Marketing Tips from Best Brands that Use Instagram



Positive first impressions are critical in building relationships and revenue. That’s why Instagram has been so successful for marketers.

How?

You can interact with customers via Instagram stories and live videos.

In a very personal way, this means you can grab your target’s attention and create a positive impression in just eight seconds.

True, other social mediums can accomplish the same thing. But a study shows Instagram beats Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in reaching potential customers.

To reach consumers you, too, might want to learn how to capitalize on it for revenue.

Especially, if you have a business that would benefit from visuals in marketing — pictures and video-sharing opportunities — Instagram is probably a good tool to use as a center of influence.

Instagram benefits

There are multiple ways Instagram rocks for companies.

To reiterate, first and foremost, it immediately creates the all-important favorable first impression.

It’s convenient and is easy to post pictures. Like Twitter, you can use hashtags. Hashtags can be used to launch contests or polls.

With its direct messaging feature, you can privately connect with centers of influence. You can give added value by sharing ideas, which enhances your social-media following.

This is important because fans on Instagram are known for being loyal. That’s not the case with other apps.

Instagram can be leveraged for transactions in a variety of ways. For instance, you can provide coupons or discounts if they share information about your company.

Instagram users

Brands experience regular engagement with 3 percent to 6 percent of their followers on Instagram. It doesn’t sound like much, right?

Well, it’s a stellar result compared to other social media sites. Typically, Facebook and Twitter only have engagement rates of less than 0.1 percent.

True, Facebook had 2 billion users in June 2017. Twitter only had 328 million users in Q1 2017. But these figures aren’t as significant if you consider their users aren’t as loyal as Instagram’s.

Meantime, Instagram has enjoyed massive growth since being acquired by Facebook in 2012 when it had 30 million active users. In April 2017, Instagram had 700 million users.

So why do 93 percent of marketers use Facebook but only 36 percent of marketers use Instagram?

That’s a good question, especially for marketers that have limited time and staffs. Exponentially for them, Instagram delivers superior results.

With thanks to M2OnHold, http://www.m2onhold.com.au/index.php, let’s examine how top brands capitalize on Instagram in the firm’s informative infographic:

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information:

Improve Your Customer Retention with 6 Digital Tips — Outstanding loyalty programs for stellar customer engagement play an important role to improve your prospects for lifetime customer value. That goes for e-commerce, too.

Maximize Your ROI from Your Next Event with Social Media — Will you maximize the return on investment in your next event? Whether you’re a nonprofit or business, great social media strategy will promote your event and your brand. In addition, even after your event it’s possible to enhance your return from social-media investment.

8 Tips for Your Social Media to Work Well in E-commerce — Are you just starting out using social media? Well, if used well, social media is an excellent tool to accomplish two goals – connecting with your existing customers and attracting fans for new business.

5 Essentials to Win Brand Loyalty from Millennials — How do Millennial consumers — ages 18 to 33 — view brands? What’s necessary to win their brand loyalty? The answers to these questions are important because Millennials have $600 billion to spend. If you win them over now — depending on your goods, services and industry — you might also create customers for decades to come.

11 Tips to Make Money on Facebook — Depending on your type of business, the jury might still be out over whether Facebook can you help you make money by making the cash register ring. But some advertisers are increasingly investing in Facebook.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

-Scott Cook


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




How to Newsjack for Publicity of Your Content Marketing



Smart communicators know the value of earned advertising – free media publicity – and they’re successful in obtaining it.

They leverage certain principles to get top-of-mind awareness of their content marketing.

One method is newsjacking – the art and science of obtaining mountains of free media coverage and social-media spin by getting your content injected into late-breaking news stories.

This is true based on my 2 decades+ as a broadcast journalist for local and national media operations, and 2+ decades as a consultant obtaining news coverage for my clients.

Here’s how to successfully newsjack:

1. Strive for friendly relationships

One of the first things I learned was that trusted PR agents have an open door with the media.

They effectively get in the door to talk with journalists.

They also initiate communication, and submit their contact information including social-media accounts in advance of breaking stories.

2. Know two target audiences

Determine whom you’re trying to reach and why – both in the media and the journalists’ core audience.

Understand what will pique their attention. Know what interests them.

Learn what they surf on the Internet. Ascertain how both journalists and consumers consume their information.

3. Diligently monitor the news

It’s hard work, but stay up-to-the-second on the latest news. Constantly check news sites, RSS feeds and social-media networks.

Start by setting up Google Alerts for key phrases, keywords including names for your industry and company.

Be sure to monitor social media to understand what’s said, what isn’t.

4. Work quickly

Act immediately. People on social media and journalists at media operations are obsessed about time.

For their breaking news coverage they’re more likely to consider good content if you make it available right away.

5. Be a thought leader

In commenting on a story, be well-versed in how the news story affects your sector. Be bold with your opinion.

For a great response to your efforts, remember the acronym, WIIFM — what’s in it for me. Adequately explain your points.

Be accurate, but do not be so controversial that you invite a lawsuit.

To achieve top-of-mind awareness, consider the potential of e-newsletters as part of your marketing mix.

6. Answer questions

Journalists will depend on you for informed, and possibly comprehensive answers. Try to anticipate their questions.

But keep your sentences simple and short. Typically, reporters speak and write for consumers’ ears at the 6th-grade level.

7. Consistently blog

To attract the eyes of social media aficionados and journalists, companies of all sizes by blog and promote their content on social media. If you haven’t already, add a blog section to your site.

You’re also more likely to make sales. If a media site publishes your domain name, you’ll grow beyond your expectations.

It helps to be trustworthy and to be a great storyteller. The best blogs share nine common traits in content.

8. Be selective on hashtags

Don’t overload Twitter with extraneous hashtags.

So when you create a good graphic or meme related to a news story and circulate them to your followers,  make sure they have relevant and timely hashtags.

By the way, hashtags don’t work on Facebook.

9. Stay focused

Don’t comment on everything unless it’s meaningful to your brand and industry. Otherwise, you risk looking cheesy.

10. KISS

When commenting, keep it simple and understandable with relevant keywords. If blogging, link to the news story.

11. Avoid death, religion and politics

Only comment on stories that are truly relevant to your company or sector.

12. Repurpose

Newsjacking can also be effective with evergreen blogging topics. It doesn’t always have to be on current events.

For example, several years after the BP Oil Spill, a piece published on this site and periodically updated remains among the top 10 most-popular month after month (BP Crisis Management, PR Misfires — a Case Study).

From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:

How to Leverage the News Media to Brand Your Web Site — Social media is OK for promotion. But if you need blockbuster publicity, use best practices in marketing.

Maximize Your ROI from Your Next Event with Social Media — Will you maximize the return on investment in your next event? Whether you’re a nonprofit or business, great social media strategy will promote your event and your brand. In addition, even after your event it’s possible to enhance your return from social-media investment.

How to Attract Fans with Your Blogging, Social Media and PR — Businesspeople have discovered social media is a work in progress. It takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed.

Trend: 4 Choices to Relate with Millennial News Consumers — Good news if you’re concerned that Millennials are increasingly uninformed. And if you want to connect with Millennials, you might be happy to learn social media hasn’t totally replaced traditional news among 18-to-34-year-olds.

For a Bounce in Revenue, Try Strategic Press Releases — Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet? It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or have mastered the art of writing press releases. You, too, can level the playing field with effective press releases.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

-Milton Berle


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Image courtesy Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos,net

HR-Social Media Tips for Best Employee Morale, Culture



At first, conventional wisdom indicated that social media was important to attract customers. Now, we know social media affects far more.

Social media affects your company’s culture – probably as much as the employees who engage in gossip at the water cooler.

It’s true. Your company’s reputation is affected internally and externally by social-networking sites.

Why? You can be either respected or scorned on social media depending on the mood swings of your workers.

But surely, you want to make sure that social media and your culture bond well.

The trick is for human resources professionals and company executives to know how to enhance recruitment efforts and workplace culture with social networking sites.

How do social media affect your business? Not sure? Take prudent steps to capitalize on it.

Here are five HR-social media tips:

1. Learn how social media affects your company’s reputation among your employees.

You need to know what’s going on. You need to monitor social media to learn what is said and what isn’t.

For example, if you engage your employees and show the right amount of appreciation, positive comments will appear on social media.

However, bear in mind employees who are disenchanted are going to be relentless in complaining about your company.

Either way, employees who were previously unaware – of either their satisfied or dissatisfied co-workers – will be influenced by what they see.

2. Check the social-media sharing to develop image-enhancing strategies.

In effect, employees’ social-media sharing brands you positively or negatively. Scrutinize the employee social sharing.

There are about 300 social-networking sites. At the minimum, you need to observe Facebook, Glassdoor, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Develop strategies that will enhance your company’s culture and image.

3. Persuade senior executives to share on social sites.

Google the key phrase, “business leaders on social media,” and you’ll be surprised. Depending the day of the week, Google will indicate the key phrase has more than 100-million search results.

Surely, your executives will see an external marketplace benefit for their companies and for them, personally.

There are also benefits internally. Note that such executives appear more approachable to their employees.

Many employees will feel better about them as a boss. That is, if employees feel they can use social media to connect with company bosses.

Social media affects your company’s culture – probably as much as the employees who engage in gossip at the water cooler.

4. Develop social-networking strategies along with a new company policy.

Social media is a reality. You can either capitalize on it or suffer ramifications by not moving forward.

Join the social-media bandwagon with other successful companies.

By endorsing what your employees are going to keep doing – no matter what you think – you’ll enhance your organization’s internal culture, your image as a desirable employer, and your ability to sell products and services in the marketplace.

However, there are a couple of caveats:

The trend has caught the attention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which can dictate your social media policy. You need to be aware of a ruling against Costco on social-media policy.

Your company policy also needs to guard against the unprecedented dangers from employees using your company computers for social-networking. Take appropriate safety measures to thwart social-network attacks.

5. Develop and implement an social-media intranet.

Take social media internally. Create a private group on Facebook where only company employees can join.

In this way, employee won’t be mixing their personal social-media sharing with your business.

Another option worth considering is to create another in-house social-media system.

If you do, your employees will be able to communicate with executives, offer tips for company growth, profitable ideas for efficiency, and to have professional-level communication with one another.

Bottom-line

You’ll be using social media to benefit the welfare of your organization.

Morale will be stronger. Employees will appreciate an open communication. They’ll become more aligned with your company’s mission.

Externally on the Internet, employees will be more likely to convey positive information about your company.

All of these are important ingredients for organizational growth.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are links to related articles:

UCLA Psychologists Tell What Triggers People to Share on Social Media — Buzz. Marketers, senior managers, business owners, and consultants crave it for revenue. Career-minded individuals engaged in self-promotion also want it. Another term for buzz is the “salesperson effect.” For the first time, we learn how ideas are spread, what messages go viral on social media, and how to predict it.

Understanding Customers — Social Media Humbles Companies — Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price. Inexplicably, Verizon joins the list of big companies failing to understand how poor research and judgment would draw fire from their customers and social media.

Insights into How Twitter Users Can Forge Opinion — If you want to influence public opinion on Twitter, the trick is to get your message out early. Once your message is stabilized on the social medium, it’s too difficult for your competitors to overcome your lead according to research released in 2014. The researchers’ conclusions show how marketers and politicians can achieve greater awareness to influence public opinion.

Make Your Blogging, Social Media and PR Work to Attract Fans — Businesspeople have discovered social media is a work in progress. It takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed.

Tech Trends to Watch in BYOD, Mobile Apps — If you’re like many businesspeople, you’re constantly identifying the trends with the most staying power that will benefit your company. Here are trends to watch in BYOD, an acronym for bring your own devices, and mobile apps.

“Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.”

-Simon Mainwaring


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula



There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo.

Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors.

Hyper-consumerism is history. Humor is great, but more importantly, traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Why? Consumer attitudes are changing.

ID-10061404 AscensionDigitalPlanning

Broadcast advertising is all about frequency, reach and cost per thousand. Internet advertising is concerned about cpm, pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, and cost-per-action.

Yes, despite what you’ve heard about social media, TV, especially TV news, remains the most powerful of mediums. Radio is still strong.

But marketing is not simply creating a radio, TV or Internet advertisement or harnessing social networking tools. Advertising is merely one component of marketing.

Marketing pertains to the big picture. Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

It’s a systematic development, coordination and implementation of a myriad of initiatives – proactive events to establish a dialogue – not just a bunch of advertisements.

Orchestrate your message

Make certain to orchestrate and synergize your advertising with public relations, videos, word-of-mouth and social media. Thanks to the Digital Age, consumers are in charge. Set up a dialogue, not a monologue.

For example, if you’re targeting young adults or teenagers, it’s sad to say, but they are getting their “news” from their social media.

Your communication plan should contain timelines. Press kits are helpful, but in this green age, they are not necessary. Regarding relationships with journalists, here’s a hint: Reporters like to deal with experts. So portray yourself as one.

Choose wisely. Insert and distribute effective videos and provide the right motives for people to share. The right content has to be presented in right place.

Follow the trends to see how to get the most attention. For example, Digg.com can be helpful but remember it’s mostly a young audience – big on tech and off-the-wall stories.

Just like reporters, every generation likes experts and stories. Storytelling holds great power for you. So tell a good story, write a good headline, deliver on your promises, and cite outside participants for proof in your claims.

Marketing is the understanding of your target audience for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Value perceptions

People base their buying-decisions on emotion. Following are strategies with business in-mind, but are applicable to political advertising, too.

Some 18 percent of people, whether blue-collar or white-collar in B2C or B2B situations, buy products and services solely at the cheapest cost they can find (according to my consulting firm’s research since 1992).

Avoid this target and using daily deal advertising, such as Groupon. Such consumers complain the most and they’re not loyal – they return only for cheap deals. Further, an HR concern: Many companies, such as restaurants, find it more difficult to retain their most-talented workers in such an environment. They tire from such customers. Plus, their tips from such customers are much less.

Companies that focus on selling at the lowest price either struggle unnecessarily or worse – they fade away. Companies are advised to target the other 82 percent.

The 82 percent is comprised of the most highly prized prospects – customers who are value conscious – value vis-à-vis cheap. Such customers have “five value-motivating perceptions” – emotionally, how they feel and what they think – that motivate them to buy.

The five value-motivating perceptions stem from emotions:

1. Employees, Spokespersons (52 percent)– What consumers think about a company’s spokesperson and company employees. Key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. But listening skills and empathy are of paramount importance to customers.

About 70 percent of customers will buy elsewhere if they feel they’re being taken for granted – it only takes from one to five bad experiences before customers are gone forever. And customers normally will not volunteer why they switch to a competitor.

2. Image of the organization (15 percent) – Prospective customers prefer to do business with companies that have a good image. Running a green business, cleanliness and signs of good organization are important to them. In addition, cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image.

3. Quality of Product or Service Utility (13 percent) – The customer is subconsciously and sometimes verbally asking a question similar to this: “What will this do for me?”

4. Convenience (12 percent) – Customers like convenience and accessibility. That includes all experiences such as their ease in navigating the company’s Web site and making a shopping-cart purchase, a happy buying environment at a store, making a telephone inquiry, and convenient bricks-and-mortar locations, and the level of service after they buy.

5. Price (8 percent) – To value-minded customers, price is important, but note it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

Seven marketing elements

Once you understand what motivates the customer to buy, there are seven steps you must take for creating a happy buying environment. Fear is a great motivator. But Americans are tired of negativity and comparison ads. Yes, the marketing process goes a lot easier if you can make buying fun.

For marketing in a downturn or not, every PR or advertising message should – as much as possible – contain these seven elements:

1. FEE. This is an acronym for establishing a common ground for a foundation using the principles of event and empathy. Every purchase is an event in the life of a customer – no matter how big or small.  In a down economy, it also helps to empathize about the average consumer’s budget.

2. Research/focus groups on attitudes. Use tools to get the consumer to think about buying.

3. Agreement on Need. Get the consumer to agree on the need to buy a product or service.

4. Generic Value Proposition or Benefit Statement. Here’s where you explain your value proposition. Remember the difference between features vs. benefits to answer the basic marketing questions, such as the acronym, WIIFM , “What’s in it for me?” or the “So What?” question.

5. Fill Prospect’s Need. Depending on your marketing channel and audience, use more specific benefit statements.

6. Getting a commitment to shop. Ask for the consumer to give you a shot using a non-threatening, closed-ended question.

7. Seal the Deal. This final step has three components –

— When feasible, use the magic words:  “Thank you.”

— Prevent buyer’s remorse – remind your audience of the benefits they’re receiving.

— Look for an opportunity to provide unexpected, perceived added value without hurting your bottom line.

From the Coach’s Corner, more marketing tips:

10 Strategies to Shine and Make Ad Designing a Breeze — Designing simple banner ads without strategic planning no longer suffices. The click rates have declined significantly, especially in B2B. To shine in the clutter of Internet advertising, there are at least 10 tips to keep in mind.

Insights – Why Marketers Should Show Moderation in Digital Communication — Businesses will decrease their chances for customer loyalty and repeat business if they don’t act with more self-control in digital marketing, according to a study. Consumers have become more and more discerning. 

Marketing – Insights for Attracting Millennial Customers — Marketers from fast food to cars are struggling to understand an important demographic – 59 million young adults, aged 23 to 36, according to a published report. Other observers believe there are 80 million Millennials, but in a slightly narrower age group. Either way, companies are obsessed with targeting Millennials for good reasons.

Insights for Exhibiting Success at Trade Shows — Attendees at trade shows would rather chat with marketing and sales staff as opposed to managers. A study released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) says 56 percent of trade-show visitors prefers meeting with salespeople.

Winning in Branding, Sales – The 6 Key Characteristics of a Logo — One key element for a company’s branding and sales that often gets short shrift is a great logo. Whether you’re an entrepreneur entering a brave new world or an established company needing profits, a great logo helps ensure top-of-mind awareness. A great logo can make the difference between winning and losing in a competitive marketplace.

“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”

-Seth Godin

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Photo courtesy of AscensionDigital at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Social Media: 5 Ways to Use Instagram to Make Money



Now that marketers have learned Instagram is a potent force in social media — a
study shows it beats Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

You might want to learn how to capitalize on it for revenue, too.

If you have a business that would benefit from visuals in marketing — pictures and video-sharing opportunities —  Instagram is probably a good tool to use as a center of influence.

Many restaurants have been using it for great success in marketing.

Instagram is much preferable to Groupon and other daily deal sites.

ID-10070662 David Castillo Dominici

Telling your story

It’s one thing to talk about the high points of your products.

But it’s better to show your offerings.

Instagram’s definitely an opportunity for growth.

Instagram is beneficial in five ways:

1. It’s easy to post pictures. For further enhancement, like Twitter, you can use hashtags.

2. You can use Instagram to connect with centers of influence privately. This is possible with its direct messaging feature.

3. You can give added value. You can enhance your social-media following if you share ideas. For example, you can share how to use the social medium. 

Plus, so far, fans on Instagram are loyal and act as you request when they’re asked to do so.

4. It enhances visually appealing businesses. You can optimize interest in your business with stylish pictures.

5. You can leverage Instagram in a variety of ways for transactions. For example, you can provide discounts or coupons to users if they share information about you.

You can also launch polls or contests using a hashtag. Again, that’s for transactions via Instagram.

From the Coach’s Corner, related content: 

UCLA Psychologists Tell What Triggers People to Share on Social Media — Buzz. Marketers, senior managers, business owners, and consultants crave it for revenue. Career-minded individuals engaged in self-promotion also want it. Another term for buzz is the “salesperson effect.” For the first time, we learn how ideas are spread, what messages go viral on social media, and how to predict it.

Energize Your Customer-Loyalty Program with 6 Steps — The quickest way for established businesses to optimize revenue is to have a stellar customer-loyalty program — there are six steps you can take for repeat sales and referrals. If you’re not a great steward of your current book of business, it’s futile to look for new customers. 

Make Your Blogging, Social Media and PR Work to Attract Fans — Businesspeople have discovered social media is a work in progress. It takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed.        

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t — Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. What does work is visual content.

“You are what you share.” 
-Charles Leadbeater


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Marketers: Instagram Beats Facebook, Twitter and Google+ — Study



Instagram is beating Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in brand engagement — making money for marketers.

That was first reported by two studies in 2013.

SumAll study 

Though marginal in brand-performance results, the SumAll study compared the data of 6,000 customers using social media.

U.S. companies enjoyed revenue increases of 1.5 to 3 percent thanks to Instagram. In the U.K., the increase was 3.6 percent.

“On this day, Instagram has been appointed supreme ruler of the social media universe,” said SumAll in its blog.

SimplyMeasured study

Another study, by SimplyMeasured, reveals more about Instagram’s ascent — a 350 percent increase in brand engagement among leading brands.

“There’s been less resistance to the addition than other networks have seen, suggesting that users are more comfortable with branded content when it’s visually appealing,” said SimplyMeasured’s study

SimplyMeasured’s key findings:

– Top brands post more than 50 times per month

–  Automotive, media and luxury industries make up 59 percent of total brand posts

– “Likes” account for 99 percent of Instagram engagements

– The top 10 brands receive 83 percent of all Instagram engagement

– Brands drive 26 percent more engagement via photos than videos

– 83 percent of Instagram posts by top brands include at least one hashtag

– Only 30 percent of top brand posts use filters

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related social media tips:

UCLA Psychologists Tell What Triggers People to Share on Social Media — For the first time, we learn how ideas are spread, what messages go viral on social media, and how to predict it. 

8 Tips to Optimize Sales with Social Media, But Beware of a Red FlagHow and why social media should be part of your marketing and human-resources recruiting mix. Here are eight tips, but they come with a caveat.  

‘Why Facebook Is Failing Marketers’ — Forrester Study — As a digital advertising option, hundreds of savvy marketers rank Facebook last in “business value” according to a critical Forrester Research study. 

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t — Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. 

How Twitter Levels the Playing Field for Small Cap Companies — Good news for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who are known to kvetch that that their companies fall below the radar screen of Wall Street analysts and the media. 

Passion is the gasoline of social media.

-Unknown author


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




‘Why Facebook Is Failing Marketers’ — Forrester Study



As a digital advertising option, hundreds of savvy marketers rank Facebook last in “business value” according to a critical Forrester Research study.

The study ranks Facebook last among 13 digital options by 395 marketers in the U.S. and Canada, reports Kristin Burnham, the senior editor of InformationWeek.com, in her Oct. 30, 2013 article (Facebook Ads Fail Marketers: Report).

Ms. Burnham explains Forrester’s study:

“Respondents were asked to rank how satisfied they were with the business value their company achieved. Social sites including LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus and Twitter all ranked above Facebook.”

As a result, she reports Forrester’s recommendation:

“A scathing report from research company Forrester advises marketers to ditch Facebook advertising in favor of other marketing opportunities. Although the social network has potential to redefine marketing, it said, Facebook has failed to do so. As a result, it creates less business value than any other digital marketing resource, it concluded.” 

She indicates Forrester also took an unusual step:

“Nate Elliott, report author and principal analyst at Forrester, wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explaining why the social network fails to impress marketers and advising him on what Facebook needs to do to win back advertisers.”

Marketers say Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity

My sense is that Forrester and the 395 marketers are right. Here are nine tips to evaluate online advertising options.

From the Coach’s Corner, not convinced about Forrester’s warning about Facebook?

Here are more Biz Coach warnings:

Facebook Draws Fire for 6 ‘Stubbornly Childish’ Behaviors — Facebook continues to incur the wrath of critics. This includes a six-point indictment by a leading professional publication, AdAge.com. It’s a daily must-read for advertising professionals. AdAge columnist, Simon Dumenco, posed this question: “Facebook Under Siege: Will It Ever Grow Up?” 

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t — Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. What does work is visual content.  

Facebook – Fewer Users, Drop in Consumer Satisfaction and Share Price — Get out the black balloons for Facebook. True, as a new public company, its stock made a bit of a comeback in 2012 after announcing plans for more mobility to keep users happy. 

Is Facebook Approaching the End of Its Product Life Cycle? Yes — If you’re a prospective Facebook stakeholder looking to profit from the social-networking site – as an investor or major advertiser – beware of all the Facebook hype. Facebook appears to be approaching the end of its product life cycle. 

“For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.”

-Simon Mainwaring


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 




Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t


Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook.

What does work is visual content. That’s according to a 2013 Facebook study by Simply Measured, a Seattle social-media measurement company, which has since merged with Sprout Social.

Sixty percent of the companies post at least once a day.

Twenty percent of their Facebook posts use hashtags. But the companies have discovered visual content with photos result in 95 percent of their engagement with consumers.

Overall, photos posted by top brands average more than 9,400 engagements per post, while video posts average more than 2,500 engagements.

Facebook has made significant changes to benefit brands and users: Redesigning its news feed to improve how visual content is displayed, and introducing clickable hashtags that allow brands to provide additional context with their posts.

Simply Measured saw no measurable change in how hashtags influence engagement.

These posts perform as well as posts without hashtags, suggesting that people are not yet discovering brand posts by their tags.

The study evaluates brands and verticals in the Interbrand 100, identifying key trends and strategies shaping the way companies engage with consumers through social media.

Key findings:

Length of posts matter.

Analysis of more than 500 status updates from the top brands shows that the longer a status update is, the less engagement it typically receives. However, if a status update is too short (less than 50 characters) it may not be long enough to capture viewers’ attention or provide the necessary context to drive engagement.

Not allowing fans to post on walls hinders engagement.

Twenty-nine percent of top brands do not allow users to post on their wall. For these brands, engagement on their page is limited to likes, comments and shares on brand posts, resulting in 15 percent less engagement than brands that do allow user posts.

However, brands that don’t allow user posts have 71 percent more fans.

Top brands take different approaches.

The top 10 most engaging brands average 19.8 million fans (more than twice the 7.9 million brand average) and average 2.5 posts per day. A large variance exists in the number of times brands post, demonstrating the different approaches brands take to serving content.

Facebook, MTV and Coca-Cola top the list.

Facebook claims the top spot with 93 million fans, followed by Coca-Cola and MTV with 68.6 million and 45.8 million fans, respectively. When it comes to overall engagement, only MTV made the leader list, following behind Disney, Ferrari and Intel.

Automotive brands dominate the top 10.

Automotive brands are taking advantage of their fans passion for high quality car photos, posting more frequently than other brands and receiving nearly twice the Interbrand average per post engagement. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Harley-Davidson and Audi USA all rank among the top 10 in engagement.

From the Coach’s Corner, more social media tips:

Government Warns Business in Ruling Against Costco on Social Media Policy — Many companies encourage their employees to promote their offerings and services on social media. But beware, it was bound to happen: The trend has caught the attention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which can dictate your social media policy.

How Small Businesses Can Profit from Cyber Strategies Yes, it’s become important for small businesses to capitalize on cyber strategies for profit. Small and even regional retailers should be cognizant of three realities.

UCLA Psychologists Tell What Triggers People to Share on Social Media – Buzz. Marketers, senior managers, business owners, and consultants crave it for revenue. Career-minded individuals engaged in self-promotion also want it. Another term for buzz is the “salesperson effect.” For the first time, we learn how ideas are spread, what messages go viral on social media, and how to predict it.

How Twitter Levels the Playing Field for Small Cap Companies – Good news for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who are known to kvetch that that their companies fall below the radar screen of Wall Street analysts and the media.

“For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.”

-Simon Mainwaring


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net 

Facebook – Fewer Users, Drop in Consumer Satisfaction and Share Price



Get out the black balloons for Facebook?

Facebook has finally climbed above its IPO price of 2014. Investors finally see what they want from Facebook — a focus on monetizing mobile.

However, its user-rate and consumer satisfaction ratings have been dropping, according to two authoritative published reports.

File:Facebook.svgOne reason for Facebook’s decline appears to be the popularity of Google’s social network, Google+.

There are other reasons – this business-news portal has been critical of Facebook, but more on that later.

The two reports show:

— Facebook may be the world’s largest social network, but its number of users began dropping in the first half of 2012. About the time of a report (Facebook Falls as Use on Social Site Drops), by Capstone Investments, Facebook’s share price dropped nearly nine percent in two days.

— A report (Facebook down, Google+ up with customers) indicates Facebook’s consumer satisfaction score has dropped in 2012 by eight percent. That’s from a survey of 70,000 consumers by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index and Foresee, an analytics company.

According to a Capstone analyst, Rory Maher, the report on Facebook’s user-decline shows two developments:

— The number of U.S. users declined 1.1 percent.

— Worldwide in Q2, the social network showed little growth or a decrease in 14 countries where it had at least a 50 percent market share.

“This could be an issue for Facebook growth since we estimate that outside of Southeast Asia and some countries in Latin America, most markets are approaching 50 percent penetration,” the report quoted Mr. Maher.

ForeSee says Facebook’s consumer-satisfaction decrease was ostensibly prompted by increasing privacy concerns and dissatisfaction with its Timeline feature.

“Facebook and Google+ are competing on two critical fronts: customer experience and market penetration,” said ForeSee’s President and CEO Larry Freed. “Google+ handily wins the former, and Facebook handily wins the latter, for now.”

The American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Facebook with a 61 – among the lowest of 230 ranked companies. On the other hand, a news release said Google+ won a 78 score because of its mobile product and sans any advertising.

The average for all social media companies was a 69. Twitter held a 64 and LinkedIn followed at 63. These mediocre scores confirms a warning published in this Biz Coach column: Despite Hoopla over Social Media, Web Searchers Stay Longer.

Facebook’s demise is not a surprise – note these articles:

Is Facebook Approaching the End of Its Product Life Cycle? Ostensibly, Yes. — If you’re a prospective Facebook stakeholder looking to profit from the social-networking site – as an investor or major advertiser – beware of all the Facebook hype. Facebook appears to be approaching the end of its product life cycle.

Aside from Privacy, Security Issues — Facebook is a Threat 2 Ways — Facebook is well-known for its privacy and security issues. I’ve written multiple articles about social media and how it can harm businesses, especially when employees are not trained about using it on your company’s computers.

Still, some companies can make money via social media, and it teaches businesses valuable lessons in understanding customers.

From the Coach’s Corner, for additional columns about Facebook, see:

“Our head of social media is the customer.”

–McDonald’s

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Understanding Customers — Social Media Humbles Companies


Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Inexplicably, twice Verizon has now learned the power of social media. In Feb. 2017, it was forced to add an unlimited data plan after T-Mobile got great buzz and increased its market share at Verizon’s expense.

Ironically, Verizon had already joined the list of big companies failing to understand how poor research and judgment would draw fire from their customers and social media.

You might recall the wireless company announced a controversial $2 fee on their customers for making one-time telephone or Web payments. It was to take effect on Jan. 15, 2012. Less than 24 hours after making the announcement, Verizon was forced to rescind its scheme.

Why?

Verizon was lacking in discernment, and the fee announcement instantaneously drew the wrath from thousands of jolted customers.

Social media was buzzing. More than 100,000 customers signed a Change.org petition demanding the company change course.

A regulatory agency, the Federal Communications Commission, announced it would investigate the issue.

In turn, Verizon was startled into reality. It was a sharp reminder that Verizon misread the situation. To be fair, Verizon isn’t alone.

More examples

Netflix backtracked on its decision to break up a division – morphing its DVD rental service into something called Qwikster.

Poor sales caused the CEO to take a cut in his remuneration.

Bank of America incurred the wrath of thousands of customers when it announced a $5 charge for using debit cards. Thousands of customers became credit union members.

What were they thinking? Why aren’t such companies aware of the implications of the Digital Age and the economy?

Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

Apparently, executives need to spend some time in sales with customers. They need to think 1930s’ values for business success. Consumer attitudes have been reverting back to where they were several decades ago.

Verizon, Bank of America and Netflx should have enough marketing sophistication to understand the economic elasticity of consumer attitudes and fees.

To the businesses, they were only charging a little extra money. To their customers, it was a strong perception of greed and unfairness.

Customers now in charge

Add social media to the mix and the companies face a firestorm. Not only is it a waste of corporate time and money, such naiveté leads to a dilution of their brands and weakening of sales.

The Internet launched an era of consumer awareness. That was both good news and bad news for business.

It gave Web users unprecedented power – power for them to research brands and prices – and power to share critical information with countless other users.

And given this economy, Internet users and all consumers are more concerned than ever about value.

So it’s important for companies to use best practices to optimize their brands and manage their Web reputations.

It’s also a good time to review PR crisis-management tips, research their customers and make certain that they’re discerning correctly.

Again, the lesson:

Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price.

From the Coach’s Corner, more tips:

Want More Business? Build Trust with Consumers…Here’s How — With consumers trying to cope with information overload – you will increase sales with long-term customer loyalty – if you build trust by using best practices. It may be an obvious approach, but it’s confirmed by a 2012 study that shows 84 percent of the respondents declared trust must be warranted before they buy.

8 Simple Strategies to Give You Pricing Power — If you’re struggling with pricing strategies, you’re not alone. Many big companies have struggled, too.

Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula — There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo. Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors.

14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

“The only thing that’s worse than being blind, is having sight but no vision.”

-Helen Keller


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.