The Importance of Brand Recommendations in Your Marketing Strategy

Knowing why and how consumers use recommendations will help you create more effective marketing programs.

Facebook likes are viewed as recommendations by consumersAccording to research conducted by Nielsen, we know that 92% of consumers report that “word-of-mouth and recommendations from people [they] know” are the leading influence on their purchase behavior. Only 37% trust search engine ads, and just 24% trust online banner ads. They trust their friends and family the most when looking for brand recommendations. But what types of recommendations carry the most weight?

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20 Social Media Marketing Blogs You Should Read in 2013

Looking for some great social media marketing blogs? You’ve come to the right place!

20 Social Media Marketing Blogs You Should Read in 2013Social media is now mandatory for businesses. I’m always trying to keep pace with the evolving social media marketing landscape, and reading many of the fantastic blogs out there helps me stay on top of best practices.

Here are some that I read on a regular basis — I think you should, too! The authors all have unique voices and offer timely information about tools, strategies, and trends that you can use to jumpstart your marketing efforts.

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How Airlines Use Social Media: Lessons for Everyone

In an effort to build customer engagement, an increasing number of airlines are creating an active social media presence — Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and check-in locations for location-based apps. SimpliFlying, “a unique blog offering insights, hindsights, and foresights into the world of airline and airport branding”, has created an infographic that shows how the airline industry has allocated resources to social media. We all know that it’s easy to set up social media profiles, but many brands fail to follow through and dedicate the huge amount of time and energy it takes to gain followers and create meaningful dialog. And who could forget the string of recent airline-industry PR debacles that had the companies scrambling to redeem themselves? These days, a social-media presence is vital for public relations, branding, marketing — everything, really.

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How Can Brands Connect With the Facebook Generation?

According to a report by McCann WorldGroup, “The Truth About Youth”, millennials live in a new “social economy” in which recommending and sharing brands is front and center in their daily lives. The April study was conducted in seven countries: the United States, United Kingdom, China, Brazil, Spain, India, and Mexico. It explored the motivations of 16- to 30-year-olds with the goal of uncovering how they differ from previous generations in terms of brand interaction. According to the study, this group emphasizes public self-definition — they broadcast and narrate their lives via blogging, photos, and inexpensive design and editing software. Some country-specific insights also emerged — respondents in China, Brazil, and India, where emerging consumers are just beginning to build brand loyalties, feel the most strongly about sharing brands they like with friends.

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8% of Women Dominate Social Sharing

According to a study by AOL and Bovitz Research Group, content sharing is commonplace for women online, and most of them leverage the Web in some fashion for word-of-mouth. Yet only a small number of women account for the vast majority of social media recommendations and referrals.

Among the online female population, AOL identified seven different segments based on their values, habits, and characteristics. The study found that the smallest groups were the most active in social media, and that they contribute the most to online word-of-mouth. The research focused on three of these groups — Social Expressionistas, Alpha Trendsetters, and Shopsessives:

  • Social Expressionistas (8%): These women use social networks to express their views and creativity. They believe that the Web brings people together and they’re passionate about using it to create community. They love spreading the word online, and they love social networking sites — nearly 90% of Social Expressionistas said social networks were their favorite type of site, 13 percentage points above the next group, Alpha Trendsetters.

The Social Media Landscape [Infographic]

Last year, I posted a great infographic from CMO.com that did a terrific job of roadmapping the social Web. The graphic has been updated to reflect the landscape in 2011. As social media continues to evolve, it’s difficult to keep up with all of the changes. This infographic will help marketers to quickly understand how each tool/platform can help in the execution of online campaigns.

The acceptance of social media’s importance by consumers has increased very quickly. People who believed it was relevant to digital marketing were thought to be overreacting and exaggerating its significance. These days, a social-media marketing strategy has clearly become a a vital part of advertising and customer outreach. Marketing channels, platforms, and tools that lack a social component — a way for consumers to actively engage with brands — are probably doomed to fail. But what worked last year may not work today, which is why it’s important to track this ever-changing space.

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20 Top Twitter Monitoring and Analytics Tools

Social media is much more than a way to stay connected and to have fun: It’s a way to market yourself, your business, and your products and services.

[This post has been updated. See my most recent list of the 50 Top Tools for Social Media Monitoring, Analytics, and Management 2013.]

100+ Social Media Monitoring ToolsBy establishing a presence on the social Web, you can gain virtually unlimited exposure to your target audience without incurring the higher costs associated with traditional marketing campaigns. While participating in social media is good, it can be difficult  to track how you’re performing — Are you actually reaching your target market? How is your brand perceived? What are people saying about you and your products?

Here’s why Twitter is one of the best social media platforms for listening:

  • Real-time results. We’ve all heard examples of how breaking news spreads immediately on Twitter. Because of Twitter’s real-time search engine, you can get a quick pulse of public opinion.
  • Wide reach. Twitter is useful to many different types and sizes of businesses.
  • Direct feedback. You hear what people are saying as they say it.

There are many powerful social media tracking and analytics tools available that can monitor your performance on social media sites like Twitter. They can help you judge the effectiveness of your efforts and keep track of what people are saying about you. Here are a few to help you get you started with sentiment and behavioral analysis so you can maximize Twitter’s benefits:

Twazzup: A dashboard program that monitors Twitter, Twazzup will tell you every time your keywords are mentioned in a tweet. It will also categorize your results by link popularity, contributors, tagging clouds, and users. Unique features like avatar mouse-overs that give more details about that user’s relevant tweets make Twazzup a surprisingly powerful and valuable social media monitoring tool.

TwitterGrader: Twitter Grader is a free tool that allows you to check the power of your Twitter profile. It looks at a variety of factors including the number of followers, power of those followers, and the level to which you are engaging the community. It takes just a few seconds to generate your free report.

Twitscoop: Twitscoop is a real-time visualization tool which enables users to “mine the thought stream” provided by Twitter. Its algorithm cuts every English non-spam tweet into pieces (“tags”), and ranks them by how frequently they are used versus normal usage. It detects growing trends in real time, identifies breaking news, and monitors specific keywords. It also creates custom graphs that display the activity for any given word on Twitter.

TweetBuzzer: TweetBuzzer lets you see which brands get talked about most on Twitter. You can see and track the top tweeted brands in a 24 hour, 7-day, or 30-day period.

TweetEffect: Find out which of your Twitter updates made people follow or leave you. The site lists all the Twitter updates that had an effect on your follower numbers. Updates that made people leave are displayed in red, others in black.

TweetPsych: TweetPsych uses two linguistic analysis algorithms to build a psychological profile of a person based on the content of their tweets. The service analyzes your last 1000 tweets and works best on users who have posted more than 1000 updates. It also works best on accounts that are operated by a single user and use Twitter in a conversational manner, rather than as a content distribution platform.

MicroPlaza: MicroPlaza looks at your Twitter network and displays all the links shared by the people you follow with associated tweets — what MicroPlaza calls “tiles”. The tool only looks at public time lines and tweets, not direct messages or protected accounts.

Twittercounter: TwitterCounter is a great Twitter service that offers updated statistics of your followers, the users you’re following, and daily tweets. You can also compare absolute growth of multiple twitter accounts or contrast them with your competitors’ expansion, enabling you to track, measure, and redesign your strategy.

Twitter Analyzer: This is an interesting tool — if you love using Google Analytics then this will impress you. You can see how many of your followers are currently online, who retweets your messages, what people are writing about you, Twitter following stats, your tweeting habits, and much more. Twitter Analyzer puts your stats in chart form, making them easy to understand.

Twitturly: Twitturly tracks the URLs flying around the Twitterverse and provides a quick, real-time view of what people are talking about on Twitter. Each time someone tweets a URL to their followers, Twitturly takes note of it and applies it as a vote for that URL. The more votes a URL has in the last 24 hours, the higher it ranks on Twitturly’s Top100.

Tweettronics: Tweettronics is a tool to analyze, discover, track, and engage with Twitter conversations about your products, brands, and topics.

Twitalyzer: Twitalyzer is a free tool to evaluate the activity of any Twitter user and report on dozens of useful measures of success in social media. This powerful tool can help you measure the influence, popularity, velocity, and generosity of your Twitter account.

Tweeps: What do they tweet about? How much do they tweet? How social are they? Do they use hashtags? Share URLs? Tweeps answers these questions and more. It analyzes the content of Twitter users’ tweets to find interesting statistics about them, and updates them several times a day. You can use Tweeps to help you decide who to follow, who you would like to be following you, or just to discover interesting information about Twitter users.

Monitter: As its name implies, it’s a simple Twitter monitor that let you “monitter” the Twitter world for a set of keywords and watch what people are talking about in real time.

Spy: Spy is an easy-to-use tool that visualizes the conversations on Twitter, Friendfeed, Flickr, blogs, and other social networks and enables you to listen in on the interactions you’re interested in.

TwiBuzz: TwiBuzz is a tool that tells you how often people are using Twitter to tweet your favorite keywords in real time. It plots the current and historical tweet rate in tweets per minute (TPM) for your search terms. TwiBuzz tracks a predefined list of terms, but you’ll find that it’s easy to add to that list. Once a term is added, TwiBuzz will have its first TPM data point for that query within a few minutes.

Emotionstream: Emotionstream is a data mining research project that searches for emotion patterns on Twitter. The goal behind this project is to develop algorithms to find trends about what is making people happy in real time by using Twitter data.

Klout: Klout allows you to track the impact of your opinions, links, and recommendations across your social graph. It collects data about the content you create, how people interact with that content, and the size and composition of your network. From there, it analyzes the data to find indicators of influence and helps you interpret the data.

Web2express: Web2express Digest uses open semantic and NLP tools to analyze millions of Twitter conversations and blogs. It auto-discovers trending topics from fresh Web content and enables you to view new Web conversations around topics, enabling efficient monitoring of products, brands, companies, or competitors in real time.

BackTweets: This Twitter monitoring tool is used to search for particular links on Twitter. It also has an advanced search option which makes your searching more flexible.

Are you using any of these tools to monitor your brand or products on Twitter?

 

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