Convert Big Data into Insight to make really useful Marketing Decisions

3m to read / 

Companies today use Big Data for their digital marketing efforts. But unless any data is analysed and converted to useful marketing and business insights, it remains as a large volume of meaningless numbers.

Most every one in marketing and advertising has seen the Tesco South Korea virtual stores in subway stations case study. Most translate the case study as an example of using technology in a new way. What they don't see is how Tesco used 'big data' coming out of that exercise to gather valuable information about their customers – their shopping habits, their preferred products, their buying frequencies, typical shopping basket content, order histories and more.

Data converted to Insight

Tesco's subway virtual stores were electronic billboards which mimicked stocked supermarket shelves packed with products – each with an unique barcode. Customers who were on the platform used a phone based application to scan the codes and add products to their online basket. They could choose a delivery time and have their shopping delivered to their doorstep – often inside of an hour. It was a great boon for the hyper busy South Korean urban consumer. It was a greater boon for Tesco in terms of data. Big data. Converted to useful insight – a distinct business advantage.

Most businesses today are interested in big data. There are many case studies of successful use of so called big data, but not all of them are winners outright. Data and information is a deep dive game, and one needs patience to see the fruits of labor. A survey of more than 100 executives conducted by Insead reports that a majority of businesses are still in the planning phases of using big data or have not even started to consider the potential, with less than a third already executing some big data projects.

Big data to support business decisions

Big data is not necessarily just about digital and marketing strategies. Most businesses are looking at data for developing true cost advantages. There is a real value to this innovation of using deep data converted to insight – because it supports sharp business decisions – ones that can have remarkable effects on productivity, product cycles, marketing calendars and consumer information driven business strategies. Marketing and sales are the early adopters in the game, but many other departments are beginning to see the potential. Businesses that are leveraging big data do understand their customers better and provide them with better tailored products or services in real time across multiple channels are the ones who are already seeing huge returns.

Big data is not just useful for customer oriented information. In the long haul it is helping business leaders decide on new markets, new lines, new products. 

Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing

According to a recent study of executives in Asia-Pacific by the Economist Intelligence Unit, more than 40 per cent are not even sure their companies have any big data strategy, and only 6 per cent consider their companies as well advanced in adoption. However, well over 70 per cent do believe in the potential of big data to improve business performance.

The South China Morning Post in an article on big data says "The opportunities are endless. But the reality is that most companies have not even started their journey into the data world and executives are still not clear what the potential of big data for their organisation is. What are the key challenges and where to start from?

Big data needs open thinking

Big data often requires breaking through organizational silos and challenging owners of information. As always, effective adoption of new technologies is also about effective organizational change. Technical challenges are of course not absent: with data stored in legacy systems in non-standardised ways, with endless data quality issues, any data analytics project suffers from the barrier to first create high-quality, complete data before using it at all.

Data today is telling us about customer or target audience intent more than anything else
Intent is the new black in digital marketing. In-the-moment marketing is what's hot.

Finally, but not least, given the speed with which big data and analytics are adopted by organisations and the new necessary data science skills that are different from traditional information technology ones, a key bottleneck becomes the availability of talent for such initiatives. When it comes to analytics, productive action is mainly a product of speed. Focusing on quick decisions and execution, which circumvent long discussions, leads to insights the front line can actually use.

Data made simple: What is first, second and third party data?

The labour market of data scientists is nascent, making experienced experts highly sought out - and highly unavailable.

As always, there is no silver bullet for successful adoption of big data, but early evidence indicates that experimenting and then maturing the organizational capabilities in analytics has great benefits not only to improve business decisions, but also develop new businesses and sources of revenues." Having an expert to help with the process of insights development is key sometimes...

Why every brand and every agency needs a Digital Insights Manager

Companies are beginning to monetize big data – and that's where this boom is headed. Most leaders want to see how they can get big ROI out of big data. Wee hope that this does not follow a boom-bust pattern like the early internet did. Because, this time it's way beyond just Silicon Valley. The big data advantage is out there for us all.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategy. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

Twitter just launched Dashboard – a dedicated app to help manage business accounts

2m to read / 

Twitter has just launched an app  that will help businesses manage both communication and engagement with their followers. Called Twitter Dashboard, it’s available in beta for those in the U.S. on both iOS and as a desktop app.

Twitter, in their blog post said that businesses have a difficult time creating “authentic” connections due to lack of time and resources. That's why they developed and launched yesterday Twitter Dashboard. “It gives business owners a clear picture about what’s being said about their businesses, lets them schedule tweets, and offers insights about their tweet performance.”

Twitter Dashboard will enable companies to create their own feed, and a clear picture of what’s being said about their businesses, lets them schedule Tweets, and offers insights about their Tweet performance.

Easily engage with your audience

You can create a custom feed to find out what’s being said about your business.  Use your custom feed to get right to the Tweets you want to see first and better engage with your community. For example, if you work at a cafe, you may see a Tweet from a customer who has a question about your hours. Or, if you’re a boutique owner, you might see a Tweet from a potential customer talking about one of your products. The ability to see these Tweets at a glance offers endless opportunities for you to connect with customers and potential customers with responses that add value.

Now you can schedule tweets

Now you can schedule Tweets to reach your audience when they’re online and you’re busy doing other things. If you want to edit your scheduled Tweets while you’re on the go, you can use the iOS Dashboard app to update your Tweet queue, according to Twitter.

Get ideas and inspiration from Twitter directly

Twitter says Dashboard will inspire and give ideas. "Kickstart your creative process with Tweet tips geared just for businesses. They can help you start conversations and engage your audience in those moments when you’re not sure what to Tweet. For example, if you work at a restaurant, a tip like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members,” might remind you to share some recent recognition your chef received. Or, if you’re an interior designer, seeing, “Share the love. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” might prompt you to Retweet a customer’s excited reaction to one of your recent projects.

5 Cool Ways to use Twitter for Real Time Marketing

Also remember that you can use tools like TweetReach to monitor how our brand is doing...

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategy. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

10 Essential Steps to Influencer Marketing Success for your Brand

5m to read / 

As a marketer, you need to learn how to play the Influencer leverage game to amplify your brand's social media efforts.

Influencer marketing harnesses the influence or social clout of key individuals to meet specific marketing goals by building mutually beneficial relationships. It's reaching out to those who have voice that’s heard and followed. It’s preaching to the preachers.

An Influencer is an individual who has the ability to influence or change behavior or impact purchase decisions of those who follow him or her in a social context. These influencers have usually earned and built an engaged audience over time by producing content on specific topics that have expertise on.

Certain verticals in marketing have taken to influencer marketing like ducks to water. Around 60 per cent of fashion and beauty brands have some sort of influencer strategy in place. Getting influencer marketing isn’t easy. If your brand is looking to influence that really tight slice of your audience — and who will then cast a magic spell on the rest of your target group — you need to have a pretty good strategy in place.

Here are ten steps to make Influencer Marketing work for your brand...

1. Identify your overall audience first

The first step is to identify your overall target audience. What influences them? What impacts how they are decide, evaulate and buy? What solutions are they looking for? Where do they turn to for advice?
Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing

You'll need to continuously listen to what your audience is asking for, sharing, talking about.
The importance of listening in social media, and how to get it right

2. Now find the right influencers

Identifying the right influencers is first up the biggest challenge today. And there’s no magic list somewhere. You can’t wiki them, there’s no easy find on Google search, and while there are some tools that identify them on Twitter and Instagram, one still needs some hands-on hard work to be able to spot the right influencers. Who are the people who produce, share and amplify content that can impact awareness to purchase decisions that affect your product.

3. Keep an eye out for opportunities with influencers

Once you have a list of influencers that you want to enlist to help your efforts, monitor their content. What are they talking about and in what context? What and how do they share? What social platforms are they most influential on? What are their audiences asking for? How are they interacting with their audiences? This is how you spot the opportunity to position your brand or product in the right context with the right influencer.

4. Start building relationship with influencers

Once you know that a particular influencer's content is relevant to your product, take action. Get to know them, build a sense of trust leading to mutual benefit. This is where you can propose and develop initiatives that you can work on together.

5. Understand and build their audience 

An influencer has worked hard over time to build an audience. You need to help them provide value for their audience. Remember, it's nit about just you this time. In the competitive market, influencers need to be convinced and won over with products, ideas and strategies that are attractive to them. Influencers are brands themselves, and today, they are savvy enough to recognise what works with ‘their’ audiences, what doesn’t, what makes them look credible and interesting, rather than just coming across as a mouthpiece.

6. Create special content and experiences

They will want to look good when they talk about you. You need to create unique experiences for them around your brand or product that resonates with them, their audiences, and that they are proud to share and amplify. Create content for them that fits their style, or let them do the talking...

7. Have them develop influencers and UGC

This is simple amplification. You can ask your trusted influencers to build a network. While they usually are very competitive, they themselves have influential social following which can help expand your network. Remind them to ask for user generated content as well. Coming from high profile influencers this will certainly get you better results and a load of free content.

8. Let the influencer do the talking

This changes the paradigm quite a bit — it is after all a shift, a hand over of power to the influencer. Brands need to pander to this shift, and form meaningful on-going relationships with their influencers. It's ok to take a back seat this time.

9. Compensate the Influencers

Influencers, just like any other channel, need to be compensated. You want your influencer to feel rewarded, acknowledged, loved, important, and respected – including by your brand and your brand's audiences as well. Some ways to compensate the influencers you work with may include:

Product discount or giveaway. Offering a discount on your service or giving them a free product from your brand will really incentivize an influencer to keep talking about you. Let them sneak preview a product they're an expert on, let them keep it.

Financial.  This is increasingly becoming common, and difficult to manage at the same time. Buying content endorsement isn't always ethical or transparent, unless of course your influencer is really passionate about tour product or service. 

Social reward. Sharing a post they write about you on your social media outlets will get more traffic to their site and make them feel important. Also, something as simple as a post that says “Thank you for mentioning our camera, coming from an expert like you, it means a lot” (or something to that effect) works well.

Commission for leads and sales. Influencers today often ask for commissions based on leads and sales arriving directly from their content (it is trackable with simple codes).

10. Measure results, build on or re-strategize

Influencer marketing has the potential to give you a solid ROI. You need to keep tract of the initiatives that work, the one's that don't and be able to work together to further build on them or re-work them as needed. Influencer marketing is a long term game.

Read about how influencers are the new power force in marketing these days: The sheer power influencers get to wield these days.

Consumers today are looking for authenticity of influencer opinion. The millennial generation in particular would believe a trusted word of mouse rather than a direct brand voice.

Influencer marketing is a leverage game. For every influencer that you can reach out to and influence, their opinion, their word will influence thousands of others in your target audience in a way that the audience is willing to relate to and resonate with.

Of course, it does not work in silo, you have to get your social media and content strategies right for it to work in tandem.

Get this right, and it’s really worth every post, every unboxing video, every 140-character tweet.

And that's the basics. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

6 Ways for Brands to Use Snapchat: The Fastest Growing Social Platform

4m to read / 

With 200 million active users, and over 9000 snaps shares every second, Snapchat is taking social media by storm. As a brand, specially, to connect to younger audiences, you really need to get on Snapchat and use it connect and engage your audiences.

McDonald's and KFC were quick to get on board with branded filters. Pepsi also got in on the act early, creating a ‘Chelfie’ filter, transforming snappers into cheeky cherry faced cherubs. These days, 'Geofilters' are upping the content ante. Only available for Snapchat users within a set radius and for a set amount of time, they can be specifically targeted and run in parallel with wider PR campaigns.

As well as filters, brands are also creating stories of popular events, often adding branded content between snaps. Snapchat makes brand 'advertising' more integrated and natural: rather than a ‘hard sell’ – and Snapchat audiences resonate to that.

Snapchatters tend to ignore the "branded experience" for the most part. Don't re-purpose your existing social content for Snapchat. Your content should be fresh, created for Snapchat and keeping the user in mind. Audience and Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing.

Here are six ways to use the power of Snapchat for your marketing:

1. Offers and Promotions

Offers and Promotions work really well on Snapchat. Brands send snaps of offers: the audience can take a screen shot, and use them either in store or online. It's easy to measure the success of a campaign by how many people used the snap or the code.

The instant here and now nature of Snapchat incentivises your target audience to shop right away. A call-to-action like “20% off today only!” or “Screenshot this snap and present it at the register for $2 off every sandwich.”  works well. These enticing offers encourage your customers to shop while making them feel like they have a unique advantage and that they're special.

2. Teasers

You can create a sense of expectation by sending teasers. Today's younger audiences love content they haven't seen, or when you create anticipation of what's to come. It's the reveal factor that engages them. Teasers on Snapchat create a buzz around new products and new ideas, and can be a great way to get customers engaged before a launch. Brands can also do offer teasers, revealing , say, a code or discount at the end of the story.

3. Story telling

Today, content marketing on social is all about brand story telling.

By using ‘My Story’ brands can add snaps or videos that are visible to users for 24 hours. This format gives you the opportunity to share a creative and engaging message. Brands often create a succession of videos (each 10 seconds long), and create a ‘multi-story telling’ effect. This is a great way to get your brand’s message across in a more unique and interesting way.

4. Fast, immediate and memorable

Snapchat is all about the fast and the immediate. The ability to see something just once, and for a short period of time, clearly adds to the fun of Snapchat.  Since your snaps can only be 10 seconds long, which is a considerably short window to capture the customers’ attention and effectively deliver your message, you really need to sit down and think about what exactly it is you want to push in front of them. This is why it's important that your content adds value and is useful and memorable.

Read about: Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful

5. Interactive and engaging

Snapchat is a great way to have your audience interact with your brand product. This is a great way to keep your Snapchat audience engaged. Try regular competitions, contests, unique to Snapchat product sneak peaks, coupons. Do this on a specifically timed basis "Fun Fridays" could mean, that's the day you give away clues to a freebie.

Sending “Snaps” around special promotions or events should help drive traction, especially if you include an exclusive coupon or freebie. Or, get your audience to send in snaps of them doing various things with your product. That's great user generated content. These can also be reused as other pieces of social content on other platforms as well.

6. Filters

Snapchat ‘filters’ or ‘lenses’ are stickers, frames, images and movement sensitive animations that can be layered over your images or videos. Snapchat has added cool filters to make images more fun. Location filters, for example, change depending on where you were, with each place having it’s own fun, and contextually relevant filter. You can be creative with location specific campaigns and micro-target audiences – making content more relevant to them.
As marketing on Snapchat is still fairly new, huge opportunities exist for companies that decide to take the leap now. Not only will you be able flex your creative muscles, but your campaign may also prompt media coverage, expanding reach and visibility for your brand.

If your marketing efforts isn't using Snapchat yet, read:
Power tips on how to get on Snapchat for brands

Read also on audience building, which is key to Snapchat marketing:
4 ways to build a cool Snapchat audience for brands

Those are some points to keep in mind for your brand to successfully engage with the powerful audience group consisting of millennials and Gen Z folks. Remember they aren't just a powerful demographic. They're cool, savvy and hungry for content. Stay fresh. And that's the basics. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

Please share this with your friends and colleagues, and do add your comments below...

How VR and 360 degree video is changing advertising and content marketing

4m to read / 

Virtual Reality (VR) and 360 degree video has the power of changing how brands can better engage their audiences with advertising and content marketing. While VR and 360 degree video is in early stages of adoption by brands, the potential is immense.

Brands and content creators need to know that today's content hungry and tech savvy consumer is hugely interested in VR. Global search interest on Google grew by nearly 4X in the last year. And Google are doing a great job in empowering this new technology. Google has shipped millions of Google Cardboard viewers to help bring the VR experience to everyone. As have many other brands like Etihad Airlines and Volvo recently.

Google says that the "technology has the potential to change our daily lives—from how we communicate to how we spend our leisure time. It's early days, but it's already happening, and now is the time for brands and creators to understand what it all means." While Google Cardboard was an initial step, Google's new VR platform "Daydream will enable even more powerful, mobile, high-quality experiences with a headset that's comfortable at an accessible price."

What VR does

Google says that the "promise of VR is what the industry calls "presence"—the feeling that you're really somewhere else. VR cameras like Jump can capture the entire experience of a place—every corner, every angle. In the not-so-distant future, cameras like these will be capturing experiences all over the world. What does this mean for audiences? How about access to the best seats in the house at any event—floor seats at the NBA playoffs, a box at La Scala, front row at the BeyoncĂ© show?" Imagine how this empowers brands for their content marketing initiatives.

VR and 360 degree Video

Google already has made impact with 360 degree video. "Viewers can see video from every angle just by swiping or moving the phone or tablet around—with no headset required. Uploads of 360-degree videos continue to grow and have doubled over the past three months. Brands are forging the way, using 360-degree video to film big events or get creative with ads. BMW used this technology for an ad featuring a 360-degree car race. The "School of Rock" musicalcreated a 360-degree music video. AT&T simulated a car crash to drive home its phone safety message."

Virtual reality takes the 360-degree video experience a step further by adding a sense of depth. When viewed with a VR headset images become three-dimensional, which adds to the feeling of immersiveness. On top of that, spatial audio lets people listen to audio from all directions, just as in the real world. That's what drives interaction and therefore engagement.

For content creators, the potential of 360-degree video and VR is immense, but it'll require a shift in thinking. VR lets viewers be active participants; they can look wherever they want.  This makes VR and 360-degree video an incredibly powerful tool to create empathy. When a viewer feels like they are there, they have a greater sense of the situation. Messages become more impactful."

Google reminds us that on YouTube, creators are using the medium to create truly transportive experiences across sports, news, education, and fashion. The New York Times puts viewers in the shoes of displaced children around the world. Virtual field trips let teachers take students places a school bus can't. Fashionistas can get a front row seat at the latest runway shows from Jason Wu, Hugo Boss, and Dior.

Virtual reality is no longer a novelty. It has real applications for brands today. But is it worth pursuing? And will it make sense and add value to your target audience?

As in any aspect of digital marketing, Customer or Consumer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing with any video content you create. Google suggests brands examine the potential first in their post:

Four questions for brands interested in VR:

Here are some questions brands should consider before investing in VR technology according to Google:

Will VR give viewers an experience that they otherwise couldn't have? The subject matter should truly take advantage of the medium—transport people to a place, immerse them in a world, and compel them to explore. 

Could you give shoppers a better feel for your product? According to a study from Ericsson ConsumerLab, shopping was the top reason worldwide smartphone users were interested in VR, with "seeing items in real size and form when shopping online" cited by 64% of respondents. This doesn't just apply to retail brands. Cadillac is already using VR to create virtual dealerships

Will your recording environment be rich with things to see? If you're shooting in a simple white room with nothing on the walls, probably not. If you're at a sports event or a music festival, there's likely plenty to see. 

Will viewers want to continue watching beyond the initial "That's cool" moment? It can be a challenge to get viewers to stick around after a minute or so. Make sure you have a compelling hook that will keep them engaged.

Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful. No matter how cool your content is formatted – using 360 video or VR, if it does not provide value, it's just not going to work.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategies. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

More reading on 360 video and content

YouTube unleashes 360 degree Live streaming – takes on Facebook

Facebook launches 360 and Panoramic Photos in News Feed

6 Simple Tips to get your Email Marketing in Top Gear

3m to read / 

Email marketing has not lost its shine just yet. It is re-shaping itself, becoming more intelligent, getting mostly automated, and emerging as a nice little 'responsive' and 'creative' marketing tool for brands. Here are six sure shot ways of getting it to work for you.

1. Get your Subject Line to Open the Door

The subject line in an email that you send out is the most important part of the communication. It's the first thing that someone sees, and often it is the last thing, unless, of course you get subject line marketing done right.

First impressions count, and you better find ways to make that impression be attractive and effective enough for your email to be actually opened, to be read, and then clicked through to the desired action you want.

Keep your subject line short and make it effective. Every word counts, so use them wisely, spend time on this. Rule of thumb: around 50-60 characters, tops. Minimize to maximise the chances of the mail being opened.

Get to the point. Being honest, being precise is key. Remember to be clear on what the email is really about. State the offer. Define your goal for the mail out, and stick to achieving that goal.

Make the benefit absolutely clear in your subject line. How will the recipient actually benefit by opening and reading your mail? Why should they believe you? Use numbers, use value. "Increase your readership by 50% today" works better than "Better readership for blogs".

Read more about Subject Lines here: 10 ways to get your Subject Line work harder in email marketing

2. Stick to one message, one topic

Stick to what you promised in the Subject line. Deliver on that singular promise rather than cram in everything into one email. You'll confuse the recipient. Remember that email is actually a simple form of content marketing.

Content marketing, when done right, is about giving something away – for free – sharing something with your audience that is useful and valuable for them. That's how you create an experience that your target audience will enjoy, benefit from, and look forward for more. Make sure your email delivers value for your audience.

Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful

3. Segment your audience, avoid the generic blast

Few marketers segment their audiences when sending emails. Sending emails to the entire database asking them to buy in general is a mistake. Instead, a more effective strategy is segmenting by customer interests when they sign up for more information, or from what you know their interests are on your website, for example.

As in any aspect of digital marketing, Customer or Consumer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing with any emails you send out as part of your marketing effort. Find out, segment, and hyper target.

4. Follow up. Always.

There's no point of investing in lead generation if you don’t do anything with the information. If someone visits your website for the first time, you can’t always assume they will buy. Instead, it’s your job to follow up. You can do this with email automation such as cart abandonments, up-sell recommendations or customer surveys.

5. Use a responsive email format

With such a large percentage of mails today being received and opened on mobile, it was quite a surprise to notice that most brands that use email, less than 50% were sending out "responsive" mails or had a device compatibility focus. This will need to change. Increasingly, emails that are hard to read on a handheld device are not going to be read, or even in case of drip feed mails, be opened the next time.

Today's savvy consumer is most likely to open your email on mobile. It's a given that we need to go responsive asap. It's not an easy one step process, because one needs to create and develop simplified responsive templates. But once that's done, it's really about making it a habit. Usually, a good developer will develop dynamic modules that will deliver auto-adjust mails across all platforms – tablets inclusive.

6. Send emails when the lead is hot

Be prepared to send emails to your customers and audiences without sticking to a pattern. Your marketing (email) team needs to be agile. Customers and target audiences need to get that email when they are interested, not every month-end. It is so simple.
Intent is the new black in digital marketing. In-the-moment marketing is what's hot.

Email marketing is a powerful medium that can really boost your marketing efforts when used to its full potential. Monitor your email content, and follow the tips above. It doesn’t matter how good your products are if your customers unsubscribe.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategies. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

Here's how to Power up your Facebook engagement with Video

4m to read / 

You can really power up your brand's engagement on Facebook with the compelling power of video content.

Video is really gaining traction on Facebook. An executive at the company just predicted that's all Facebook will be in five years. Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's VP of European, Middle Eastern and African operations, said at a conference last week that in five years, Facebook "will be probably all video," Quartz reported. Mendelsohn added that video is "the best way to tell stories in this world" and "helps us to digest much more information."

Mashable tell us that "Facebook Live has exploded in popularity since it became open to the public this year. Numerous attention-grabbing videos have gone up on Facebook Live, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent conversation with astronauts on the International Space Station.

As GIFs, photos and moving images have become increasingly popular replacements for text reactions, Facebook has responded by allowing users to post videos as comments on the social network. "

Over 4 billion video views happen on Facebook everyday. Make the most of your video strategy with these best practices as suggested by Facebook...

Upload videos directly to Facebook

Facebook reminds us that by uploading videos to Facebook directly, you can take advantage of these two benefits:

• Your videos will play automatically in News Feed – Native videos start playing immediately as people scroll through their Feed. Videos initially play silently, but people can tap the video to play it with sound in full screen.

• Your videos will have view counts – Public videos from people and Pages will now show view counts to help people discover them.

Facebook direct upload left vs YouTube link on right

Create rich content. Make quality count.

Make sure you create great engaging video content for your audience. Make sure that the video content actually resonates.  As in any social media, Customer or Consumer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing with any content you create for your audience on Facebook. You can have the best video content, but is it relevant to your audience?
  • Focus on quality from the first frame – Since videos auto-play silently in Feed, you should lead with imagery that will catch a person’s eye from the very beginning.
  • Premiere exclusive video content – Post exclusive video content to your Page to reward them with something that they can’t get anywhere else,
  • Provide context – Set context by pulling out a key quote or moment from the video as the text component of your post. This will help set expectations for the experience ahead.

Get better engagement with a video Call to Action

Use a call-to-action to invite people to visit a destination such as a website where they will find more information, watch more, or purchase something. This makes it easy for people to connect more deeply with the stories and content they love and drives referrals back to you. Examples for the call-to-action include Learn More, Watch More, Shop Now, and Sign Up.

Use the power of Tagging other pages in your video posts

Tag the Pages of people that appear in your video or that you want to make aware of your video to drive up organic reach. These people's pages will automatically "re-distribute" your video.

Learn from Video Insights

For each video you post to your Page, you can view metrics like video views, unique video views, the average duration people viewed your video and audience retention. These metrics are designed to help you learn what’s resonating with people and tune the length and content for your video audience.
Fine tune your content based on this feedback. It's incredibly useful as you go forward.

Use Facebook's APIs 

You can use Facebook's API's to upload, set a call-to-action, and get insights for Facebook videos.

The APIs make it easy for you to upload videos, read videos, set video call to action, and get video insights.

Upload Specs

As you think about sharing video on Facebook, keep in mind these recommended upload specs as shared by Facebook:
  • We support almost all types of video files, but recommend using the MP4 format.
  • Resolution should be 1080p or under. To optimize the quality of your videos, upload HD video.
  • Although we support file sizes up to 2.3 GB, there may be longer upload times associated with larger files on slower Internet connections.
  • Videos must be less than 60 minutes long. The longer your video is, the larger its file size will be. This may affect the quality of the video and the time it takes to upload.
  • We also recommend Stereo AAC audio compression with 128kbps, or more, preferred.

Use Facebook Live for those special video posts

Live video is changing user consumption of news and entertainment and is further connecting TV and social media. More brands and news organizations are using live video to augment their digital reach.And, now Facebook Live is impacting the whole spectrum as a platform both for real-time storytelling and journalism. You cannot deny the awesome power of Live Video – if it's done right.

First of all, is your audience going to appreciate the Live video format? Will it add value and enhance their experience? What's the kind of live content that your target audience wants. What resolution to their need or problem will you provide with your live video? You need to plan your live 'broadcast' around that.

Read more on: 

How to use Facebook Live video like a pro. The essentials of getting it right.

People watch video on Facebook to connect with moments shared by their friends, catch up on news from the day, and much more. More than 65% of all views are happening on mobile devices as people turn to Facebook at different times and places throughout the day. Video is compelling on mobile, as well as desktop. And, video, specially when directly uploaded on to Facebook makes for winning content. Use the Power of video now.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategies. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

Read more on mobile: 5 Ways to Develop a Consumer Focused Mobile Marketing Strategy

5 Cool Ways to use Twitter for Real Time Marketing

3m to read / 

Twitter has really changed the way brands today are using the power of real time marketing to connect and engage their audiences. They are bringing new levels of creativity to the Twitter platform, and re-inventing the ways in which they reach out to their audiences.

1. Twitter really helps brands serve their customers

Brands are using Twitter's here and now abilities to connect with consumers in new and more direct ways than ever before. They are using techniques and a genuine, authentic tone of voice to serve their customers. Twitter empowers today's customer to challenge brands about their quality of service, timeliness, and how effective they are. Today's consumer is hugely involved and influential on Twitter, and brands are responding in quick, honest ways.

There are great examples of new age customer service via Twitter. Dutch airline @KLM and its #happytohelp campaign is a classic.  It's how brands have stepped beyond what one might expect from them and entertained and engaged customers through their interactions.

2. Twitter lets brands do Real Time Marketing

Twitter really helps brands with Real Time Marketing. There are numerous examples of how brands use Twitter with real time, here and now content. Remember Superbowl and Oreo sending its “Dunk in the dark” Tweet? We have seen brands tell stories in new ways whether it is @UbisoftUK asking fans to create their own adventure or @British_Airways with its ingenious #RaceThePlane that unfolded in real time.

Twitter allows for real time feedback. Marketing folks now have an immediate finger on the pulse of their audiences. This allows for real time decisions to change or improve their efforts. This is powerful.

Intent is the new black in digital marketing. In-the-moment marketing is what's hot.

3. Brands are using the speed of Twitter to be with it culturally

Twitter broadens the context for brands – providing unprecedented opportunities for brands to align with what's happening around them culturally. In our totally connected. here and now age, brands have used speed to be relevant when the moment needs them to be. It allows them to look at what their audiences want and to be there at that moment. Because today's consumers want solutions there and then (thanks to mobile), brands are able to respond with Twitter quickly and effectively.

Think about the pace that brands now react be it to moments that involve them or wider culture. Think of @Pepsi at the Super Bowl with its war room as a great example.

The in-the-news aspect of content, and content built around the news is a phenomenal side of Twitter. It allows connections and engagement in so many new ways that audiences can relate to.

Video has exploded exponentially on Twitter. And brands are finding clever ways of using the power of video. The arrival of live video has added a new dimension, which allows brands to engage their audeince with moments as they unfold.

Live moments and video, (@Doritos during this year’s Super Bowl or@Target and Gwen Stefani at the Grammys on Periscope) this that brings consumers closer, according to a blogpost from Twitter.

5. Brands using the power of Twitter #hashtags

Brands are really savvy today with data. They are discovering quickly what's happening around them, what their audiences and customers want. As in any social media, Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing with Twitter. Brands are either creating hashtags based on insights, or are riding ones that are trending and developing into icons.

Hashtags are hugely functional tools for brands. They express an idea, a mood, a movement or a call to action. The hashtag is iconic of online communication and have today have migrated onto billboards, print ads and almost half the TV ads in the Super Bowl. Yes, they are now on multiple platforms, but hashtags are synonymous with Twitter.

"We have seen great examples of this. Look to @Pampers_UK and #everybaby as it joined the birth of the royal baby conversation. Or Coca-Cola as it became the first brand to launch a custom emoji on Twitter and extend its #ShareaCoke marketing into digital conversations." says Twitter.

Today's most relevant social platforms are all about the here and now. Twitter offers brands a unique platform to engage people in direct, valuable, real-time conversations – and today that has become really relevant because Twitter's 'new position'. Twitter's mission on their website is: "To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers." How do you use that power? Follow the best and learn.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategies. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

Further reading on Twitter for Brands

Power up your Twitter content in these easy ways

Build a Winning Twitter Strategy for your Brand in 2016

3 quick ways to improve your Twitter performance

How brands can engage using The Internet of Things (IoT)

3m to read / 

Dozens of connected devices in our homes, and around us every day creates a huge opportunity for brands to connect with and engage consumers in whole new ways.

For brands in the B2C sector in particular, engagement will be core to employ the benefits of marketing via The Internet of Things (IoT). Digital marketing via connected devices is way ahead of the way brands have reached out via people's laptops and mobile. IoT is about connecting the various items we interact and engage with throughout the day and delivering solutions in the here and now, adding value, and providing to the customer's needs.

With IoT,  brands have a whole spectrum of new ways by which they can connect with and deliver value to the consumer, and to create a lifestyle around those interactions – not advertising products, but creating experiences that are meaningful. This is a whole new channel. A channel called utility.

Tens of billions of IoT sensors will appear, embedded in connected objects. A Forrester report suggests that marketers will need to develop experiences rather than managing products – a process to which mobile phones will be key. And it will be built around providing convenience.

The possibilities of IoT for brands

IoT will "enable marketers to listen to consumers and analyse their real behaviours, interact with consumers more frequently and in a more intimate way, as well as differentiating their customer experiences. They will also be able to build new offerings and business models."

The report adds "Even if IoT application are still experimental for B2C brands, marketers should prepare now for the next wave of brand innovation, powered by sensors and connectivity that will explode beyond mobile."

IoT is about providing Utility and Convenience

Think of utility, and think of consumer or customer intent. Is your brand ready to deliver, connect and engage with the audience based on their every day needs – and not just around your marketing goals?

If your fridge is talking to your mobile or your watch, shouldn't your brand message be there? If your mobile says you are out of milk, isn't it a great opportunity for a milk brand right there? The illustration below shows an example of combining SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile) with the Internet of Things.

As you prepare to take advantage of this new channel, remember that having a handle on what your audience wants is key. Social media is a great place where you can listen to what people need , what they want. The importance of listening in social media, and how to get it right.  

Start with gathering insights. As in any form of digital marketing, sifting through data to know more about your audience is critical. Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing

Brands are already engaging using IoT

Ovens (Miele oven above uses Microsoft technology) can deliver great experiences around recipes. They can deliver the convenience or utility of automated shopping lists.

Retail outlets like Amazon are already utilizing the power behind IoT marketing today. Amazon has recently launched an entire line of products and services that make their services accessible throughout your home. Amazon's buttons that place orders for common household products with a single press and actively-listening devices that respond to voice commands.

In today's connected world, IOT cannot do the job as a single channel. It all works together, your mobile marketing, your social media marketing, your Search and your online. The key is to being prepared for this new opportunity – a channel that will endear your brand to the audience by proving solutions to their needs – by providing value and utility. That's what creates relationships, that's engagement.

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategies. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

More reading on focusing on consumers, and engagement...

Advertising vs Engagement. How to win the battle for today's Always On consumer.

5 Ways to Develop a Consumer Focused Mobile Marketing Strategy

Use the Power of Here and Now: Convenience Marketing with Wearables

3m to read /

Is your brand ready to jump the queue and use the power of Wearable technology to lead the race for success in here and now marketing?

Wearables, simply, are items you can wear that happen to have computing power. Their potential impact on our behavior and expectations — and our marketing strategies — is far more complex. As a feature in WIRED magazine recently explained, the newest wearable devices aim to reduce “the time between intention and action,” going so far as the day when “the device knows what users want before they want it.” It's really about here and now marketing. It is also convenience marketing.

You cannot ignore the power of Wearables

Wearables aren’t a fad or trend that can be ignored. Like mobile, the technology is here to stay—and to transform digital marketing as we know it. Wearables help gather insightful customer data—including location, behavior and activity levels—which can be used to deliver personalized marketing messages. And, remember that wearable is wheneverable and whereverable!

Forward-thinking brands are already looking beyond simple data gathering or couponing to develop marketing campaigns that leverage the unique functionality of wearable devices. While some are finding creative ways to use existing technology, others are driving product innovation to design their own wearable experiences.

Here and Now: Convenience Marketing

Today consumers want simplicity and convenience, and wearable devices give them what they might want with fewer obstacles to disrupt their journeys. The ability to send and receive quick updates and responses across a wearable device may be just the way a brand can effectively reach out to their audience. By embracing the simplicity of navigation and use cases across wearables marketers are connecting consumers to the content they want while working to eliminate resistance in the process.
It all starts with audience intent. What do they want from your brand as an experience? Intent is the new black in digital marketing. In-the-moment marketing is what's hot.

Answer these questions before you jump on the Wearables bandwagon

Like any other form of digital marketing, start with  knowing more about your audience, your consumer, your customer. Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing.

• Will you be providing value for your target audience with quick, simple, and hyper-relevant actions and updates? This is where wearable-device marketing excels. Delivering breaking-news headlines, order-status updates, or contextual experiences — such as vibrating alerts that notify smartwatch users that their rides have arrived — are helpful and memorable ways for brands to engage customers across wearable devices.

• Are you able to take advantage of the multi screen journeys that today's consumer makes, by providing engagement and action driven content on a wearable device that complements your content on say, tv, or mobile?

• Will you be able to break down the last point of resistance by employing here and now conveniences that wearables offer?

If marketers want to develop successful content for their wearable marketing efforts, they must continue to ask themselves what context and timing best fits their users or target audience. Imagine working in a world where ad targeting focuses more on customer mood — not anticipated emotion, but what they’re actually feeling — based on user data from wearable devices instead of traditional buying signals.

Wearable marketing cannot work alone

Wearable marketing is another layer in digital marketing. It does not work alone. Several marketing efforts like email marketing, geo targeted campaigns, lead generation to purchase conversion, are all parts of marketing that can benefit from a wearables push in the here and now. Which is why Wearable Marketing is emerging as a focus area for marketers today : 10 Digital Marketing Essentials to focus on in 2016.

Remember to focus on your audience and deliver to their needs. Remember that your brand should always cater to the convenience and need of your audience. It goes back to what has become basic intelligence in content marketing – and wearables clearly underlines that paradigm: Winning Content Strategy: Always share something valuable and useful

And that's the basics of digital marketing strategies. That's 101. Please share this post with your friends and colleagues today... And do comment if you feel you want to add to this.

6 Key Essential Focus Areas in Social Media Strategy

3m to read / 

With changes happening every day in social media marketing, it's important for brands to focus on some key essential elements  their social strategy. Social media consumption habits are changing, new platforms are emerging, and new challenges arise. Here are six key elements you need to focus on for your brand's social strategy.

1. Develop a brand social media guideline

It's it is essential that brands set up proper social media guidelines for all staff to follow. And make sure your agency follows these as well. Your brand's reputation is on the line – and without clear guidelines, both from a content and tone of voice point of view, it can get a bit difficult to manage. Also make sure your brand's logo is used, how the products are featured, and how they are written about follow easy to understand and maintain guidelines.

2. Define global vs regional vs local strategy

This is a difficult one to balance, so it needs some clear focus. Particularly for global or regional brands, it's important to have a framework. While a typical brand might follow a global strategy – where consistency across all channels and geographies is consistent – another company may choose to speak to their audience in a colloquial or cultural context and a different tone of voice.

For many companies, while that may be costly and tricky to manage, the decision to employ local, in-house teams often proves to be the most successful. But they must follow a framework that's defined.

3. Choosing the Right Social Media Channels

Who makes the decision on which social media channel your brand or business should be on? Should you just jump on every new platform that comes your way?  Is your brand really relevant across all the channels you are on?

It's not just about resources, it is about how your brand aligns with each channel. It is about how your brand fits in to the ecosystem of the channel or platform, and then ensuring that your content resonates well within those parameters. You cannot be everything for everybody. You'll need some kind of audience segmentation strategy in place.

Read more : Choosing the right social media channels for your brand

4. Engaging the audience with conversation and consistency

It's not advertising, social media is about having a conversation and engaging the audience consistently.

Instead of using social as a one-way platform, the best way forward is to create content that encourages conversation, while maintaining its brand values and personality.

A consistent posting schedule and consistent social-friendly tone of voice is crucial when it comes to keeping an audience engaged. Remember, it's all about relevant, value adding content.

Content Marketing Strategy: What kind of content should you create?

5. Managing responses and issues

Social media is a conversation, and responding in time and making an effort with that response, and being honest, truthful and transparent is key. Many brands today fail to see how social is fast becoming a Customer Experience (Service) channel. Specially with customer complaints, or audience reactions to a post (or an ad) that did not resonate, or even offended them requires careful crafting and timing of a response. 

Make response and issues managing a focus area. Have guidelines in place for your social team or agency to follow.

6. Frequency: How often, how much

There is no definitive guide to social media post frequency. It depends – on your audience, your goals, and the results you get. This means that the only way to truly master it is to experiment, analyze your results and adjust accordingly. Yes, of course you can end up posting too much or too little to start with. But you'll learn quick. 

Each social platform has best practices for how often to posts, but there isn’t a specific number. You'll see brands tweeting four times a day and see a lot of success, while you'll see users that tweet four times per hour, and swear by it. In order to figure out what works best for your business, you will need to experiment. 

Your audience will often tell you how much is too much or too little by way of their reactions. Measure and repeat what works. The trick is in finding a balance – between engaging and informative vs annoying and over bearing.

Facebook launches 360 and Panoramic Photos in News Feed

2m to Read / 

In a major move that creates great storytelling opportunities for brands, Facebook is rolling out 360 degree and panoramic photos for the News Feed. This will allow allow users to view and upload pictures taken with 360-degree cameras on both desktop and mobile.

Most people don't have a 360-degree camera yet, but you don't need to rush out and get one. Most 360 degree photos will for now probably come from panoramic shots taken with Samsung Galaxy and iPhones. There are also 360-degree photo apps like Google's Photo Sphere, which allow you to easily take 360 photos with your current phones.

You upload a 360 photo to Facebook just like any other photo. Simply tap "Photo/Video" above the "What's on your mind?" box and select the 360 or Panoramic photo you want to upload. They'll appear on the News Feed just like any normal photo but with a small compass icon in the corner, signifying that you can explore the photo further.

A 360 photo allows you to see the photo from every angle including above, below, behind and next to you. When taking a 360 photo, the field of view will automatically be set to the middle of the photo.

Just as with 360 videos hosted on Facebook, desktop users can click and drag 360 photos to see different parts of the photo while mobile users can swipe the photos or tilt their phones.

Facebook in their newsroom feed said " For the first time, you can now easily share 360 photos on Facebook. Simply take a panorama with your phone or capture a 360-degree photo using a 360 photo app or 360 camera, and then post it on Facebook as you would a normal photo. From there, we’ll convert it to an immersive 360 photo that people can explore, similar to how people experience 360 videos on Facebook... 

360 photos give you the ability to take the stage in front of 100,000 fans with Paul McCartney, get behind-the-scenes access to the Supreme Court via The New York Times, visit the International Space Station with NASA, and more. This medium enables new opportunities for creativity, and we’re excited to see what kinds of 360 photos get shared on Facebook."

As a brand, this is quite an interesting opportunity. From events, to launches, these create a sense of panoramic storytelling. Even simple product features can now have a wow effect. Fashion brands should find this a great way to tell their stories, It's limited simply by a social story teller's imagination.

Make sure you know what kind of 360 or panoramic content will resonate with your audience. What will engage. As always, start with: Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing.  Remember, that you are aiming to create engaging content – it's not really about advertising your brand or product. Read more on Advertising vs Engagement. How to win the battle for today's Always On consumer.

This is a big step for Facebook, but it's the proverbial giant leap made possible for brands. And that's the basics. That's Digital Marketing Strategies 101.

More on digital marketing and Facebook:

How to use Facebook Live video like a pro. The essentials of getting it right.

The key announcements from Facebook's F8: what's coming.