In the early days of the Internet, text was the predominant medium through which information was shared with the masses. In a time before broadband connections, HD videos and even Facebook, the Web was more about functionality than style. While these technical limitations made for a lackluster user experience, they did create a solid blueprint for today’s Internet.
When the Web was ruled by text and rudimentary HTML code, pages had to be coded very efficiently in order to load quickly and images and videos were simply out of the question. Although text still plays a crucial role in the modern Internet, technological advancements have placed multimedia and rich content front-and-center.
A Tale of Two Browsers: From Mosaic to Chrome – The Evolution of Digital Content
A Changing of the Guard
As YouTube, Pinterest and other popular sites geared toward images and videos continue to grow, the focus has begun to shift away from text as the primary form of content on the Internet. Today, virtually every website utilizes extensive imagery or video content to engage audiences. Social networks are certainly no exception.
In fact, social media posts or tweets containing images or videos are more likely to be shared or “liked” than those exclusively comprised of text. The bottom line is – rich content is the key to a more effective Social Media marketing strategy.
How to Engage Your Audience with Photos & Videos
Though I specifically cited YouTube and Pinterest as “media-focused” networks, other social profiles can equally benefit from rich content. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have all recently added enhanced video and photo integration capabilities for user and business profiles. This functionality allows users to more easily display rich and engaging content.
However, it is always important to consider your audience. When creating new rich content, first ask yourself if your consumers would find it helpful or intriguing. Originality, creativity and even humor are all elements of successful content. Keep it relevant, fun and informative. Developing infographics, instructional videos, customer testimonials and new or upcoming product photos are all engaging ways to reach your social following.
Every successful Social Media Optimization and Marketing campaign begins with delivering quality content to your followers. By offering up unique, captivating videos and images as part of your content strategy, you’re well on your way to Social Media success!
Want to learn how to get even more from your Social Media marketing campaign? Ask our Experts or share your thoughts in the comments below!
The Facebook Cover Photo –prime real estate for you to visually represent what your company is all about. Are you adhering to the latest guidelines? Is your cover photo compelling enough to draw user engagement?
Facebook has proven to a valuable asset for many businesses over the last several years and has helped many companies expand their online presence considerably. From “mom-and-pop shops” to some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, Facebook has been targeted as one of the top marketing and advertising platforms on the Web.
In fact, Facebook is second only to Google in terms of unique visitors per month and this nearly unparalleled visibility gives the network a considerable audience (currently over 1 billion active users worldwide) and provides businesses an opportunity to have their products and services showcased around the world.
However, like all marketing and advertising zones, Facebook maintains guidelines which all of its users, including businesses, must adhere to. Following Facebook’s gradual deployment of the controversial Timeline feature last year, many companies attempted to capitalize on new functionality such as the Cover Photo. The large banner which spans the upper third of all Facebook profiles and business pages is, ostensibly, prime real estate for advertisers and marketers. Facebook understood this and created a set of guidelines strictly pertaining to the new Timeline layout.
The latest and arguably most important revision to these guidelines: Cover photos must now be primarily imagery and only as much as 20% of the photo itself can be composed of text.
This update is aimed at businesses which utilize the cover photo as an advertising tool rather than a branding resource. With imagery now playing a larger role than ever before, Facebook marketers and advertisers will need to utilize more captivating and engaging photos to gain exposure and increase brand awareness.
Going “Under Cover”
Facebook cover photos are still an integral part of the network and businesses should continue to recognize them as such, but while these photos are expected to be lighter on text in the months ahead, there are still several areas where text content is essential to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy. Profile/About fields, Timeline posts and image captions are more than just informational – they’re valuable!
These should be used to include links back to your site and critical information about your business, as they each represent possible conversion opportunities and can provide more relevant site traffic.
Like Search Engine Optimization & Marketing, Social Media Marketing requires a balance of skill, research, knowledge and data collection. Over the next several months, many businesses will undoubtedly unveil new Facebook cover photos in order to abide by the new guidelines and a new form of “Visual Social Marketing” will emerge as brands try to create more effective imagery. With popular networks such as YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr at the forefront of an online “image revolution,” businesses will need to adapt in order to provide a more visually-enhanced user experience to remain successful in the highly competitive social media marketplace.
What images visually represent your company’s mission and values?
From celebrities to grandmas, everyone is using Twitter to share content and links. As one of the most popular social networking sites in the world, Twitter boasts a huge following. By increasing social influence on Twitter, businesses and individuals can reach a huge amount of people with little effort. Here are five ways anyone can gain Twitter followers fast!
1. Search for Keywords
Let’s say you have a business that sells picture frames online. By searching for keywords that other Twitter users post, for example the keyword “photo frames,” you can find Twitter users that might follow your account if you post about related content. Instead of simply typing “photo frames” into the search in Twitter, search for entire phrases that include your keywords or search for similar words like “picture frames” in order to have a more specific search result. Include words like “want” and “need’ photo frames to view who is interested in wanting your product in real time. After finding your targeted audience, reach out to them on Twitter and begin interacting with them by first following their account. Favorite their tweet and let them know what you offer, without overly self-promoting. Take it a step further and reply to them in a comedic way – they will appreciate it
Here’s a perfect example of this idea in action:
2. Analyze using Followerwonk’s Bio Cloud
By using Twitter analytics, you can find out more about followers and recognize trending data to gain more followers. The analytics app Followerwonk includes a bio cloud search tool that analyzes the bios of your current followers and displays the keywords most used. This feature will help you not only find other users to follow, but will map out and graph the demographics–age, gender, location and data related to your audience–so you can tailor your posts and interactions based on their Twitter activity.
3. Compare users with Followerwonk
By searching for information about your competition, you can strategize about how to grow your audience based on what other people in your industry are doing right. Using Followerwonk’s compare users feature, you can type in three Twitter handles of people or companies that are similar to you, whether they’re in your industry or sell the same type of products as you. The “compare users” search feature will show you which users follow two or three of the accounts. You should follow these users since they are obviously interested in the same product or niche that you are connected to.
4. Suck Up to People & Ask Questions!
Tracking users, following them, and engaging in a conversation with them usually results in them following you back. You can praise people by tagging them with their Twitter handle, favoriting their Tweets, and asking questions based on their expertise. This starts a conversation in which the user thinks positively about you right away and will consider following you. To sum it up, people like to be recognized. Hopefully, after they follow you, they will retweet or reply to your post, which will have your handle appear on their Twitter feed, and will result in their followers follow you.
Here are examples of conversations I started with Twitter uses about picture frames:
5. Use Twitter’s Advanced Search
Some users forget it even exists, but Twitter’s advanced search can be a valuable tool in finding more users to follow and be followed by as well as narrowing down exactly what you want to search for. This feature allows users to find Twitter handles, exact phrases, posts containing either or both search keywords, tweets sent to and from handles, keywords related to or near locations, tweets sent by a certain date, posts with links, and more.
Through user interaction and analysis, you will gain more followers and help increase your social media influence on Twitter. What tactics do you use in order to gain Twitter followers?
In recent years, mobile Internet usage has increased dramatically and smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices are now the primary point of connectivity for a rapidly growing mobile demographic. For Internet marketers, reaching this massive user base is essential in creating more effective campaigns.
In order to truly achieve optimal visibility throughout social media, developing mobile-friendly sites, pages and content are a must. With Facebook and Twitter ramping up their mobile advertising efforts, it has become easier for social media marketers to build campaigns which target tablet and smartphone users, but even with some help from the networks themselves, it is still important to fully understand the metrics of mobile online marketing.
The Big Difference
The most critical aspect to keep in mind when developing mobile-specific content is compatibility. Does your site have a design that looks good and loads quickly on a tablet or smartphone? Is your rich content mobile-friendly? If not, any pages or content shared throughout the mobile Web is virtually useless. Additionally, social media marketers can take full advantage of popular apps such as Instagram in order to generate more original content geared toward mobile users.
The impact of mobile device usage on social media campaigns is already being noticed and as new “must-haves” such as Apple’s iPad Mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface make their long-anticipated debuts this holiday season, the market is expected to grow even larger in the months ahead. Every social media marketer should pay attention to their mobile audience and understand the value of building campaigns with this ever-increasing demographic in mind.
Most marketers, I hope, are familiar with traditional push-pull strategies. But, me being me, I don’t like to assume things–we all know what happens when you do that.
If you’re unfamiliar with push and pull marketing, here’s the gist of it:
- Push marketing aggressively seeks out the consumer, often incentivizing them with discounts and special offerings. This strategy touts, or pushes, these deals to customers so they’ll buy.
- Pull marketing generates brand awareness, essentially pulling the customer in because they want to learn more.
Not clear enough? Let’s look at some examples.
Traditional Push Example
Anything that urges you to strike while the iron is hot or claims to offer an unbeatable deal is typically a push strategy. Think “limited time hotel deals” and the “McDonald’s Dollar Menu.”
Traditional Pull Example
Unlike push strategies which tend to be rather blunt, pull strategies are much more subtle. They don’t simply use low prices to market their product. They aim to build brand awareness. Think Apple and Red Bull.
Apple rarely pushes their products onto their customers via special offers. Innovative advertising and word-of-mouth pulls customers in. Red Bull, which also uses innovative advertising, uses sponsorships–X Games, Formula 1, etc.– as well to rope people in.
While some companies lean heavily on the push and some heavily on the pull, most companies try to strike a balance between the two. After all, it’s tough to generate awareness without putting your name out there.
Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about traditional marketing. How does this tie into what you’re really here to learn about, online marketing?
A New Push-Pull Strategy for Online Marketing
Make no mistake about it–online marketing is still marketing. All the general principles still apply. And with Panda, Penguin, and any future cuddly updates, online marketers are being forced to get back to basics.
That being said, the Internet is a relatively new medium for marketers. With social networks popping up left and right, the people, the customers, are out there. We’re no longer marketing to “Internet users.” We’re marketing to people with faces, with online profiles full of information.
With those customers at our finger tips, it puts marketers in a unique position. They have the ability to push products (*cough* spamming *cough*) but they also have the ability to study their customers and develop ways to pull them in.
Websites and blogs are pull strategies. By fine-tuning them with on-site search engine optimization tactics, we’re improving that pull strategy. Your website and your blog are your brand and you need to build that. Even your company’s social media profiles, which may seem like push strategies on the surface, can in fact be pull strategies. If used properly, they build brand awareness.
That brings me to content marketing, currently the industry’s biggest buzzword. Companies are now their own publishers. They create what they believe to be useful content for their customers and publish it on the web. However, with customers so close to us on social media networks, it’s easy to push when we mean to be pulling–just think of all those “social profiles” who simply pump out articles and blogs without any real commentary.
In the end, you’re likely to see more long-term success through pull marketing online. Of course, like I said before, though, some push is needed to help you get off the ground. For example, an e-mail campaign, which can be effective if done correctly and sparingly, is a push strategy that I encourage you to employ. You can also push certain offers through your social media profiles as long as that’s not all you’re using it for.
Marketing certainly isn’t anything new. The Internet and how it’s used today is though. That means we need to adapt our traditional strategies for the web while maintaining a healthy balance between pushing and pulling.
MOUNT LAUREL, NJ — (July 24, 2012) – The egregious developments that have been unfolding in the Penn State scandal have all in society watching in great sympathy for the victims of the cases, but alongside these individuals and their struggle, is the fight for all those not responsible at the university that are now charged with rebuilding the school’s reputation as a quality institution. Kenneth Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax announced “there is a dynamic shift in the way a brand-reputation is more susceptible in the digital world”, and furthermore declares “crisis communications techniques have made major strides in becoming a digital format.”
This tragic Penn State case is another example in a long line that brings to light how brands, and their large affiliations, can be negatively impacted to a great degree by the actions of a small number. In this case, most throughout their entire community including alumni, affiliations, athletes, as well as current and future students were not involved but will be impacted by the University’s tarnished reputation.
“Now with the evolution of technology, instant communication, mobile, social media, and the 24-hour news cycle” states Wisnefski, “brands of universities, businesses, celebrities, and other entities are more vulnerable to lasting damage than ever before.”
With Penn State, those involved within the scandal made decisions that continue to have devastating effects on many people as well as the image of the university.
“One of the major problems that are evident by the University’s response is that current officials have not taken a fully transparent approach and have not been as proactive in their management of the institution’s image and reputation as they could be,” states Wisnefski.
As the amount of these cases continues to occur, Wisnefski sees a call to action for executives and marketers alike to pay greater attention to taking a more proactive brand management approach starting from the top. They must realize that there is a message in all decisions and actions taken, and a pre-emptive brand strategy forces executives to make the right decisions based on ethics first and the message that their action or inaction will send as a result.
“Those in the public eye must have this realistic understanding, that is, the best way to conduct your business and control image. But when crises do happen, there needs to be reputation control through open communications and a proactive approach,” states Wisnefski.
As Wisnefski declares crisis communications plans are making a shift from traditional response techniques to a digital format, social media plays the more significant role in modern-day crisis communications strategies. A recent press release by Gartner, Inc., states that by 2015, 75% of organizations with business continuity management (BCM) programs will include social media services in their crisis communications plans.
Facebook declared during the IPO that over 20 billion minutes are spent on the social media profile each day by their 900+ million user base.
“The difference we are seeing with Penn State University is they are not engaging their community of over 270,000 Facebook followers and 44,000 Twitter followers in their response techniques,” states Wisnefski. “They seem to be operating under an older crisis communications model that does not incorporate the use of social media and other digital components.”
However, Wisnefski also states that it is the careful planning and preventative measures that need to be in place in order to hedge against such damaging blows to a brand’s reputation.
“Furthermore, we have seen the majority of branding professionals not plan effectively and choose not to add a social media component to the crisis communications plans until such an unfortunate event takes place, and it is too late,” concludes Wisnefski.
It is in the planning states that branding professionals and marketers need to incorporate social media into their plans, as the landscape moves from a traditional to digital format.