3 Reasons Why Social Listening Is A MUST For Marketers

Whether you’re a digital marketer tracking the launch of a new product or a content creator looking to up your game, the primary goal of any marketer remains the same – to promote a product or service to a target audience with the ultimate goal of driving awareness and sales.

To do this, marketers previously needed to invest in costly tracking tools and research programs. However, the advent of social listening has made it possible for marketers to monitor campaign performance, get consumer insights, source new influencers, and much more – simply by tracking mentions of a particular topic of interest on the internet.

Read on to find out how the role of a marketer can be made more manageable with the help of social listening.

Campaign Tracking & Reporting

Digital marketers who run marketing campaigns understand the importance of tracking conversions, CPCs, CTRs, and other quantitative metrics – but how sure are you that these are the right metrics to measure success? While generating traffic or making sales are great performance outcomes, it’s important to dig deep into the organic conversations as well.

Social listening provides marketers with an insight into:

  • Key conversation themes being discussed: What kind of conversations is your campaign driving among audiences?
  • Overall sentiment: Are there any aspects of your campaign, brand, or product that may be receiving negative sentiment? What are these negative sentiments in relation to?
  • Campaign share of voice: How much more or less is my campaign being talked about online in comparison to my competitors’ campaigns?
20/Twenty Social Listening Tool: Sentiment Charts

At the end of a marketing campaign, having a combination of qualitative and quantitative insights will provide more holistic learnings that can be integrated into future marketing campaign strategies.

Content Marketing

Gone are the days when marketers could rely solely on their sixth-sense and gut feeling to direct their content strategies. Given the time and resources it takes to develop content, why wouldn’t you want to ensure that it’s engaging and relevant to your brand’s audience?

Social listening offers content marketers a wealth of data to get inspiration and ideas from, such as user-generated content and viral content.

User-Generated Content

Coming up with fresh content can be a daunting and lengthy task, especially if you’re feeling uninspired. What could be a better way to promote your brand or product, besides leveraging on existing content created by your own consumers? By using social listening to track what consumers are sharing about your brand or product, you’re bound to find high-quality photos, videos, or reviews that can be re-shared on your brand’s social pages.

Trending & Viral Content

Once upon a time, memes and viral videos were only circulated on social media by the average person. Brands have since recognised the engagement and interest driven by these memes, hijacking them and creating marketable content out of it.

Take the 10 Year Challenge for instance – what started as a challenge for individuals to share side-by-side photos of themselves 10 years apart, became an avenue for brands to show how they have evolved (the glow up of the Xbox controller), or remained the same (like Lego).

Xbos & Lego's 10 Year Challenge

But how can you stay on top of trends? And more importantly, how do you know if a trend is worth riding on? The 20/Twenty social listening platform offers some useful features to determine if a trend may go viral:

  • Impact Score™: Circus Social’s proprietary algorithm that assigns scores to online content depending on the volume and type of engagement received. The higher the Impact Score, the more engaging the content is.
  • Virality™: A predictive feature that uses advanced machine learning technology to identify content that is already viral, as well as content that is likely to go viral. If you spot content that is likely to go viral, it may be worth leveraging on it.

In addition to the above metrics, our Trendspotting Checklist is another great way to assess if, and when, your brand should hop on a social media trend.

Influencer Identification

With the rise of social media, celebrities are not the only ones brands are engaging for endorsement. Consumers are now looking to online influencers for product information, and these advocates definitely help nudge purchase decisions. Despite numerous studies supporting the impact of these online personalities in driving conversions, most brands lack a data-driven approach in the selection of their influencer community.

There are many layers to consider when qualifying an influencer, and since most of their content is on social media, social listening comes in handy for marketers who wish to discover and track their online performance. If your brand is just starting to leverage influencer marketing, your team will likely find themselves asking “Who should I engage?” and “Where can I find them”?

Step 1: Quantitative Analysis

The first step is to explore the digital ecosystem and narrow down who are the main personalities driving conversations in your industry, what their persona is, and if it fits your brand proposition. Metrics to consider include:

  • Impact Score™: A proprietary algorithm that assigns scores to online content depending on the volume and type of engagement received. The higher the Impact Score, the more engaging the content is.
  • Engagement scores (likes, shares, comments, views): Influencers with high engagement metrics such as likes are great, but individuals with more comments and shares are indicative of a stronger engagement with their followers.
  • Overall post sentiment: If your influencer is driving more negative sentiments than positive, they may not be the best fit for your brand or product.
20/Twenty Social Listening Tool: Influencer Identification Chart

Step 2: Qualitative Assessment

Once you have qualified prospective influencers based on digital metrics, the next step will be to deep-dive into their posts and conduct a qualitative analysis on their page personality, content, and overall alignment with your campaign objectives. Even if you are only engaging the influencer for a short period of time, their profile and identity outside of your campaign will shape consumers’ perception of your brand. 


If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about how marketing teams can leverage on social listening, drop us an email at insights@circussocial.com and we’ll be in touch!

3 Ways to Leverage on Social Listening for (more) Effective Digital Marketing

As we usher in the Lunar New Year, it’s a good time for us to look back on the 2018’s highs and lows.

Did you achieve the targets and hit the digital marketing and KPI’s you set? If not, are you making the most out of the information you gathered about your consumers and achieving high engagement & association scores linked to your objectives?

Leveraging on social listening to understand consumer habits, benchmark and track conversations can do wonders and perfectly complement your marketing strategy.

Here’s how!

Identify Conversation Themes and Brand Associations

Maintaining brand image and driving positive associations requires a structured plan that is built on consumer insights and spotting opportunities from competitive tracking.

The digital marketing conversation

To do this effectively, we encourage our clients to dive into the conversations that netizens are having and focusing on the key category themes that your brand or competitors are mostly mentioned in. Identify common phrases and emotions to get an idea on what netizens associate your brand with. It could be an emotion or a consumption moment; You’ll be surprised at the type of chatter you can find on social media.

How you can make use of it

By identifying these common conversation themes, you can streamline and optimize your content calendars for various digital channels for an optimal digital marketing strategy. Work with your social media leads or brand ambassadors to map out your communication materials for campaigns that are in line with category conversations.  This allows you to strengthen your brand voice by sharing content linked to existing themes or topics of discussion that your audience is already engaging in.  . Showing your understanding of the key topics that consumers’ discuss and ask about, is important if you want engagement and traction online.

 

Spot popular channels to get targeted/effective reach

Marketing on all social media channels would probably get a lot of reach for your brand, but are you really reaching the audience that matters to you? Are your ad placements and reach numbers converting into leads fast enough? Are they the right channels that are inline with your consumer behavior? If they’re not, then probably you need to rethink about your digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing today

Why aren’t my reach numbers converting into leads?

Paid media can be a hefty investment so it’s important to target areas that have high traffic and an audience base that talks about relevant topics. For example, if you are marketing electronics to people aged between 21 and 25, then perhaps placing ads and banners on popular E-Commerce sites, might get you a higher click-through-rate as compared to placing it on search engine portals. Determine popular “hang outs” by looking into your consumer online habits (e.g. Do they leave reviews on sites or comment directly on brand ambassadors’ pages? If they are camera-lovers, do they visit Hardwarezone or Nikon Rumours?). You can then focus on these sites for paid media to effectively target your audience.

You might also need to consider the type of content, messaging and communication style per channel to create more relevant content. Think about the types of questions your audience is asking on these channels, the pain points they regularly share, and what types of thought-leadership and educational content you can create to drive organic traffic, or boost your paid media as well. Put out your ears to social listening.

 

Establish Engagement Level Norms during the Year: During Campaigns, and Quiet Periods

“We have to be Always-on!”

That’s something that many of us believe in, but what happens when you are “off ?” Getting traction during periods where your brand does not have a big launch or activation can be a challenge. Instead of aiming to achieve such high traction all the time, establish some engagement norms to identify a healthy traction range for your brand.

Social platforms and digital marketing

What do you mean by a healthy range for engagement?  

Identify the level of engagement that your brand and their biggest competitors typically garner on a weekly or monthly basis. Stay in tune with the online behaviour and patterns of your consumers. This average can serve as a benchmark as to how much traction your brand should be gathering. Deviating too far from it will be an alert for you to re-look your social media engagement strategies and identify opportunities to act. You can even take it one step further by identifying an upper and lower limit of engagement levels to see how much your engagement levels can afford to fluctuate.

Instead of aiming to achieve high traction all the time, establish some engagement norms.

The key takeaway is to understand your audience. Social media intelligence and social listening can tell you a lot on your key target market and provide insights into consumer behaviour. From brand awareness to brand associations, these are just some of the ways that you can make use of social listening to improve your digital marketing strategies. So the question is, have you been listening?

7 Ways To Achieve Direct Response Marketing

Online marketing can go in millions of different directions, but the one marketers seem to stick with the most is direct response marketing.

This type of marketing inspires an immediate response from consumers. You might want more people to sign up for your e-newsletters, attend your webinars or simply buy something from you. With this type of marketing, you can easily judge the success of your efforts based on the level of response.

There are two basic approaches to this type of marketing: the one-shot and the campaign. Both have the ability to deliver good results and drive up your profits, but different companies will find different uses for each approach.

The one-shot is a narrowly targeted ad, email, postcard or letter that urges consumers to act, almost always to buy. Marketers first find a problem that their product or service will solve and then work tirelessly to define the target audience so they can be sure their ad is going to the right people. Once they have a problem and target carved out, marketers create a strong ad to put in front of consumers.

The campaign approach begins like the one-shot, with a strong marketing ad. However, the goal is different. With the campaign, you don’t need to sell products and services right away. Instead, you want people to join your mailing and emailing lists so you can send them frequent updates, newsletters and coupons, which encourages purchasing over a period of time.

Lead

So now that you know what direct response marketing is, let’s take a look at seven awesome direct response strategies that will help your profits grow.

Begin With A Story

One of the best ways to put a consumer into the right frame of mind for your product or service is to open with a story or narrative. You’ll often see this in infomercial ads that feature people confronted by a problem who use a product or service to solve a problem.

Life Alert, the medical alert system with the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” slogan illustrates this strategy. This ad includes a testimonial from a concerned daughter who wants to be sure that her elderly mother, who lives alone, is safe. The alert system has a button on a lanyard that can be worn around the mother’s neck. If she falls and can’t get to the phone, she presses the button, which calls for an ambulance.

Life

A story gives readers something to connect with. They can relate to the situation and will feel the need to solve the problem similar to the person in the ad. This story reaches out to all sons and daughters with elderly relatives who live alone and offers peace of mind.

Become An Expert In Attention-Interest-Action

John Caples, one of the leading names in the history of advertising, swore by the research-based approach, what he called “scientific advertising.” With this in mind, he developed the Attention-Interest-Action (AIA) plan, the three-step process to creating a knock-out ad. Here’s what it means:

  • Attention: Get the audience’s attention and fast!
  • Interest: Keep that attention and further pique it.
  • Action: Present them with a valid reason to act and tell them how to do it.

Caples always placed great emphasis on the action part and deemed any campaign that failed to deliver actions as a dud, no matter how cool and creative it looked.

Define The Ultimate Appeal

When someone is purchasing a product or service, what is the one thing about the product or service that is the most appealing? Maybe a woman buys a designer skirt to appear more professional to her peers. A student might buy a laptop that suits all of his gaming needs.

Dior

Your goal is to determine the most appealing aspect of your product and push that into the faces of your potential consumers. A good marketer will appeal to the human emotions that are timeless and shared by nearly all consumers. Try some of these:

  • Make more/save money
  • Prestige
  • Better health
  • Bring comfort (both physical and emotional)
  • Reduce fat
  • Banish worrying thoughts

There are many more, but these appeals are considered most common. Luxury car dealers want to appeal to a buyer’s sense of prestige, showing them how their cars will bring drivers prestige. Diet pills and exercise equipment sellers like to show before-and-after pictures of people who have lost weight and body fat by using either a diet pill or exercising on a certain machine.

Message, Not Medium

Have you ever seen a commercial that made you laugh, but you can’t remember what they were actually selling? Or have you ever stared too long admiring an image, but completely forgot to look at what the image was supposed to sell?

These are examples of mediums overtaking the message. Though a funny ad or a striking image can instantly capture a person’s attention, it can also overpower the ad and cause viewers to completely miss the message.

The trick is to harmonise the message with the medium. Keep the Attention aspect of AIA interesting, but not too interesting that your viewers never make it past the medium. Keep typeface simple and don’t let the colours overtake the ad. Let it all work together to showcase your message.

Offer An Incentive

Companies like Steve Madden and ModCloth use two-step direct response campaign when they offer discounts to consumers just for signing up for emails. Consumers agree to receive updates and are given a small coupon to entice them to buy. Once they see the product and are satisfied with it, they’ll be more apt to buy from the company again.

ModCloth

Software service and other types of services like to offer free-trials to encourage people to sign up. After trying the product, consumers will be better convinced to purchase a subscription or an ongoing service.

If you’re worried about getting people to the site in the first place, remember that you can advertise these incentives online and in print ads. Include your website address so people know where to find you.

Try AdWords

When it comes to direct response, nothing is more direct than Google AdWords. This pay-per-click service allows you to target certain keywords. When someone types in those keywords, banner ads will appear alongside the search results. They’ll even appear on Google’s partnership websites.

You’ll know you’re getting your name into the hands of people who are actively searching for your product or service. You also won’t pay until someone clicks the ad to your site.

There are a few different types of ads to try:

  • Offer that incentive mentioned above: “Sign up for get 15% off your first purchase.”
  • Make a bold, yet true statement or warning: “Don’t buy this without reading this first.”
  • Pose a question: “Thinking about remodelling your kitchen?”

Test Everything in Direct Response Marketing

And when you’re done, test it again.

Think for a minute about Coca Cola’s current ad campaign. Is it the same campaign they ran last year? Five years ago? Absolutely not. Coca Cola knows that its market is constantly changing and the only way to know if you’re reaching them is to test your websites, headlines, ad copies and images again and again.

Coca

Take advantage of free programs like Google Analytics and Pingdom to monitor your website and sales progress. Test different markets until you see a definite upturn in your sales.

In short, direct response marketing is something of an art form. With the right components, you can create something memorable that will stick with viewers long after they’re put down the ad or closed their email.

7 Social Media Trends and What The Hell To Do With Them

Social media marketers are forever on the lookout for trends that will not just work the best for their brand, but also make them stand out amongst their competitors.

Considering 42% adults online are present on multiple social networking sites for personal and business purposes; staying out dated is totally out of question.  So we decided to give you a comprehensive look at the top social media trends this year and that\’s not all! We came up with a few dos and don\’ts for each to help you create an effective strategy.

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1. Content Repurposing

Content Repurposing is all about using existing content to create another piece of content so that it looks different from the original, but conveys the same message. With content marketing still ruling the digital world, content repurposing is a growing trend this year because it saves on a lot of time that marketers will have to invest in creating unique content.

Facts You Should Know

  • Businesses that blog attract 67% more leads than those who don\’t.
  • 58% of B2B companies are increasing their content marketing budget this year to avoid being hit by Google updates like Penguin and Panda. (Source)

We spoke to Alex Stojkovic, Marketing and Communications Manager of Blue Pencil Information Security Inc., who shared his thoughts on content repurposing: “In my opinion, especially in this day and age, \”quality content\” will always surpass \”quantity content.\” I\’m sure many will argue my opinion, however the bottom line is, the more people who enjoy, discuss, like, retweet and share your quality content, the greater the chance it will get picked up. Imagine for a second, you generate a \”home-run\” article, photo, infograph or document that gets picked up by a substantially larger website? With your content being picked up, you gain more exposure, more backlinks and consequently more viewership.\”

\"Alex1\"

2. Customer Service

Brands are increasingly using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to offer customer services to their audience instead of the conventional help lines. People these days don\’t really prefer being put on hold by customer service help lines and think social profiles are the best places to raise their opinions and issues for them to be resolved.

Facts You Should Know

  • 42% of audience use social media for raising issues related to brand products and services, and expect a 60 minute response time.
  • Out of the 42%, 24% of the audience above 12 years of age expect a 30 minute response time irrespective of their time of contact. (Source)

3. Video Marketing

Video marketing is a trend that involves incorporating videos in your marketing strategy to promote your products/ services instead of using the conventional advertisements and textual content.

Studies show that videos are received 50x more by the audience than textual content. It has a proven record of being an effective way to market themselves for non-profit organizations.

Facts You Should Know

  • About 100 hours of videos are uploaded every minute on YouTube.
  • Online video audience is nearly 84.5% in the US.
  • By 2017, videos will account for 69% of consumer internet traffic.
  • Branded Vines have 4 times the impact YouTube videos do. (source: comScore and Cisco)

4. Storytelling

Storytelling is a popular trend amongst marketers from 2013. Here they promote their brand\’s products/ services in a series of events through a narrative. Who doesn\’t like a good story?

Facts You Should Know     

  • About 50% of internet users look for interesting stories on social media during their work break hours.
  • A relatable story line on why the audience needs your products/ services is 50x more effective in increasing your sales than directly nudging them to make a purchase.

5. Social Advertising

The use of advertisements on the various social media platforms to promote the brand\’s products and services amongst a larger audience. It\’s a great way to reach out to millions of people at a relatively low cost. 

Facts You Should Know

  • According to Analytic Partners, 83% of Facebook users find advertisements intrusive in their News Feed as they are usually not of any use to them.
  • Twitter ads are received well by many according to Forbes, as they take up very less space on the Home Page.
  • Instagram advertising is being increasingly used for creating brand awareness.

Lior Degani, Co- Founder of Swayy shared with us the important factors of social advertising: \”Advertising on social media must include ROI measurement, so it’s important to A/B test your campaigns to figure out where you should invest more. You need to always use UTM parameters in the inbound links you add to your social media posts. For example, create a separate link to each variation of your promoted post using Google URL Builder, or use a different link to the same post you share on Facebook and Twitter to see the conversion differences among the networks for this specific post.\”

\"Lior1\"

6. Instagram Marketing

Marketers are increasingly using Instagram to promote their existing products/ services and offer teasers to their upcoming ones. Incorporating this trend in your strategy, is a guaranteed way to connect with your audience better and encourage more interaction.

Because if you haven\’t been keeping a tab on social media news, Instagram recently hit 200 million active users , and that accounts for a major chunk of almost every brand\’s target audience.

Facts You Should Know

  • Instagram has more than 200 million active users, including all age groups.
  • It is by far the best source of user generated content (UGC).
  • A majority of customers engage with brands indirectly through tags on Instagram.

7. Pinterest Marketing

One of the latest social platforms to be used increasingly by marketers is Pinterest. They use their accounts to curate pins relevant to their brands, also to promote their existing and upcoming lines of products/ services amongst a large target audience. Pinterest is a great platform to not only curate stories/ content around your brand but also the number of active users is significantly high.

Facts You Should Know

  • Pinterest is not a sales platform, it\’s a platform to drive in sales by sharing brand values, products, etc with the audience.
  • Pins that include a customized description along with the relevant hashtags, have a better reach than those which don\’t.
  • Verified accounts show up better on search results than a regular account.

Samsung\’s Boring Facebook Content Strategy Is A Big Hit!

Always on the lookout for the best content strategies being executed by brands the world over, we happened to stumble upon Samsung Mobile USA\’s Facebook page. As much as most of us really like their products and after services, we found their page to be nothing short of boring in an interesting way! Interesting, because their page gives a new meaning to personal touch. And the result is what every marketer looks forward to for their brand – engagement. Lots and lots of engagement.

Boring, because it\’s far too human. Here\’s a comprehensive look at their content strategy to get our point across.

The \’Human\’ Touch  

The marketers running this page firmly believe in tying back the roots of all their posts to the being \’relatable\’ rather than sounding too pushy for sales.

Images are the most shared content type across all social platforms and Samsung seems to be leveraging from the same.  Although these are mostly product shoots and don\’t feature real consumers, their images always gain a lot of likes, shares and comments because of the vibe they create. Something you\’ve been aiming at too?

Let\’s take a look at how Samsung leverages the most from images.

1. Indirect Promotion

Most of their images posted on Facebook contains their products, although done in an indirect way, it is still an obvious form of promotion that\’s done in a smart way. Isn\’t this an interesting way to tell their community how good Samsung\’s camera is?

Need another example of promotion? Have you seen Samsung\’s cool wrist gear?

2. Keeping Up With Events

Samsung sure doesn\’t skip a beat and with FIFA going on, there was just no chance they\’d lose out on a good conversation with their people.

3. Sharing Relevant Links

Even though the share rate of links is just about 9%, it\’s always a good idea to direct your customers in the direction of the action you want them to take rather than having to fend for themselves. An interactive promotional post along with a link could work magic.

Apart from their regular posts, we found the following things incorporated on their page, very engaging:

  • Guide To Galaxy: Now they have a huge range of gadgets under the name Galaxy and many might get confused about how they could make the most out of the one they use. This guide lets you choose the device and gives you a step by step accordingly.
  • Owner\’s Hub By Samsung: This for all those who own a Samsung product. Just like memberships, the hub offers its members discounts, invites to events, etc.  
  • Samsung Upgrade: Looking for a software upgrade for your device? You\’ll find them all here. Not just find, but also be notified of an upcoming upgrade.
  • Samsung Events: Love attending promotional events? Be notified of the events that interest you using this.
  • Customer Service:  Difficult to get through their help lines? Here\’s another way of availing customer services. All you need to do is fill up a short inbuilt form and submit.

The Big Question  

If you\’ve read the post thoroughly, we\’re sure you noticed a pattern here. The company that rolls out most of its products with a \’Designed for Humans\’ or \’Designed for Life\’ slogan, seems to be taking it too seriously with the human dominated posts. Not that we\’re complaining; these posts are driving in a lot of engagement for Samsung, and that\’s the end goal of every strategy a marketer works on.

But what comes off from this post is the big question that if a boring content strategy like this could work wonders, why the hell have we been spending hours trying to create different posts every time?

Do people tend to connect more with content that reflects them? Is this a strategy that all brands could adopt? We\’d love to know your take on the same.

Here\’s Why Brands Should Be Using User Generated Content

Content Marketing

..is still in news!

With the rise in the importance of social media marketing and SMO, content marketing has been the hot topic of conversation amongst digital marketers for some time now. However, creating unique content on a regular basis can be time consuming as well as really expensive (if you\’re outsourcing), restricting the budget for all other business promotion activities.

Here\’s where user generated content (UGC) comes in to save the day! It is one of the most affordable and engaging ways for brands to produce content without having to rob the nearest bank. According to a study conducted by Millennials, over half the Americans trusted user generated content way more than the content offered by the brand itself on its website. UGC is becoming a common practice today and is no longer only restricted to small sized businesses on a budget.

User Generated Content 101

User generated content refers to the information related to the brand published by the consumers instead of that framed by the brand itself or by contributors paid for it. The information can be in the form of photos, videos, forum posts, product reviews, guest posts or posts made on the brand\’s social profiles. Here\’s an interesting infographic on UGC by Ipsos MediaCT:

\"UGC

6 Benefits Of Using User Generated Content

Still having second thoughts about using the user generated content in your strategy? Here are a few reasons that will convince you a 100% into optimizing it:

1. Understand Your Audience Better

When you use the content posted by your user, it not only helps you with the content strategy, but also lets them raise their opinions – good or bad, regarding your products. UGC makes understanding what your customers love (or hate) the most about your products and services, easy; which gives you the chance to better them.

Note: Make understanding your audience your primary goal.

2. Positive Customer Experience

Once they know you\’re paying heed to their conversations and trying to cater to all their needs, the customer experience you offer automatically becomes better.

Note: If there are far too many complaints from your customers, try and resolve each individually (not commonly) and DO NOT ignore them. Build a stronger community!

3. Your Posts Reach Knows No Boundaries

People love UGC!

Internet users love browsing through content on what people have got to say regarding a brand that interests them.  UGC is as good as customer reviews and the freedom to post these reviews in any form (text, images, audio, video or any other multimedia ) makes it all the more fun for the customers. Almost everything we come across on social media is UGC.

Note: The stronger the bond you establish, the stronger is the probability of them promoting your products in their circles (and better the reach of your posts).

4. Trustworthy Content

A lot many people out there (like me), consult existing users of products/services of a brand, before investing in them. UGC serves as real time content that people trust more than the content offered by brands on their websites, which is usually tagged as \’fabricated\’ by audience the world over.

Note: If you encourage UGC, chances are that your potential customers will trust your products/ services more; automatically increasing your sales.

5. Social Media Optimization

Tired of working towards optimizing on social platforms? UGC helps up your social presence with the help of your community. The community helps you create a lot of content around the keywords you\’re focussing without having to spend hours doing so yourself.

Note: The hashtags your customers use while posting content related to your brand, aren\’t always useless!

6. Affordable And Profitable

And should not be left unused. Brands set aside their marketing funds for different campaigns and focussing primarily on content marketing is just not possible. Hiring in-house or freelance writers isn\’t always an option for brands (small or big). UGC is an effective alternative for the same.

 Note: You not just get great content, but establish better bonds with your audience and become more socially present. Profitable from all angles.

How Do You Implement User Generated Content?

Too busy with other promotion activities to come up with ideas to use UGC? Here are some ideas we think are awesome:

1. Customized Cover Pictures

We are always about how you should keep updating your social profiles, be it Facebook or Twitter and since you can\’t really do much about the \’about\’ for your brand, here is something that you can frequently change – cover picture. All thanks to UGC!

Starbucks has been making use of this one for some time now. They change their Facebook cover picture on a weekly (or monthly) basis to feature images that have been Instagrammed by their customers using the hashtag #starbucks.

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Psst.. our Cover Photo Live App lets you pull in images from Instagram and create customized cover pictures for your social profiles. Give it a shot!

2. Run Contests

Who doesn\’t like winning? Run contests that encourage your audience to post their content related to a new product of your brand on your social profile along with a custom hashtag and share them in their circles. Give away small prizes (it could merely be a feature on your cover picture) to the one who is able to draw maximum number of likes. (Smart promotion happening here!)

3. Acknowledge Consumers

It\’s always a good idea to encourage your audience to keep contributing content and to do that, you need to acknowledge them! Incorporate a \’featured contributor\’ of the month post in the content strategy of the week, that tags the person who has been posting about your brand the most.

Starbucks leverages from this one too!

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Many brands are already leveraging from user generated content. It\’s either taking over your audience\’s hearts or giving your competitors the chance to do the same. Choose wisely and get going!

 

Find Influencers for Your Brand with Keyhole

Company: Keyhole

About: Keyhole is a real time social conversation tracker for some of the most popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Usage: This tool can be used by marketers to create effective content marketing strategies as it lets them focus on relevant keywords as well as stories trending in their audience’s circles to keep up with their interests.

Highlight: Keyhole offers a feature that gives you insights on what your brand’s target audience is talking about, what you need to talk about on your social profiles and which keyword is the most effective at that time.

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What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing involves brands partnering with the top bloggers (read: social media influencers) in their fields to create more engaging and authentic content. This content is then shared in the influencer\’s circles, promoting the brand\’s products and services without seeming too focussed on sales.

In simpler words, it’s promotion through word of mouth.

Influencer marketing has become one of the most powerful tools to get a brand’s message to the relevant audience in an authentic manner. Be it promotion of a new product or an event to raise brand awareness, it’s a tried and tested way of driving in maximum engagement (from quality traffic).

Today, you see many brands like even Disney and LEGO successfully incorporating blogger promotions in their marketing strategies. And well, they have been doing it for a reason. That being, content. With content marketing on the rise, brands might run of ideas to create posts but these bloggers (read: influencers) are always going to come up with content that’s not just real, but authentic and unique.

What is Keyhole?

Keyhole is a real time social conversation tracker for some of the most popular social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For marketers, these are those platforms that are the most hard to keep track of trending topics on.

The tool lets you not just track the hashtags that are trending in your industry, but also helps you identify influencers who can promote your brand in relevant circles. Keyhole is a successful social media tool being used by the likes of Ogilvy, Uniqlo and TC Transcontinental.

Key Features of Keyhole

Keyhole has some unique features to offer to its users, here\’s a list of them and how to use them effectively:

1. Hashtag Tracking

hashtag

Every hashtag you see your audience using during conversations has a life span and it isn\’t too long. The trending hashtags change from time to time and it becomes hard to keep a tab on them. What you can expect from this hashtag tracker:

  • User-friendly interface where you choose what you\’re searching and which platforms you want to focus on
  • Your data is presented in graphs that are easy to interpret
  • The interactive dashboard allows you to pick which posts are more relevant to you

To give this tool a shot, we chose the keyword “content marketing” for the social platform, “Twitter” and this is what our dashboard look like:

keyhole1

The dashboard also includes a list of the most influential Twitter users talking about the keyword you specify and a list of the brands that are in competition with yours.

keyhole2

If you scroll down further, the dashboard gives you statistics on where your maximum traction is from – the location and the gender of the audience that is interested in the keyword you’re focusing on.

keyhole3

The dashboard also includes topics related to your keyword that are currently trending in your circles and where the content is being sourced from. This allows you to touch upon a range of topics that lets you cater to different interests of your audience.

keyhole4

2. Influencer Marketing

This feature eradicates the process of finding and then pursuing influencers who could promote your brand in relevant circles by using real time data to give you information on:

  • People receiving high engagement on specific topics.
  • People with high affinity towards your competitors.
  • People leading the conversations at the top notch industry events.

All the above is accomplished by this three step process:

influencer

  • Topical Search. Enter the topics, company names or hashtags relevant to your brand that influencers could be talking about.
  • Filter and Sort. The tool gives you statistical data on the trending topics, their reach, engagement, influencers and their bio. The interactive dashboard lets you pick which data is more relevant to you so that you can filter and sort accordingly.
  • Drilling Down. The dashboard gives you a vast arena full of conversations to explore. Start reading up the conversations that have led to maximum engagement and see which one your brand could contribute to.

3. Newsroom Intelligence

newsroomThis feature can let you focus on more than just the keyword you choose, it primarily gives you an idea on what to talk about in which circles.

91% of your target audience engages in conversations apart from those related to you. This feature gives you an insight on what’s trending in your audience\’s circles so that you can offer content on diversified topics and draw in more engagement on your fan pages.

Whether you are into media or are a publishing house, Keyhole offers you a dashboard full of stories that your readers are engaging with in real time, so that you don’t lose out on your audience’s interest.

Alternatives

If this tool doesn’t suit your needs, you can use 20/Twenty  for identifying influencers and also to create an effective content strategy.

5 Best Instagram Campaigns of 2014… So Far!

Instagram is a social media platform best used with a good #Hashtag. With the right type of content, and a little bit of interaction with your followers, you\’ll be able to build trust with your social media audience, possibly go viral, and best of all – have some fun! Read on for five excellent examples from companies so far in 2014.

#IAmPorter

\"#iamporter\"

Net-a-Porter decided to promote their print magazine launch by making their news fans the stars. The magazine launched an iOS app titled “I Am Porter.” The app would turn them into a cover models for the magazine using their own selfies which they would then tag #IAmPorter.

The success of this campaign is at the very basics of Instagram marketing: you take your fans and make them the stars. In this case, you make the cover models for a hot new magazine! Who wouldn’t want in on that?

#JukeDNA

\"2.NissanJuke\"

Nissan Europe looked to launch their popular new hatchback, the Juke, through a hashtag called #JukeDNA. Fans of the car were able to take a picture of themselves and use that hashtag on Instagram to have Nissan Europe tweet back a custom photo of themselves with the new Juke.

As the above photo clearly shows, they didn’t take themselves too seriously and allowed their fans to just have fun with it. That was the true strength of this campaign, users had a laugh for a minute, got some notoriety from being mentioned by a major brand, and Nissan received a ton of free online content and exposure.

Burberry

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Burberry used the power of the celebrity to launch their next fragrance. And when you have money like Burberry has money, you get the original supermodel Kate Moss, and currently trending Cara Delevingne, to smush their cheeks together.

Why was this so successful? It was a candid, behind the scenes and intimate moment with two women who are not often seen in this light. Kate Moss doesn’t even have her own Instagram account, so fans of hers who go on Instagram are starved for content of hers.

#GetCovered

\"4.KerryWashington\"

Following the complete #fail of the initial campaign to get people using the new healthcare.gov website, something had to be done to get people signing up. This was especially true of young people who would likely skip out on insurance. Enter the #GetCovered campaign. This took off on Twitter at first, but it took a piece of paper and a little star power to get it going on Instagram.

When Kerry Washington sent out this video of herself using the #GetCovered hashtag, not only did she get 16,000 likes, but she also got people talking about health coverage outside of the usual joke about the poor website.

#MyCalvins

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Calvin Klein has long been known for their ultra thin, highly airbrushed models. On Instagram, they’ve decided to keep it real and have hired on a number actors, musicians, and yes, models to take unaltered pictures of themselves in their underwear, and encouraged every day people to submit photos too.

I can’t quite figure out why this campaign inspired so many photographs, likes, shares, and media coverage…was it…do you think…maybe it had something to do with all the hot, half naked men and women in their underwear?

Why Did These Instagram Campaigns Succeed?

Four out of five of these campaigns (remember, Kerry Washington was not a regular Instagram user who decided to get involved) clearly show the power of user generated content. The other one of the five? Well, it shows the power of two beautiful supermodels smushing their cheeks together.

Outside of the supermodels, it\’s possible for you, the average business owner, to find a way to generate exciting user content for your next Instagram campaign. Truly engaging with your fans is the key. With some luck, you may go viral and create a true sensation. With any amount of luck, you\’ll gain new fans as your followers help spread your brand message.

Iconosquare: Develop Your Instagram Strategy

Company: Iconosquare

About: Formerly known as Statigram, Iconosquare is a popular social media tool to help marketers analyse their Instagram accounts to create more effective marketing strategies.

Usage: Iconosquare is widely used as an Instagram viewer and for social analytics.

Highlight: The company has some really nifty tools for creating contests and making brand community management easy.

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A little while back, we shared with you the news how Instagram\’s growth over the last few months has been more than phenomenal. The platform hit 200 million active users and the infographic we created gives you the statistics you need to know.

Well, considering that marketers don\’t really miss out on a chance to promote their brands on various platforms and that most of you reading this are already making the most out of Instagram, here\’s a tool to help you analyze the success (or failure) of your strategy and make it better – Iconosquare.

What is Iconosquare?

Formerly known as Statigram, Iconosquare has gone through a massive rebranding process in the past and now, is in the news for its over 8 million users. It is one of the best social media tools that provide users with a better insight into their Instagram accounts.

“Anyone who uses Instagram should be on Iconosquare. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer who wants to see which pictures resonate best with your followings, or business of any kind looking to monitor social photo campaigns and initiatives”, says Mark Holder, Director, Partner Integrations at HootSuite Media Inc.

With a clientele like Coca Cola, Esprit, Samsung, Cathay Pacific and many more, this tool is a clear cut hit. Here are some good to know statistics about the company:

iconosquare

Key Features Of Iconosquare

1. Snapshots

The moment you login to Iconosquare, the team sends you an email to introduce one of its sweetest features – Snapshots. From the first time you posted on Instagram to your favourite Instagram accounts that you have high engagement activity with, Snapshots provide you with quick data about your account.

Instagram Instagram Summary Most Most Liked Media Favorite Favorite Instagramers

2. Instagram Viewer

You can use this feature to view your news feed, like photos and videos of other users, post comments, follow/ unfollow people and everything that you can do otherwise while using Instagram conventionally.

instagram

3. Hashtag Search

Looking for images/ videos around your brand but don\’t know how to look for them? This feature offers a search function wherein you can look for particular users or hashtags relevant to your brand to analyze the audience interested in your brand. We tried looking for social media tips and here\’s what we got:

hashtag-search-social-media-tips

hashtag-search-result

4. Instagram Feed Plug-in

The Instagram feed plug-in can be easily installed on either your Facebook profile or your Facebook page, which makes sharing your Instagram posts with your community easy. This plug-in can also be used to integrate platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr etc with your Instagram account.

This is a great plug-in to promote your account on various social profiles and keep your audience engaged.

Install Install The Instagram Feed Tab For Facebook

5. Engage Audience Through Photo/Video Contests

Iconosquare offers a range of tools to help you enhance brand awareness by creating frequent photo/ video contests. There are a range of tools offered to help you set up, promote, moderate, monitor and publish results of an Instagram contest all within the Iconosquare dashboard.

start

Here\’s what Iconosquare recommends following for a successful campaign:

step Set up your contest Engage Engage your communities Step Moderation Public Public page on Iconosquare step Promote your contest step Monitor activity tep Announce Winners

And if ever you run out of ideas, you can browse through the existing contests that your competitors are executing.

browse

6. Manage Conversations

This feature can be used to track conversations around your brand and in your audience\’s circles, send private messages (like on Twitter) to users in case the need arises. It is a great way to manage conversations, up the interaction with your followers and never miss out on their interests.

manage

7. Analytics

Iconosquare offers core analytics and statistics that help you build a better Instagram marketing strategy for your brand.  The analytics offered are – last 7 days, rolling month analysis, content, engagement, optimization and community. Here\’s a look at each of them:

Rolling Rolling month analysis Engagement Engagement Optimization Optimization Community Community

A Tool For Community Managers

Analyzing all the features and concluding that the tool is pretty nifty, here are 5 reasons why we think community managers must absolutely use this tool:

  1. Snapshot Readiness: Whether you want to share some fun facts or show off your popularity on Instagram to your communities on other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc, the tool offers you ready images strictly based on your Instagram statistics.
  2. Great Optimization: The Optimization feature offered by Iconosquare guides you to meeting your follower\’s interests with recommendations on the best time to post and the impact of the filters and tags you use on your posts.
  3. Easy Promotion: The easy installation of the Instagram feed tab on your Facebook page creates a link between the two platforms you\’re present on and makes all your Instagram posts discoverable by your Facebook community.
  4. Interesting Add-ons: Other features offered by this tool include a cover picture generator that uses up to 50 latest pictures from your account to create an interesting cover, a gallery widget and follow buttons to integrate your account to your blog/ website.
  5. Create Contests: Iconosquare offers a plethora of tools to help you set up, promote, monitor and analyze your contest campaigns. It also lets you take a look at the campaigns that your competitors are running, which not just gives you an idea on where you stand but also ideas to better your strategies.

If you haven’t given Iconosquare a shot, we suggest you do asap! You can also sign up for a free social listening trial 

12mass: A Tool For Efficient Customer Engagement

Company: 12mass

Website:  www.12mass.com

About: 12mass is a social media tool that uses Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) search engine and advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) and clustering tools to assimilate similar status updates around a business.

Usage: The tool can be used to track conversations on the two biggest social platforms – Twitter and Facebook. It also offers response suggestions based on real time analytics on the same to help you measure engagement levels on your social profiles.

Highlight: The A/B testing feature of this tool provides solid numbers after analyzing your social profiles, which is essential for analysis and optimization making it one of the most effective A/ B testing social media tools.

Focus On Customer Relationships

Businesses, big or small, often make the mistake of only offering their services to their audience instead of trying to build long term relations with them. We have time and again emphasized on the fact that if you don\’t reach out to your customers, you\’re not only going to lose your existing list but also a lot of prospects.

\"Hana\"

Hana goes on to share, \”According to Lithium studies, customers have high expectations for a quick response: 53 percent who expect a brand to respond to their Tweet demand that response comes in less than an hour, according to the Lithium-commissioned study by Millward Brown Digital. That figure skyrockets to 72 percent when they have complaints.

When companies don’t meet these lofty response expectations, 38 percent feel more negative about the brand and a full 60 percent will take unpleasant actions to express their dissatisfaction.\”

Are You Losing Customers?

Spend some time coming up with a few reasons why your customers may have left you. Here are some that we hear of the most:

  • They had complaints that remained unresolved.
  • They felt their suggestions were not being taken into consideration.

And the one that is taking you down..

  • They felt you did not \’care\’ about them.

How do you ensure this doesn\’t happen? Start talking to them! And here\’s where 12mass comes in.

What Does 12mass Do?

\”Brands that join the conversations and respond are relying on a large army of community managers and cross-platform social dashboards like HootSuite, Sprout Social and TweetDeck among others. However, these platforms only allow one-on-one interaction, which is simply not scalable. There is no way a brand can catch up with the influx of mentions this way\”, says Hana.

\"Hana2\"

Key Features Of 12mass

\”Brands can now group similar mentions and status updates and attend to them more efficiently with prepared responses of that specific group. Over time, engagement of each response is tracked and brands are able to know which one of them has higher CTR, mention-back rate or retweets rate\”, says Hana.

1. Ongoing A/ B Testing

\"ab-testing

This one is for those who love using analytics and A/ B testing to gauge the success of their social media strategies. This features uses the same A/ B testing process used while optimizing websites, running email campaigns and advertising letting you:

  • Measure the engagement on your social profiles from time to time.
  • Gain more satisfied customers.
  • Increase engagement by tracking conversations around you.

2. Suggested Responses

\"suggested-response

This feature lets you save your response to tweets/ posts as a draft and based on what responses you have sent out in the past, and their click through rates, it suggests the most engaging responses for the new interactive tweets/posts.

The feature lets you avoid having to use automation, be efficient and add a personal touch to your responses; making your fan page more relatable.

3. Dialog Decision Tree

\"decision-tree

This feature lets you build a dynamic decision tree based on the past conversations you\’ve had with your audience on your social profiles, using Natural Language Processing (NLP), clustering tools and engagement tracking.

This is the best to optimize conversations with customers.

4. Smarter Search

\"smarter-search

This feature not only lets you search for keywords around your business, but also people, mentions, Facebook comments and posts that are related to you. These can be filtered as per your preference of analyzing and tracking engagement – location, language, number of followers, images influential score, etc.

This search parameter takes into consideration real time activity so that you don\’t miss out on any conversation.

5. Track Your Progress

\"track-progress

This feature offers an easy to understand dashboard full of statistics that let you track the engagement level and click through rates on each of the tweets/ posts on your social profiles. This data is can be saved for later use to help you create a better strategy.

Why Should Marketers Use 12mass?

If the features haven\’t convinced you, here\’s why Hana thinks you should give 12mass a chance; \”Long gone is the battle for the number of likes and followers on social media accounts. Engagement is far more valuable than those numbers as it’s tied closely to ROI. Customers who are engaged on social media are more loyal to your brand and more likely to have it top-of-mind as compared to your less active counterpart. 12mass is a powerful tool to scale up conversations when you as one community manager can reach hundreds of people every day. What’s better? You can be sure that your responses are working! It is estimated to save you at least 2 hours every day responding to tweets.\”

Get A Free Trial

All you need to do to start with their free trial is, choose a social profile you\’d like to link it with, authorize the application to access the required information and enter your email id.

Here\’s a short video by 12mass to help you get the most out of this tool:

Have you given 12mass a shot? If not, we suggest you do!