The Web has empowered consumers in many ways, giving them new methods for finding, researching, and buying products. Marketing communication as a two-way dialogue emerged in response to these changes in behavior. People no longer rely solely on TV/newspaper/magazine ads, billboards, direct mail, email, banner ads, and other traditional outbound marketing channels to learn about new products. These methods are now viewed as too intrusive, especially among younger consumers who regularly tune out the tactics. So what’s the difference between inbound and outbound marketing, anyway?
The Pages Overview Guide (PDF)
The full Pages Product Guide (PDF)
- The Pages Learning video, a walk-through with Facebook’s product experts
Social media connoisseur Mari Smith has written a fabulous guide for businesses about how to use Facebook’s new Timeline design for best results. Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – 21 Key Points To Know contains a wealth of information and step-by-step instructions to help brands get the most out of the new format.
Marketers continue to question the value they get from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Many don’t know any more about how to measure engagement and what benefits it offers brands than when social media marketing first took off a few years ago. Even though current thinking dictates that social media outreach is essential to successful brand marketing, the vast majority of marketers have trouble quantifying its benefits and how it contributes to ROI. Adding to the confusion are the myriad ways of measuring social media and the availability of more social media monitoring tools than you can shake a proverbial stick at.
One of the problems is scaling. In a traditional advertising campaign, marketers learn immediately whether or not they got it right because ROI can be directly correlated over time to the initiative. Once the static ad is placed (whether it’s a banner ad, a Google ad, or a TV ad that runs on a popular show), the campaign essentially runs itself, making it easy to quantify the effort/time required and the contribution it makes to a company’s income. On the other hand, social marketing requires a dedicated staff that works constantly to monitor, track, and react/respond to the fire hose of brand chatter that goes on twenty-four hours a day. This can present some organizational issues in terms of managing and quantifying the work, and it can be a slippery slope for marketing departments because their daily activities can easily morph into full-time publishing duties, leaving little room for strategizing and planning and making it more difficult to quantify results.
One of the main pitches social networks make to brands is that placing ads on these platforms gives marketers the ability to leverage the power of users’ networks to share content, creating brand awareness and improving sales. There have been a number of studies on this topic, including one from Nielsen in 2011 which found that 76% of U.S. consumers trust recommendations from personal acquaintances more than other forms of advertising. Facebook rolled out some new premium advertising products at the end of February that emphasize harnessing these friend connections to make advertising innately more social and help brands accomplish this goal — Facebook advertisers will now be able to distribute ads to fans of companies in news feeds, the right-hand column, and in a log-out message; these ads will also be in the news feed of its mobile app.
On the heels of this introduction, Nielsen has released the results of a new study showing that social ads are recalled 55% more than those that don’t allow people to share ad content with friends. “Social ads are those served to users who have friends that are fans of or have interacted with the advertised brand and prominently call the relationship out,” Nielsen says, “while non-social ads are served to the remainder of the Facebook population”. It should be noted that Nielsen is a Facebook partner, and has created the online system that enables Facebook advertisers to improve their campaign measurement effectiveness and online reach.
People like to collect things. Sports memorabilia, carnival glass, stuffed animals, you name it. Pinterest, the new social-media darling, took note of this behavior and created an easy-to-use site where people can share their interests in the form of pictures. I just started playing around with the platform, collecting images about social media and marketing and other topics.
The site is beautifully designed and truly engaging. It has been around since 2009, but it’s resonating with users now and experiencing explosive growth. comScore reports that Pinterest hit 10 million unique U.S. visitors faster than any site in history. The average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site, compared to 2.5 hours on Tumblr, and 7 hours on Facebook, but a recent study by Shareaholic shows that Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn — combined.
The purpose of any piece of data you use in your business is to help you make better decisions. These decisions can be very simple, such as replying to someone’s tweet about your brand or to a comment a customer posts on your Facebook page. Or they can be very complex, such as launching a new product. Whatever the case, data is supposed to help you make those decisions faster while getting better results.
With more than 100 million tuning in to watch each year, the Super Bowl has long been a mecca for advertisers. Brands have historically unveiled some of the best commercial spots of the year during the game, which they’ve kept under wraps for months. These ads are pricey; not only are production values high (read costly), but the average expense for broadcasting an ad this year is $3.5 million per 30 seconds.
Watching the Super Bowl used to mean hanging out with your friends, eating lots of fattening appetizers, and being glued to the widescreen TV to not only watch the game, but to watch the commercials, too. This time around, the element of surprise is gone — advertisers have been posting their ads on Facebook, YouTube, and their own websites, some for weeks. About half of the game commercials are estimated to be online now. Instead of holding the spots back this year, advertisers have been trying generate excitement by making it easier for consumers to watch, share, and discuss the ads ahead of the broadcast. This has moved the next-day buzz and the discussion everyone usually has (which ads were great, which weren’t) to the weeks leading up to when the game is actually played.
There’s an ongoing debate about the role social media should play in K-12 education. As a result, schools have been especially slow to adopt social technologies. Advocates point to the benefits social media offers students, and critics want to remove social media from classrooms, insisting that there be more regulation. Finding a happy medium has become a challenge.
For higher education, the story is different. When used as an educational tool, colleges and universities have found that social media enhances the learning experience by enabling students and teachers to connect and interact in new ways beyond the classroom. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sites promote collaboration and discussion, and students have embraced them as a means to ask questions and exchange ideas.
Social media is now an essential component of doing business. It’s important for marketers to keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape so they can align their strategies and achieve the results they’re looking for. Here’s a list (in alphabetical order) of some great social media blogs to read in 2012. They all have unique voices that cover a wide range of social-media-related topics, news, and trends. From tips to tactics to measurement, there’s something for everybody.
Social media marketers always wonder when the best time is to post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and the myriad of other social platforms for optimum customer engagement. Is it in the morning, since many people check their Facebook page before they go to work? Is midday better because users look at their Twitter stream while they’re eating lunch? Is evening best? Which days of the week generate the most engagement? And what about B2B versus B2C — are the dynamics different?