MMPR FOCUS: THE BIGGEST SOCIAL MEDIA TREND FORECAST FOR 2016…

This year, we saw a recognisable boom in the social media industry. More than 1 billion people are now using Facebook, and more than 80% of small businesses use social media for their branding and marketing efforts. Among the biggest global brands, almost 99% have a social media presence. Truly, social media has changed the way marketing and advertising works.

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While 2015 has been a great year for social media, 2016 is predicted to be even better and here are some predictions on social media trends for the new year.

1. More e-commerce features will be available.

The “buy” button may possibly become a distinctive feature in some social media platforms. Facebook ads already allow click-through directly to merchant websites, and it’s not surprising if other networks allow this kind of feature. We may also expect a shopping cart in one of these big social networks soon.

2. Interactions with audiovisual media will increase. 

More than 50% of users say that videos and images are more engaging as compared to simple text posts. Even on micro blogging platforms like Twitter, posts with images get more engagement despite the short captions. This only shows that people are more likely to respond to visual stimulus. Podcasting and audio content may also become a powerful new medium for advertising.

3. Advertising will become more prominent.

More and more companies are using social media ads in addition to Google ads to promote their products. It’s safe to say that in the next few years, our News feed will be dominated by ads and businesses will spend more money on them. It’s also expected that social media platforms will allow more advertising functions, including automated ads and pop-ups.

4. Safety and security will be an emphasis. 

Because of the rising social media trend, more users have become victims of phishing and other cyber crimes. Such concerns call for better security in divulging personal information online. In the coming years, social media platforms will probably have better security features which will prevent identity theft, cyber stalking, and phishing.

5. More platforms will rise…and probably fall or get eaten by the Big Three.

The big three of social media—Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter—are the most prominent platforms for businesses. Therefore, they have the biggest money in circulation. Smaller platforms will most likely appear, and they may either become slightly popular enough to stay in the game or get acquired by a bigger business. Many companies have been acquired by the Big Three in the past, with Instagram as one of the most notable mentions. The company was launched in 2010 and acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. WhatsApp, an instant messaging platform, was also acquired by Facebook for less than $200,000,000 in 2014. Social media has opened up new possibilities to online users. Company websites and shopping sites still have dominance when it comes to e-commerce, but social media is steadily rising up to the game. Sooner or later, we may find a completely new method of online advertising, but for now, social media is the ultimate trend and it isn’t going anywhere.

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MMPR FOCUS: PRÉSENCE SOCIAL MEDIA: QUEL EST VOTRE PROFIL?

Les gens parlent-ils de votre entreprise, sujets, produits ou services sur les médias sociaux, ou sont-ils indifférents? Votre marque est-elle « likeable » ou au moins suscite-t-elle l’intérêt ? Quelle est votre perception de votre présence sociale ?

Petit jeu de l’été: identifiez votre profil en 1 minute de vidéo, et découvrez le principal objectif à avoir à l’esprit avant de démarrer une veille des médias sociaux.

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MMPR FOCUS: SEVEN STEPS IN CREATING A WINNING SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY.

Social media was often seen as the wild child of the marketing department—the place where interns started their careers and brands could say random things with little to no repercussions. But times have changed, and the industry has matured.

Yes, social media is still a wonderful place for brands to have a little fun, but it also has a real and measurable impact on a business’ bottom line. Thus, social media can no longer live in a silo; it must be work in tandem with the rest of your business strategy.

To ensure that your social media marketing campaigns contribute to your brand’s greater business objectives, Sprout Social have put together a 7-step guide to coach you through the process. They have also incorporated a checklist you can use to make sure you’ve done it all right.

Step 1: Ensure Social Goals Solve Challenges

Goal setting is a staple of all marketing and business strategies. Social media is no exception. Of course, with a range of social capabilities, it can be difficult to determine exactly what your objectives should be. For guidance, look to the challenges before you.

  • Has website traffic dipped?
  • Is customer loyalty low?
  • Do you need to do a better job of building a positive brand reputation?
  • Do you just need to make people aware that your product exists?

A smart social media marketing campaign can answer each of these questions. Prove your team’s worth by tackling them head on. To get you started, we’ve pulled together a few common business obstacles and social objectives that can help brands overcome them.

Challenge: Low Website Traffic

The world is online. A brand’s website, therefore, is one of its most important marketing tools. Low website traffic can mean fewer customers and lower profits.

To combat this challenge, your social team should focus its goals on creating links directly to the website (whether they’re from your own social posts or influencers’). Link to useful content, subpages and company images to position your website and your brand as a resource rather than just another cog in the corporate wheel. This traffic should increase leads and, in the long run, revenues.

Challenge: Decreasing Customer Retention

According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, it costs 4 to 10 times more to acquire a customer than to retain one. To keep your customers around, use social as a tool to support, communicate and engage. A good social relationship with your customers should translate into a better perception and offline relationship with your brand. By developing a strong social bond, customers will be more likely to stick with your brand time and time again.

Challenge: Poor Customer Service

People turn to social to engage with businesses. Therefore, it is important for your brand to be ready to help customers on any channel they can contact you through. Arm your social media team with the materials, education and authority to respond to customer questions and issues. When you do so, you’ll be equipped to respond to your customers in a timely and accurate way, regardless of how they reach out to you.

Challenge: Weak Brand Awareness

Social allows you to reach a broad audience. But honing and perfecting that message takes brain power and time. To create authentic and lasting brand awareness, avoid a slew of promotional messages; instead, focus on creating meaningful content and a strong brand personality through your social channels. Determine relevant hashtags and industry influencers you can engage with, and tap into those resources to extend your brand’s overall awareness.

Step 2: Extend Efforts Throughout Your OrganiSation

Social has long lived within the marketing department, but that doesn’t mean it can’t (and shouldn’t) have a hand in nearly every business function, from human resources to research and development. To create a fully integrated social media marketing campaign, you’ll need to involve and integrate multiple departments, especially if your goals have a direct impact on them. Work with all your teams to determine how you can best support their goals and what key performance indicators are important to them (we’ve outlined some ideas on both below).

Sales

Social selling is a term that has grown in popularity since the rise of social marketing. By searching for sales opportunities and then engaging in a helpful and authentic manner, social media can be a great way to prime the sales funnel and find new leads.

Customer Service

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important channels through which companies interact with their current customers. Social is an easy and very public way for customers to air their grievances with your brand. If you aren’t responding, it can hurt your reputation and customer relationship.

Human Resources

While the HR team probably spends a good amount of its time on social media looking through the profiles of applicants, it can also use social as a way to increase overall application numbers. Showcase job postings on social media and encourage your employees to share them to their networks as well. Beyond just job postings, social is a useful tool in showcasing your company culture to the world. Highlight some behind-the-scenes images of what it is like to work for your company so you can improve the perception of your brand among candidates.

Research and Development

Your brand’s social audience represents a group that is highly engaged, invested and interested in your product or service. Why not leverage that to serve as an online focus group for your company? Asking for and listening to customer feedback on social media is a nimble and easy way to get instant feedback. Additionally, social media can help expose gaps in a product or service.

Marketing

The marketing department, specifically advertising and PR, traditionally has a strong role in the social media strategy. But there are always new ways to ensure people are aware of and excited about your brand through social. Whether you’re debuting a product, ad campaign or initiative, ensure that social has a strong hand in spreading the word.

Step 3: Focus on Networks That Add Value

Just because a network has billions of users doesn’t mean it will have a direct contribution to your brand’s objectives. Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, focus your efforts on networks that hold the key to your target audience and objectives.

Each network has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each social media marketer should carefully pick and choose which networks they want to take advantage of. Here are some of the most popular networks as well as what they’re best at.

Facebook

With an audience of 1.23 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers an opportunity to reach a broad range of customers and potential customers. The chart below breaks down Facebook’s demographic representation—your target audience is most likely represented in some way.

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But how can Facebook contribute to your overall goals? Because Facebook’s News Feed is a very visible place for social posts, it’s one of the best places for you to distribute your content in order to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic and distinguish yourself as a thought leader. This strategy is even more effective when you take advantage of Facebook’s targeting capabilities that allow you to tailor your messages to users with certain interests.

Twitter

Where Facebook has the volume of users, Twitter has the volume of messages. In fact, there are over 500 million Tweets sent everyday. With all those social messages, there is a great chance that someone is either mentioning your company or starting a conversation that you would be interested in joining.

That’s why Twitter is best to use as a customer service and business development channel. Monitor the network for inbound messages from dissatisfied customers, and quickly turn them into happy interactions. At the same time, look for prospective customers.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a robust network of over 332 million users, most of whom frequent the site with a “working” mindset. The advantage with this is that LinkedIn is an amazing network for B2B social media marketers. Whereas sites like Twitter and Facebook catch users more or less on their personal time, LinkedIn gives you access to customers when they’re at their professional best. Use this to build relationships with future customers.

Google+

One of the great things about Google+ is that if you have a strong presence on the site and someone searches for your company through Google, a snippet of your profile will appear on the results page.

Another great feature of Google+ is the ability to hyper-target your potential customers by Communities. Communities are groups of people who get together to discuss specific topics, so if you can find one that your customers are likely to be in, you can post content there that might interest them.

Step 4: Create Engaging Content

Once you’ve involved the right stakeholders, department and networks, it’s time to start building engaging content for your social channels. This content—whether a video, tip sheet or simple Tweet—should all ladder up into your business objectives. Below are just a few examples of good content for social and how to use that to support your goals.

Videos

  • How-to videos can be a proactive approach to social customer care—answer your customers’ questions before they’re asked.
  • Behind-the-scenes videos give your audience a sense of your company culture and brand personality.

Guides

  • Position your organisation as a thought leader and elevate your brand by developing engaging content that speaks to your customers.
  • Guides should cater to your target audience, ensuring you’re actually adding value.

Infographics

  • Internal or external data can be turned into a beautiful, insightful infographic.
  • When done right, infographics can be some of the most socially shared pieces of content, so make them engaging and resourceful.

Get ahead of the game by planning your content in advance, using a social media editorial calendar.

Step 5: Identify Business Opportunities Through Social

With millions of messages being sent across social channels every day, there is no doubt conversation happening around your brand. Social media monitoring, therefore, should be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. Below are some ways you can monitor social media to identify larger business opportunities for your brand.

Brand Mentions

People who are mentioning your brand on social are some of the highest quality leads you can drive. They’ve already proved they know your product/service and have an interest in reaching out to you. Engage with them, foster that relationship and potentially create a brand advocate. If the mention was less than positive, use the opportunity to showcase your stellar social customer care and prove that you are listening.

Industry Terms

Think of some of the words you use when discussing your brand, and look out for them on social. By monitoring these terms, you can identify relevant hashtags you should be using, conversations you should be having and influencers with whom you should be engaging.

Competitor Info

Keep a pulse on the competition. Social media can give you insights into your competitors’ marketing plans and help you identify gaps in your product or service.

Step 6: Engage Instead of Ignore

We can’t say it enough: Whether someone is commenting on a post you’ve made, writing on your wall or mentioning you on Twitter, it’s important to always stay engaged. Shockingly, the social study shows that 5 in 6 messages on social requiring response are not answered by brands. If customers are consistently ignored, they’ll eventually ditch your brand all together and look for an alternative.

Be sure to respond to customers who have left negative feedback about your brand as well. Too many companies have lost favour with their fans by trying to delete the message and sweep it under the rug.

Step 7: Track, Improve and Market Your Efforts

You won’t be able to really begin analysing and improving your efforts until you’ve successfully got steps 1-6 operational. This final step is actually a step back, letting you figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Use a Tool to Track Success

Sprout Social was created with social media marketing in mind. Sprout offers a full suite of social media analytics, which help you pinpoint exactly which of your messages perform best. You also can use tools like Google Analytics, which integrates with Sprout, to see which of your posts are driving traffic, conversions and overall revenue.

Build on Success

Once you have a good understanding of which content is driving the most engagement, site visits and conversions, you can use that knowledge to increase your success. Write content and social media posts that are similar to the ones that have worked in the past. This is an ongoing process that will help you hone your unique social voice.

Share Your Success

The last step is to let the company know about the successes you’re finding—especially those who have a stake in the strategy. This allows you to prove the worth of social media and showcase its broader implications across your entire enterprise.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to show off how hard you’ve been working. Need help? Use the checklist below to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Social Media Marketing Checklist

To conclude, here is a Social Sprout 7-step social media marketing checklist which is a great way to help readers create and audite their own strategies.

social media marketing strategy checklist

Credit: Sprout Social (edited by us)

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MMPR FOCUS: HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM STRATEGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS…

From the outside looking in, Instagram appears to be selfies and photos of food but this visual platform has turned into a powerhouse as brands as businesses switch from the Facebook platform due to the fall of organic reach. If you’re unsure how you can get value from Instagram, read on for some useful Instagram strategy tips to help your business reach more potential clients.

Here are the main reasons you should create an Instagram strategy:

  • Build brand awareness. Letting people into your private world or seeing behind the scenes at your hot startup builds trust.
  • Stop selling. Social media isn’t about selling it’s about building a network and yes, you will share your products but it’s not a hard sell with every post.
  • Create a fan base by creating a consistent presence.
  • Join mobile nation! Everyone and their grandma has a smartphone – join the millions of people on Instagram and connect with a new social community.

Create a campaign to engage your fans

One agency boosted its income by 60% by creating an Instagram campaign. “The effort, dubbed #InstaRunway garnered 8,000 photos and 5 million Instagram likes, making it easy to see why MTV, USA Today and LAN Airlines also entrust Movement with their social media projects. “We have developed processes and software specific to social media,” said co-founder Jason Mitchell. “[And] we believe very strongly that our creative sets us apart.”

When you create a campaign, you’re inviting people to join your hashtag and share an experience on Instagram with others. The #InstaRunway hashtag currently has over 9,280 Instagram posts.

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Grow your community

Using the hashtag that you’ve created follow the Instagrammers who post great content. Commenting and liking the posts of your community shows people that you care and are interested in being a valuable part of the Instagram community as a whole.

Create a hashtag strategy

Buildout groups of hashtags for different types of posts that you’ll post on Instagram. Being organized will help you use hashtags consistently and bring more people to your posts on Instagram.

Crazy but true, eleven is the sweet spot for getting the most interaction per post on Instagram. There’s two ways to post hashtags: one in the original post or in the comments. Experiment and see what works best for your business.

MaximiSe your time with Iconosquare

If you’re like me and don’t like to manage all your business from your smartphone or if you just want additional information, Inconosquare is a great way to maximise your time and activities on Instagram. Schedule time and focus on these tasks:

  1. Follow your new followers
  2. Like and comment on a few of their posts
  3. Unfollow people who’ve unfollowed you
  4. Respond to comments with emoji

Iconosquare – Manage your Instagram account

Host a contest

Running a contest can grow your following on Instagram. You can create a contest in Iconosquare with the official rules and steps to follow to participate in the contest. A content is a fun way to build your following as people enter your contest and post on their own profile.

A few examples of Instagram contests:

Instagrammers love special offers!

41% follow or would follow a brand to benefit from special offers. Share special offers to your Instagram page to give people a reason to follow you.

Provide value with your posts

The top 3 reasons why users follow brands on Instagram:

  • 62% because they love the brand,
  • 54% to discover new things
  • 48% because they find content interesting or funny

Brand your content

Make sure you add your logo and use your brand colors on each Instagram post. It can be a small and tasteful but you want people to recognize that this is your post.

Post at the best times

Using the Takeoff app, you can find the best times to post based on your followers and past activity. The Takeoff app is free and available for iOS and Android. It’s not currently set up to post automatically but you can enter your posts and Takeoff will remind you when to post. You’ll receive a notification at the scheduled time to post the photo on your Instagram.

They cannot auto-post since Instagram does not allow posting from third party apps – but they’ll add this feature when Instagram approves it.

Takeoff also suggests hashtags based on your caption text.

takeoff app

We hope these strategies give you some ideas for your business on Instagram. Create a solid plan for your Instagram account and be consistent with your posting using hashtags. Done correctly Instagram can provide great engagement and interaction with your brand. What are you waiting for? Get working on those Instagram posts!

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THE ROYAL PRINCESS IS BORN AND BRANDS RESPOND TO THE NEWS ONLINE…

If you have been out of planet Earth for a few days or hours then you wouldn’t know that Catherine [Kate] and William known officially as the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge have welcomed into their family a new gift in the form of a little princess born this morning at the usual St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, West London.

Social media as expected has gone awash with messages from fashion magazines, news outlets – nationally and internationally as well as individual users and brands. As we write, the hashtag #RoyalBaby is the number 1 trending hashtag on Twitter with 660,000 tweets already posted.

Our focus on this post is to bring to you the brands who have used this one off opportunity to associate with the news thus joining the trend and getting visibility for their brand. Here are a few we picked…

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And here are the first pics of the Princess as her parents leave the hospital…but one question remains, what will she be called? Let’s stay tuned!

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UPDATE: The baby has finally been named as Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.

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