How a Blogger can Build a Global Audience from Zero: Part One http://ow.ly/7bFLF
Sales driven by social media, and mobile retail are both set to play a bigger role in this year’s Christmas shopping season according to the IBM Coremetrics 2011 UK Christmas Season Readiness Report.
Using data gathered from more than 150 contributing UK retailers, IBM predicts that mobile traffic as a percentage of all retail site visits will hit double figures by Christmas 2011, having grown from just over 4 per cent to 7.2 per cent between November 2010 and May 2011. In the same time period, the contribution of mobile as a per cent of all online site sales nearly doubled, from 3.2 per cent to 6.1 per cent, which suggests further growth for mobile as a sales channel is likely in the run-up to Christmas.
The benchmark also found that mobile users exhibit a trend for fewer page views (5.8 compared with an average of 8.4, across all means of going online), spend less time on websites (4 minutes and 13 seconds, versus 6 minutes and 24 seconds across all means of going online) and display higher bounce rates to other sites (39.6 per cent compared with 32.8 per cent).
“Despite the attractiveness of engaging with customers on the move, mobile brings with it unique considerations and challenges,” said Marcel Holsheimer, global marketing executive for Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) for IBM. “Using a mobile device to browse, compare prices, check availability and store locations or make a purchase is convenient for the consumer, which can translate into significant conversion opportunities – but only if the etailer delivers a compelling mobile experience. Etailers therefore need to monitor and optimise the mobile browsing experience to counteract mobile users’ tendency for short and erratic periods online.”
Social media contribution to retailer site traffic also grew consistently during the 7 months covered by the report.
From a social media perspective, users behave in a more efficient manner in terms of sales conversion. They are twice as likely to convert, at an average rate of 11 per cent versus 6 per cent overall. This conversion rate, when viewed in conjunction with other behaviour, also suggests social users are more receptive to offers. Their high bounce rate of nearly 62 per cent, coupled with a low average time spent on the websites of just over 3 minutes, suggests they are responding to social media-only offers – such as Facebook coupons or exclusive offers advertised on Twitter.
“With the recession still very much front of mind, many savvy e-shopper are buying surgically,” said Holsheimer, “They know what they want and can hone in on it with far less browsing than in previous years. Smart etailers still have time to step up and expand their mobile and social networking platforms in time for this year’s festive season, as way to deepen engagement with their prized customers, strengthen their long-term loyalty – and, convert sales via the customer’s personal channel of choice.”
The IBM Coremetrics 2011 UK Christmas Readiness Report is available to download in full here http://measure.coremetrics.com/corem/getform/reguk/holiday2011-wp
About IBM Coremetrics Benchmark
The findings in this press release is based on data collected by Coremetrics Benchmark between November 2010 and May 2011. Coremetrics Benchamrk captures online marketing results and commerce data from more than 150 contributing UK retailers.
According to IBM‘s new, inaugural Global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Study, 68% of CMO’s are under prepared to manage the impact of key changes in the marketing arena that relate to social media.
The survey, based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,700 CMOs worldwide, highlighted that CMOs see four challenges as pervasive, universal game-changers in the world of marketing:
1.The explosion of data
2. Social media
3. The proliferation of channels and devices
4. Shifting consumer demographics.
When it comes to social media, CMO’s are acutely aware that social media is challenging older, mass-marketing assumptions, skill sets and approaches, and while the most proactive CMO’s are mining new digital data sources to discover what individual customers want, relatively few CMO’s are exploiting the full power of the digital or social media. In fact, only three-quarters use customer analytics to mine data, only 26% track blogs, only 42% track third-party reviews and only 48% are tracking consumer reviews. The reasons behind this are attributed to the fact that the tools, processes and metrics that CMO’s are using are not designed to capture and evaluate the unstructured data produced by social platforms.
More than half of all CMO’s think social media is a key channel for engaging with customers and four-fifths of respondents plan to use customer analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), social media and mobile applications more extensively over the next three to five years.
Of the top 10 priorities for managing the shift to digital technologies, 4 relate directly to social media, with another 3 potentially being impacted by social media. It’s also interesting to note that social media metrics appear as one of seven important measures for gauging marketing success – two years ago this would never have been the case.
The fact that so many global CMO’s are concerned about the impact of social media, and how they are going to resource, manage, analyse and measure it, highlights that social media is finally moving beyond the numbers of views or fans on various channels. CMO’s are starting to realise that social media can help achieve strategic objectives and transform their business if they invest in the right resource and planning and set metrics that match their key business goals.
Written by Jeff Bullas
I was involved recently with a telecommunications company that had been operating with no web site for nearly a year and its main form of marketing was cold calling …you know the type that call you in your office or home and offer you… that special latest mobile phone deal. So what was their target market.. every business that drew breath… and what value did they offer the cusomer except maybe a cheaper price… very little. So their marketing was made up of one strategy, cold calling. The marketing department consisted of staff calling for up to 6 hours per day and only booking one appointment in that time. People were literally hanging up on them. There is a better way! Our lives are so busy now and and with so much media noise and clutter that traditional marketing is becoming less and less efficient.
So how would a company stand out from the pack by using Internet Marketing such as a search engine optimised (SEO) web site, low cost blogs and inbound marketing instead of expensive traditonal marketing .
10 Tips To Stand Out From The Crowd In Your Industry
- Have a web site that helps your buyers and provides value with new interesting content that assists your buyers.. not just a static web site that doesn’t change.
- Offer content that shows how to do something with step by step instructions that adds value to your customers, or potential clients.
- Have a video on the web site showing something interesting about your industry, this can be even a Youtube video that you just provide the video link for.
- Target a Segment and really understand it by producing content on the web site that addresses their needs specifically.
- If you are passionate about your business, contribute to the conversations in the other blogs in your industry so you can start becoming known as a thought leader.
- Create a blog that keeps adding new content that helps place you further up the search engines rankings as search engines love new content.
- Create Links to sites that are also well known in your industry this will assist in your Search Engine Optimisation and get you up in the Google rankings.
- Join Twitter and start experimenting like putting links between twitter, your blog and web site.
- Join a social media site like Facebook and then join groups in your industry that are part of Facebook.
- Offer an E-book subscription that captures email from your online inquiries so you can start engaging with your clients and potential buyers .
Ths challenge with anything is just.. doing it… You can research forever but just start the journey. The one thing that a company can easily do is start a blog, and add a content to that blog and update it regularly. It is easy to do you, you can go to WordPress and set up a blog for free and be up and running within a very short time frame.
Originally written by Jeff Bullas
I have recently been reviewing social media in a general sense so a new study by Weber Shandwick on Twitter that I came across was an opportunity to provide a more specific social media channel review about Twitter, that looks at the current use by the Fortune 100 and how they are currently implementing Twitter across their companies.
Twitter is quite often dismissed by a lot of people as a platform that broadcasts inane pointless babble and conversations about, “what you had for breakfast” or “your weekend activities”. Most people are starting to realise that Twitter can be used for your business or brand in ways that are only limited by your creativity. Two other recent studies showed that the Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies and the Top 200 Non Profits in the USA were the leaders in their use of Social Media and Twitter as compared to the Fortune 500.
The major finding in essence, was that the Fortune 100 are really not utilizing Twitters full potential to engage, communicate, promote their brand and promote and drive a position of being a thought leader in their industry amongst many other shortcomings. So here are some rather telling statistics, facts and figures that show their sins of omission rather than a compelling example of best practice.
- 73 percent of Fortune 100 companies registered a total of 540 Twitter accounts.
- About three-quarters (76 percent) of those accounts did not post tweets very often.
- More than half (52 percent) were not actively engaged (This was measured by engagement metrics such as numbers of links, hashtags, references and retweets.)
- 50 percent of the Fortune 100 accounts had fewer than 500 followers, a small number in relation to the size and reach of a major corporation.
- 15 percent were inactive; of those,11 percent were merely placeholder accounts — unused accounts to protect corporate names against so-called brand-jacking on Twitter — and 4 percent were abandoned after being used for a specific event.
- 26 percent of their Twitter accounts were primarily used as a one-way flow of information (either by RSSnews feeds or manual tweets) that offered no engagement with followers.
- Tweets did not provide opinions or encourage discussions.This contradicts the value of Twitter as a two-way dialogue to build relationships with customers and advocates.
- A sizeable 24 percent of the Twitter accounts were primarily used for brand awareness.
- Many appeared to be on Twitter simply to have an online presence.
- They did not use the platform to reach out to the community and demonstrate that their brand is a trusted source of valuable information, a business that not only talks but also listens to customers.
- Surprisingly, only 16 percent of the Fortune 100 accounts were used mainly as sales vehicles for company products and services.Other companies did not appear to understand that sales growth can be achieved by posting special Twitter offers, coupons, limited bargains and sales prices, or by searching for customers who mention a company product and reaching out to them to build a relationship.
- Customer service was the focus of only 9 percent of the accounts; it is highly likely that these companies are worried about corporate reputation — posts that might be damaging to a brand.In addition, success requires a commitment to respond “quickly to customer queries, suggestions or complaints. Note: According to Twitter’s own best practices, “your reply should come within a day, if not within hours”.
- “Thought leadership appeared to be the least prominent Twitter strategy by Fortune 100 companies, with only 8 percent focused on it. Corporate reputation and authority can be extended onto Twitter, but are most effective only after thought leadership is demonstrated in newspapers, trade publications or recognized by analysts and bloggers. This I think demonstrates the blog and website as your “home base” and Twitter as your one of your “Outposts”
- Finally, another 14 percent of accounts were used for other reasons such as recruitment or employee-specific information, or their accounts were locked and not visible.These companies were unable to build relationships with interested communities.
It was interesting to observe that best practices were not followed by most of the Fortune 100 accounts examined by Weber Shandwick study with the following being the major Twitter sins.
- Few followers: Half of those accounts had fewer than 500 followers, while
- More than half did not meet engagement metrics that were analyzed in Twitalyzer (e.g.numbers of links, hashtags, references and retweets)
- Three-quarters (76 percent) of those accounts posted fewer than 500 tweets.This indicates either a lack of engagement by many companies with their followers, or newly established accounts that haven’t yet started using the platform to build relationships.
- Twenty-four percent of the Twitter accounts were primarily used for brand awareness; however many of them appeared to be on Twitter simply to have an online presence
This falls short of the opportunity that Twitter offers as a valuable communications channel and strategic social network.For those companies what are the activities that they should pursue?
Create a companywide engagement strategy; a set of guidelines with best practices
Demonstrate a consistent and comprehensive brand presence
Build a dialogue that paves the way to new relationships with customers and advocates
Generate loyalty among new and existing communities
To maximize the benefits of Twitter, companies should
offer opinions and encourage discussions
reach out to their communities of customers and advocates
build relationships with new customers and look for untapped supporters.
Weber Shandwick prescribed five essential steps as a starting point for Fortune 100 companies to create true engagement and market interaction on Twitter:
1.Listen to conversations
2.Participate in conversations
3.Update frequently with valuable information
4.Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to your company
5.Retweet relevant conversations
So here are “7 Twitter Best Practices” from the study revealing that in the majority, the Fortune 100 were not implementing
Listen to and monitor conversations
Participate in conversations instead of just listening
Provide frequent updates with valuable information that can demonstrate thought leadership.
Have a large number of followers
Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to them rather than sit on the sidelines
Retweet those conversations which can help promote the brand
Reply or refer to other accounts with @username, and in turn, they are referred to by other accounts.
By following the best “7 Best Practices”, Twitter can be used by businesses for many purposes, as its value differs for each company. If best practices are followed, businesses can
Promote and distribute their news in a very cost efficient manner “World Wide” or “Locally”.
Broadcast their products and services offerings with a wider audience
Increase brand awareness,
Gain new customers
Provide customer service.
Demonstrate “thought Leadership
For the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. Many of their Twitter accounts, examined by Weber Shandwick, did not appear to listen to or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts and event information.
The number of active Twitter users in the United States already exceeds 20 million and can be expected to continue to grow.This is a massive human database to tap, companies that understand the value of Twitter can benefit from its potential as a viable engagement platform. A majority of Fortune 100 companies are not using Twitter for its intended benefit: to create meaningful connections and relationships with customers, potential advocates, media and other business contacts.
The cry of “Content is King” has been a rallying call for bloggers and on-line publishers for years
Creating and marketing your content is now as easy as typing text and uploading images and videos and then hitting the publishing button.
This has been facilitated by the advent of social networks and blogging software that facilitate fast efficient multi-media publishing.
The reality is that everyone is now a publisher as social media has provided easy to use tools which has put a personal printing press in everyone’s hand.
We are not only creating but sharing this content on desktops, laptops, ipads and smart phones to our Facebook and Twitter streams. The mobility of the smart phones has accelerated this publishing revolution that allows us to share anytime and anywhere as the impulse takes us.
The more engaging the content whether it be video or text the more likely it is to be shared.
The “Content” Explosion
To put some perspective on the scale of this on-line publishing phenomenon here are some facts and figures
- In 2010 on Facebook alone there were 30 billion images published by millions of “authors”
- 5 Billion Photos published on Flickr by 2010
- YouTube figures reveal that 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute as of May, 2011
- It is estimated that over 330 million blog posts are published every year
Content is what drives people to subscribe to blogs, search on YouTube and play on Facebook. Internet users are looking for information and content that
- Solves problems
The Thirst for Knowledge
In a knowledge economy the thirst for information and meaningful content is never ending.
If you dig deeper into the term “social media” you will be reminded that content can be any type of media and format. Media in all its formats that was previously hidden on personal computers or buried in files offline can be published to a variety of social media platforms that host and make public your previously unpublished media. These include social media platforms such as Flickr for photos and images as well as Slideshare for presentations such as your last Powerpoint workshop.
I often hear questions from new and aspiring bloggers about what should you publish and how do you find the inspiration for the content. It isn’t difficult if you start to let the imagination run free.
20 Types of Content Types and Formats that Engage
The development of inexpensive video cameras with high definition and now included in smart phones as a standard feature allow you to record impromptu interviews or capture presentations and keynote speakers. The mantra to keep top of mind is to “think like a publisher”
What can you video and publish?
- Formal interviews which are arranged in advance with prepared questions and answers
- Casual impromptu video interviews at a conference
- Presentations either in part or full and full edited or unedited
- Video products such as clothes or items that you can publish to your on line store that show the product and how it can be adjusted or worn
- “How To” videos that instruct and teach
- Grab your smart phone and obtain people’s feedback or comments as they happen about your product, service or store. This will provide authentic and real testimonials that money cannot buy
Slideshare is the primary site to upload your presentations and with over 50 million monthly visitors and 90 million pageviews it now ranks as one of the top 250 websites in the world. It also supports document sharing.
- Share PowerPoint and open office presentations privately with colleagues and clients
- Share publicly with the world
- Publish documents from MSOffice, OpenOffice and iWorks
- Upload PDF’s that educate and inform
Also make sure that the presentations and PDF’s are well structured for scanning and skimming with good headings and subtitles.
King of image uploading is Flickr but other platforms to consider is Google’s Picasa (now included in Google+) and of course Facebook. High definition images that are well produced can provide high engagement.
- Images that should be publicly shared do not just have to be photos but can be creative designs in high definition that visually present a concept
- Photos at events demonstrates active participation in your industry and can provide high credibility through association
- Product images that display your products in all their high definition glorious detail
- Appropriate photos of staff at work and at play can provide a personal insight to a company that humanizes companies which is vital on a social web
4. Text Content
Text content is one of the oldest of formats since the pen and pencil was invented but still maintains its importance as a primary publishing medium.
What are some highly engaging text formats that help you sell your products and services?
- White papers – these are typically topical reports that demonstrate thought leadership vital for prospects and buyers and are generally 8-12 pages in length
- eBooks – Sometimes called a whitepaper on steroids can be 20-100 pages in length and can be free (in the short form) and maybe sold in the longer format. Presents complex information that is visually attractive
- Case Studies – Customer and readers love case studies that validate strategies and tactics. They are typically 1-2 pages long and with the narrative structure of the a story and are based upon real life events.
- Enewsletter – Email is a very powerful form of marketing with a list that you own and people have opted into a subscription. It can be purely text based or you can create HTML formats that includes images, links and optimized for a social web making it easy for people to share with their friends
Audio and radio has not died but evolved and podcasts and audio are still widely used. Podcasts can also be very effective when packaged together with a Slideshare presentation and a PDF
- Podcasts: Pre-recorded presentations either by one person or a goup that dicuss a topic that educates and solves problems for your listeners
- Live on-line radio shows with interviews of experts
This list is not exhaustive but will provide you with some tips that will maybe inspire you to engage in many media types that communicate with your readers , prospects and customers.
Sometimes bundling a range of formats for the same information will allow you to reach a broader audience that a singular media type cannot.
What media and formats do you use for your content marketing and what is most effective for you?
Source of Facts and Figures: Royal Pingdom
Image by dirkshaw
Creating and marketing your content is now as easy as typing text and uploading images and videos
Corporate leaders are shying away from Twitter, Facebook, and other consumer-oriented sites and embracing LinkedIn and specialty business networks, according to the Society for New Communications Research.
Decision-makers are using social media as knowledge and communication networks, primarily visiting these Web sites to access the wealth of available thought-leadership content, according to a report published Thursday by the Society for New Communications Research.
In the second annual New Symbiosis of Professional Networks Study, SNCR polled 114 executives across 10 countries, most of whom were key decision-makers at companies ranging in size from fewer than 100 to more than 50,000 full-time employees.
Interestingly, executives have decreased their use of all social networks other than LinkedIn, the report found. Almost all — or 97% — of those surveyed used LinkedIn in 2010, compared with 92% in 2009, according to the study, released Thursday. By contrast, Twitter use dropped to 33% last year vs. 40% in 2009; Facebook usage fell to 20% compared with 51% the year prior, and Plaxo decreased to just 5% from 14% a year ago, the report found.
“Hundreds of other networks were mentioned, many by only one or two respondents,” wrote SNCR fellows Donald Bulmer, VP of global communications, industry, and influencer relations at SAP, and Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks.
Today, 55% of executives surveyed participate in three to five social networks, slightly up from the 50% who were involved in that number of social media sites in 2009. Eighty-four percent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with online professional networks, the report found.
Apparently there is room for specialty social networks that focus solely on particular issues or vertical markets. Although most executives polled participate in large professional networks such as LinkedIn and 65% are active in open social networks like Yelp and Twitter, 48% of respondents said they were involved in “midsize or specialized membership-specific industry, roles, or interest-specific groups online” and 26% said they “prefer to engage with a smaller peer group in a private and confidential exchange.”
These professional social networks have become a trusted environment for relationship management and decision support, the study said. In fact, 60% said one benefit of participation was increased competitive brand monitoring and performance; 60% said it was to establish or increase their professional network.
Professional collaboration is changing from a small professional exchange into an interaction with content in more public ways,” said DiMauro, in a statement. “The consequence of sharing content online is enhanced influence.”
Networks also give executives access to information they otherwise could not get, said many respondents. Eighty percent of respondents are able to accelerate decision processes and information or strategy development by participating in online communities, according to the study.
“Business professionals are changing how they collaborate as a result of online professional communities and peer networks,” said Bulmer, in a statement.
Not surprisingly, almost all — or 97% — of executives log-on to social networks via a PC or Macintosh. Mirroring the consumer world, a growing number of professionals now visit these sites using mobile devices: In 2010, 59% used a mobile device compared with 44% in the prior year, according to the study. More than half, or 52%, used an iPhone; 37% used a BlackBerry; 15% relied on an Android; and 15% used an iPad, the report said.
To keep up with their colleagues, the world, and their business, executives check-in frequently, with 43% logging on more than three times per day, according to the study. More than one-third log-on once a day, and only 2% said they check-in occasionally, the report found.
Written by Jeff Bullas
It took very little convincing to prove we needed social media for our company and our brand.
However, when it came to personally interacting as CEO of my own company on social media platforms, a wave of hesitation came over me on how to manage this pervasive virtual maze. After research and analysis on the ROI (Return On Investment) social media could offer, we knew it was IMPERATIVE to participate, not only for our company and brand, but for me as well, to remain connected and relevant in the business world.
When I saw Jeff Bullas’s “28 reasons Why The CEO Is Afraid Of Social Media”, it became obvious that I was no longer afraid, not only of new media, but also to share how we benefited from using social media, to not only advance our businesses, but also to improve our understanding of the new era in media.
So here are 14 reasons you as CEO can benefit from social media:
- See change happen on Social Media: you do not participate; you no longer play in your field.
- Increase interaction and intimacy with clients
- Open dialogue with potential clients
- Get a live read of what consumers think of your brand
- Accelerate your brands traditional media efforts
- Adapt your brand language to connect with new customers
- Always know the latest industry and world news
- Share your experience as a CEO and professional in the field (I’ve found media has really valued that!)
- Address any false statements about your brand – ignorance is not bliss
- Drive business and launch campaigns on a limited budget
- Brand with an opinion
- Boost the impact of direct marketing – paging SEO!
- Direct connections with top media and analysts (thanks to social media I’m in constant contact with TIME magazine, Forbes, Brandweek, PRWeek etc)
- Spans all generations, races, creeds and countries to reach an audience no other channel can claim
Are there other benefits to a CEO engaging in social media you can add?
This is a guest post from Sophie Ann Terrisse
Sophie is the Founder & CEO of STC Associates, a global brand management firm.