reach in a short period of time but there is no guarantee. The beauty of digital branding is that brands can easily pick up speed by customers’ engagement through shares, clicks, recommendations, feedbacks, dark social and so on.

Having a digital base allows customers to have quicker access to the brand’s identity; allowing them to make quicker decisions on engaging with it. The more customers feed on it, the potential to go viral is higher.

4. Progressiveness

As you continue to uphold a digital branding strategy, you will realise that it is easier to expand your brand’s appeal in order to progress in this fast changing environment we live in.

In order to progress, we need to have all our branding channels at hand. Digital allows that. It allows for versatility.
  Integrate your branding strategies. Cultivate a habit to unify your brand identity both online and offline. Digital branding is becoming a staple method of branding. Jump on board!

Read Part 2 for the results for digital branding.

5 Types of Engaging Social Media Posts

Postings = Oxygen to your social media platforms.

More often than not, content creators crack their head to produce content for their Facebook pages, Twitter and so on. No matter the struggle, it is vital for you to remain creative and craft some engaging content for everyday postings.

5 Types of Social Media Postings to keep a page running and breathing:

#1: THE VISUAL: Uploading pictures that capture attention

Visuals are naturally more eye catching. If we take a look at your Facebook newsfeed, it does not take long for you to realize that it is filled with activities and posts. With that in mind, visuals usually are more appealing and usually takes up more space in the newsfeed. Couple that with an interesting one line statement, you will have a higher chance of winning more viewers. Plus, your Facebook page name travels together with every share by your friend or a friend of your friend, it is basically getting the mileage you always hoped for.

#2: THE QUESTION: Asking questions and prompting feedback from fans

 

Fans love to be involved in your brand. When prompted correctly, they can be a tool for higher sales in the long run. Ask them questions and receive their feedback. Analyze their thoughts and utilize these feedback to improve your brand and service.

#3: THE BLANK: Leaving a blanked space for fans to engage

Allowing fans to have a say in your brand is what grows a brand today. Craft a sentence and leave a blank for fans to fill in their answers / thoughts so to increase engagement. Allowing fans to finish your sentence or write their own statuses enhances brand relation. Fans will feel more connected to the brand; remember it is all about your relationship with your customer that counts.

#4: THE BUZZ: Sharing tips related to your industry

Get on up with the latest happenings in your industry. Bring your fans up to speed by sharing with them any piece of article / information that concerns your industry. There are a few reasons why people like brand pages on Facebook, but one obvious fact is that they become fans because they relate to your brand. They are interested to know more and stay updated with latest announcements either pertaining to your brand or industry. So, share relevant news and keep your fans on their toes.

#5: THE FUN FACTOR: Incorporating humor

There is a child in every person. That goes for all your fans too. Do not limit or red tape your page’s content to only what is formal and serious. Throw in the fun! Add in a hint of humor to enlighten your fans. Having that said, do take precaution to not overstep the boundaries of fun. There are times when you are not sure of the “fun” content; one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Therefore, always run through those humor posts with your colleagues or superiors, better yet your content strategist or community manager. Above all, keep it light, clean and engaging, enough to bring a smile.

These are only a few to get you started on your everyday postings. Ultimately, you need to know your fans and craft a content strategy that suits your audience. Use the suggestions above wisely and creatively. Remember, crafting content for your social media postings is fresh air both to you and your fans. Keep it pumping!

What types of postings do you usually use and do you have any new and creative ones to share? I would love to hear from you!

How to Preserve Creativity on Social Media

Creativity derives from a world unknown to the creator.

Being creative can be tough. It is often subjective and can be interpreted differently. However, the preservation of creativity even in this growing age of social media can bear much fruit to brands and companies, even individuals. As we face the social giant head on, we must grab it by the horns and evolve around it while maintaining the ability to stay creative. It is not an option, creativity can very well be the antidote to a brand’s stagnation.

HOW CAN YOU PRESERVE CREATIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

#1: REMAIN STILL: Allow serenity to get the best of you

Having all the possible distractions at our finger tips, we are doomed to never see the lights of peace and quiet. We are streamlined into a world of technology that can build a robot out of you. Make an effort to unglue your eyes from the computer screen, stretch those limbs of yours, grab your keys and head out to a place only you know.

There, find the very space of simplicity and the roots of all creativity. Close your eyes and look around, shut your mind and think freely. Make time to engage socially with yourself before engaging social media. Don’t be afraid of originality, allow your thoughts to recalibrate, click the “refresh” button and livestream your creative ideas.

#2: BUILD A TRIBE: Look for and engage with creative communities

Since we are built to socialize and to have community, do just that! Preserving creativity calls for a team. A team of like-minded people to bounce off. Build a tribe, get connected to a community that has your back and will dodge a bullet for you and at the same time will shoot you with that very same gun.

Social media is fast and brutal, you as a creative individual need to find a creative hub/bank where people share resources, give constructive criticism and intensify ideas.

Explore Creativity on Social Media



    "Being creative on social media demands a wider perspective."









#3: LIVE AN ADVENTURE: Explore the vast world of all things creative

If you haven’t yet taken some pleasure in an adventure, it’s time to put on those boots and rough it out. Creativity is periodically growing; it is a risk taker. Being creative on social media demands a wider perspective. Imagine taking a rocket to have a bird’s eye view of the world; seeing the horizon of the earth and as you go higher, to witness the magnificent curvature of the earth. Explore the vast world of creativity be it online, in libraries, through other creatives or even through the lens of mother nature.

#4: BE CRAZY: Unleash your mind and think BIG, scale it down later on

We often fear the unreachable. We cave our minds, void it of limitless imagination. In order to preserve and add flavor to creativity in this social media generation, it is more than necessary to think big. Being practical is important, but generating ideas while stuck to the ground misses the point of greater heights.

There is a need to let your imagination go wild, there is a time to come back down to earth. However, let’s take off first and land later on, do not miss out on the fresh thoughts that hovers above our minds. Social media creates an avenue for crazy, big and fresh ideas.

As you can conclude that preserving creativity, especially on social media requires extra effort and intentional self-responsibility. Don’t give up creating and innovating! We need you to make an exceptional difference on social media.

Have better and additional methods to preserve creativity on social media? Go on and share your thoughts! All are welcomed.

Post header photo credit: Jonathan Fields

5 Types of Facebook Fans and How to Win Them

Have you ever wondered what are the types of fans that have liked you on Facebook, beyond the given demographics? The thing is this – it is impossible to please every single one of them with a single update and at the same time, bombarding your fans with updates of different nature will drive them away too.

The trick: Talk to them, not at them.

Truth be told, there isn’t a need to engage every single one of your fans all the time simply because not all of them can be reached at one go. Instead of trying to please everyone, try identifying the types of fans you have and understanding the 5 different types of Facebook fans will help you engage them better, at their pace.

#1: The Friend

These are the people you know and maybe you’ve invited them to like your page and they did. Many pages started with this to get a head start in the number of fans (and it is absolutely fine) but that also poses a challenge – to keep them engaged or ‘entertained’. I say it’s a challenge because they may not actually like what you have to offer, but did it as a mere form of support.

What to do?

While they are a challenge, they can work to your advantage as you (should) have a better idea on their preferences. Try breaking them into smaller groups based on their interest (e.g. sports / cooking / gaming) and ask yourself, “What would they like to see?” and try creating content in that area.

They make great sounding boards too! Ask them for opinions to see how are you doing thus far – are your updates too frequent? Are they relevant? Are they eye-catching enough? These are great people to receive honest feedback from. Occasionally, consider getting them to promote your updates / content for you.

#2: The Observer

This group of fans may have liked your page for various reasons – whether its because a friend did the same, something you posted caught their attention or they liked you by accident (it happens). Regardless of how they liked your page, these are fans that prefers consuming content instead of participating.

What to do?

This is a tough one and there’s no one way to do it. Experiment. And keep experimenting. You’ll need to be able to sniff out what content sells and what does not. Are your fans more receptive to photos, quotes, videos, product updates, event updates or polls?

Note: most observers are reluctant to post a comment but they may be good ‘likers’. Use that as an initial indication to determine which content type works and see if you can push it further the next time by initiating a simple call-to-action.

#3: The Customer

It is common for brands to think that this is the most important group of fans – but they aren’t (we’ll come to that soon). These are fans that your brand has come in contact with in one way or another – through a roadshow, a past purchase, a flyer that has created an interest in them or fans that are saying “Let’s see what you’ve got”.

What to do?

Don’t sell. Instead, provide value. Consider providing them social exclusives. Show them how you are improving and how mindful you are to meet their needs and expectations and always look out for opportunities to reward their support. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese went as far as producing a ‘Likeapella’ to say ‘Thank You’ to 4,800 fans that Liked them on their Facebook page. Now that’s one special way to say thank you!

#4: The Advocate

Nope, these aren’t the most important group of fans either. These fans are awesome to have for every business (who doesn’t want their customers talking about them anyway?) and will actively ‘Like’, ‘Share’, comment and even reply to other fans on your behalf.

What to do?

Don’t smile to yourself and leave them be. Acknowledge their support, contribution and help by simple rewards and recognition. Tools like Crowdbooster are great (and free!) to identify which are the most engaging fans on your page. Mashable went to the extend of putting up a wallpaper of all their Facebook fans in their office.

#5: The Haters

These fans are what brands fear the most. In fact, this is the reason why many brands do not want to have an online presence – the fear of negative comments and bashing from the fans. However, this group of fans is in fact the most important of them all for one reason: a chance to show them (and the other fans) your dedication and sincerity to them.

What to do?

Address them and address them quick. Negative comments spread like wildfire over social platforms and it is up to you to reply them almost as soon as you spot them, but tactfully. Do not, ever, delete or hide their complaints for whatever reasons or to defend yourself. Instead, apologize first and seek whatever clarifications you would require and always offer to compensate.

In most cases, your Advocates will step in to defend against your plight and this is the perfect opportunity to show them that you indeed care and value your fans and to turn haters into lovers.

Everyone is a Potential Customer

By now you should have noticed that regardless of the type of fan they are, every fan is a potential (repeating) customer. Take some time to understand, to experiment and to converse at their own pace and you will be seeing results soon.

What type of fans do you have and how have you been engaging them? I would love to hear your thoughts!

3 Simple Ways to Build Your Net Worth With Social Media

The term ‘net worth’ is commonly used as a reference to monetary value – through accumulating of assets. However, building your net worth the same way by accumulating huge number of social media accounts, fans or followers isn’t exactly it.

The thing is, many companies, businesses and individuals are going about accumulating fans and followers thinking that it is a volume game. Sure, creating an audience is a part of the process but is that really your net worth? So, you may have 100,000 fans or followers to date but how much value are you to them? Are you credible?

Value and Credibility. That is net worth.

I’m referring to your value to your customers, fans and followers; your credibility in the industry and among your competitors. How do you stand out from them? Or rather, how can you stand out from them? Thankfully, we have a myriad of social media platforms to our disposal and here’s how you can use them.

#1: Create Your Own Content

Create Relevant Content

The type of content you generate defines who you are on social media. The moment someone opens up your Facebook page or Twitter profile, your status updates and tweets creates that first impression – so use that to your advantage.

Create content that are relevant to your interest and expertise. This way, you are subtly positioning yourself as an expert in that domain and people will recognize you for what you have been posting  – whether they are videos, articles, photos or soundtracks.

#2: Share Content from Others

Share Relevant Content

In the midst of creating your own content, spend time sharing relevant content from others too! Not only will this build your network, it extends your credibility and net worth by demonstrating your resourcefulness and passion towards the industry.

This will also work great for you that may not be inclined to create your own content. If this is you, share, share and SHARE content that you’re passionate about.

#3: Connect With Likeminded People

Connect With Likeminded People

Now that you’ve generated content (whether by creating or sharing them) that is relevant to you,  it’s time to get connected to people of similar interests to grow your network.

When I say ‘connect’, I don’t mean just adding them as a ‘friend’. Actively connect with them by genuinely getting to know them. Participate in tweetchats, try contributing ideas on other people’s content by leaving a comment or by sharing their content. Take genuine interest in what they are doing and you’ll be off in building a great relationship.

Now what?

The thing about building your net worth is that it takes a lot of time and commitment, and there is no one fixed formula in making it happen. However through this, your credibility in the industry will be established over time.

Now head over to your social profiles if you haven’t already and take a look at whether you’re sending out the right message to the public. If you aren’t, start today!

Post header photo credit: Stephen Chukumba

Social Only Exclusives

Exclusivity is not a new marketing strategy. It has always been a friend of both marketers and consumers. Whether it is a service or a product, exclusivity has the ability to make one feel special, appreciated and belonged. With the increasing importance of having an online social presence, marketers have been asking this question:
“How do I invoke that very same feeling online?”

5 Ideas for Creating Social Only Exclusives

Leneys Facebook Page

click for larger image

Idea #1: Facebook Fan Gates

This is perhaps one of the most popular ways business and brands are capitalizing on Facebook today and it’s a great way to grow your presence online – but it isn’t as simple as just placing a welcome message (where most do). Consider describing the benefits of “Liking” your page, what can followers expect and a call to action. Even better, place a Facebook widget to show friends that have already “Liked” the page (it gives them another reason to “Like” you). Source of example: Leneys    

Idea #2: FourSquare

While this location based app may not seem like a popular choice for businesses out there (especially in Malaysia), FourSquare do offer great promotional functions for both product or service related businesses. How about a free dessert for every new check-in? Or a free basket of fries for those who check-in with 5 friends? Or a complimentary cold drink on a hot day? A free hair cut on the 5th check-in?

Types of Foursquare Specials - source of example: Optify

There is really no limit to what you can offer so be creative! Consumers love getting rewarded so do that and earn yourselves in their good books and positive reviews. Note: FourSquare also allows users to leave tips and share their location with their friends so that’s free publicity!

Idea #3: Special Fan Features on Facebook

Oreo Fan Feature

No, this is not a new Facebook functionality but it is surely a great way to get your customers involved. Oreo allows its fans to submit pictures of themselves with Oreos to be randomly featured on Oreo’s Facebook page. This not only gets your customers involved but that feeling to be featured on a brand’s profile photo, it’s definitely something to shout about.

Idea #4: Digital Vouchers / Coupons

McDonalds Malaysia Mid Month Giveaway Vouchers are a great way to drive online visits into offline sales. On top of that, online vouchers saves you the cost of printing AND physical distribution with a higher potential reach and conversion rate. Think about it, excited customers may be sharing the digital voucher with their friends across platforms – that’s free publicity, something printed vouchers may not be able to achieve. McDonalds Malaysia did gave out a whole bunch of digital vouchers in 2011, giving away Double Cheeseburgers to Mc Chickens on a Buy 1 Free 1 campaign. The result?

Customers queuing up for the offer around this outlet

While at it, sometimes it is also good to consider having something in return for the vouchers – it may be a simple database collection system to create your own email list or even a forced sharing mechanism (see #5 below).

Pizza Hut - share with your friendsIdea #5: Facebook Sharing

One of the biggest advantages of social networks is that it allows you to tap into the networks of others – and that can be done through sharing. Not only this can bring about visibility, it also promotes greater interaction and participation as sharing is essentially word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. Pizza Hut launched a campaign on Facebook allowing fans to share 5 other spots on their new product. When all spots are filled, all 6 takes home free cinnamon sticks upon a specified purchase. Use sharing with caution though – it may turn your customers off. You do not want to make it too complicated just so they can redeem a free drink or a 10% off at your outlet. On the other hand, you do not want to leave yourself without benefit too so find the balance between the procedures and the freebie.

Have you come across a unique marketing campaign on social media? We would love to hear them!

Are You Integrating Your Social Media Marketing Efforts?

With the adoption and acceptance of social media among businesses and consumers continue to grow, it is likely that your business already has a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, a YouTube channel or a Google+ page. That isn’t bad at all but let’s face the fact – it is getting a little crowded on social networking platforms, yes? Your competitors are on it and perhaps your small business seems to be on the losing end when compared to your larger counterparts. Alternatively, maybe you’re raking in the “Likes” or the “Follows” and you’re thinking that you’ve succeeded in becoming social. Either way, you thought wrong and here’s why:

Social media is not just a game for the large in size.

Unlike certain sports such as American football where physique does matter, social media is a fair game. It also favors small businesses a lot. And by that I really mean, a LOT. Sure, your competitors may be a digit away in the number of ‘Likes’ compared to you but that doesn’t mean they’re doing it right simply because: 1. likes / followers can be bought (very affordable too!), 2. their fans aren’t responding to them (no conversations), 3. their page is deprived of updates (a ghost town), or worse, 4. their page is populated with updates that aren’t theirs (spam) So, are they successful now? Probably not. The thing is, you as a business owner or a marketer should be looking out for opportunities to integrate the power of social media into existing promotional avenues, or to create new ones.

Here are three (3) integration points of social media to get you thinking on your next marketing campaign:

wallmart facebook receipt

Social Media Attribute #1: Networks

What value do social media networks have if you cannot build your own networks on them? Your marketing campaign should incorporate ways that can assist you in growing your networks whether it is on Facebook or Twitter, it is always good to have an established network BUT, don’t stop there. Take it a step further to build your database by understanding your followers by collecting more information such as their email address to create an audience profile or just to keep in touch with them. Interestingly, research shows that consumers that follow your page / profile DO intend to hear more from you so use this privilege to your advantage. Don’t abuse (spam) them! Integration ideas: current e-newsletters, in-store promotional standees, press advertisements, roadshows / exhibitions, opt-in registrations, seminars / talks / workshops, pre-releases, product launches and etc.

Social Media Attribute #2: Conversations

Building your own network on social media platforms organically can be tough, and it is an on-going process. One of the key drivers of social media is that it allows you (or your business) to be social, and that means be conversational. Many businesses out there think their job ends at amassing “Likes” but the question is: “What’s next?”. Get conversations going with your followers. Ask questions, brainstorm for ideas, leave wishes on their profiles, share photos with them… and the list goes on. The trick is to be human and talk as a human, not a corporate figure. Integration ideas: FAQ page, website / blog (via comments), festive greetings, follow-up content (from other advertising sources), polls for consumer feedback and etc.

Social Media Attribute #3: Sharing

Your next marketing campaign should be something that has the ability to tap into the existing networks of your fans (or personal friends if you just got started) to get them to reach into their own networks. It can be something that they can easily share or actively participate.  It could be a simple contest, a video, fun facts or even some behind the scenes action behind your business. However, before going into the idea of creating something viral – let me also say that you cannot create something viral. Because viral just happens. It cannot be created on purpose. Most creators of viral content (including videos and games) often say that they did not expect it to become viral. Integration ideas: in-store promotions, website / blog, roadshows / exhibitions, mini games, videos, contests, seminars / talks / workshops, pre-releases, product launches and etc.

Are you ready to kick start your next marketing campaign with social media?

Keep the above in mind and you should be getting on right track in your marketing plans.
Activate your fans, don’t just collect them like baseball cards. – Jay Baer, Convince & Convert