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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Generating Leads With Social Media

Here is some good advice on using Social Media properly. Originally from wedding resource "Waverly Brides" but relevent information for any business looking to expand reach through social media!
Neil Patel, shared with us an infographic highlighting the importance of social media and how you can use it to connect with brides.
It is important to remember that most social media platforms go beyond the reach of your friends.  They make it possible for you to connect with brides based on location, demographics and other metrics that in the end, help you better understand where you marketing dollars are going.
How are you using social media to build your business? 
Send us an email and we may feature your business in a highlight segment.
Below is what Neil sent us.
You’re already on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, but are you generating traffic from them? And, more importantly, are you generating leads?
One of the big misconceptions about social media sites is that they don’t drive quality visitors. Compared to outbound marketing, social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate.
How do you generate leads from the social web? In order to show you the steps you need to take, I’ve decided to create an infographic that will break down the whole process.
Click Infographic to see larger:

Conclusion

Only 6% of small businesses are using social media to generate sales, which means you can still get on the social media bandwagon before it gets competitive.
When you follow the 8 steps in the infographic, make sure you don’t leave out the research part. Too many companies try to generate leads from social sites without knowing what they are getting into. The last thing you want to do is waste your time driving visitors that won’t convert into leads and, eventually, sales.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Video Production Budgets 2014

Claire Brinkley & SoMedia Networks
 
 A new report has revealed that businesses are set to significantly increase their video spending this year as an increasing amount of organizations prioritize video marketing.
The 2014 Online Video Production Survey & Industry Trends Report, compiled by Flimp Media and the Web Video Marketing Council, surveyed 318 video production and marketing professionals to discover what video strategies they had in place for 2014.
From this report, three main themes for 2014 stood out.

Video Production Numbers Will Increase in 2014

In 2013, 40% of companies were producing between 2 and 10 videos a month and an additional 28% were producing between 11 and 50 videos. 10% were producing more than 50 videos a month – a significant output by anyone’s standards – while 9% said they created one or no videos a month.
Video production demand per month bar graph
Interestingly, 70% of those surveyed said they expected the number of videos produced by their organizations to increase up to 99% this year, with a further 15% saying they expected the number to double. Only 13% said they thought numbers would remain the same and 2% said they were expecting a decrease.

2014 Video Budgets are Expected to Rise

As the output of video increases, so will the budgets behind them. Most marketing professionals expect their budgets will increase (68%), with 8% expecting their budgets to double.
Video production budget demand for 2014 bar graph
In contrast, 24% said that they thought budgets would remain the same and 8% were forecasting a decrease.

Companies are Mainly Creating Videos for Their Websites

The large majority of video content produced in 2013 (80.8%) was created specifically to be displayed on a company’s website. Social media and networking sites were second in the priority list (69.2%) and lead generation was third (39.3%).
Video production uses for marketers graph
Following closely behind these areas was internal communications, including creating content for employee training and education (38.1%), creating videos for management communications (34.9%) and creating content for online video slide presentations (31.1%).

Video Marketing is Set to Evolve in 2014

It is clear that video marketing is growing in popularity, both with companies and consumers, and moving forward we should expect that the types of videos created by companies will not only grow (as indicated by figures above) but also evolve.
Many marketers and brands are still testing and adapting their video strategies to see what works and what doesn’t, and many haven’t properly utilized video effectively in the sales space.
As seen above, using video for generating sales leads was only a priority for 39% of those surveyed, yet more and more businesses seem to be turning to video to showcase their new products, reach wider audiences or motivate consumers down the sales path.
Naturally, as this becomes more cemented in marketing plans and organizational briefs, video marketing will grow, both in budget and in size, and 2014 looks to be the year this will happen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Video & Social Media Impact

A recent article in Business Insider  "The Rise of Social Video: How Social Media Is Creating New Winners in Online Video," states that social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Vine are where consumers discover and watch TV content and video. Additionally, it is predicted that online video audiences will double in 2016, with the global audience totaling about 1.5 billion.  Additionally, Pew Research Center's recent  Internet Project report, "Online Video 2013," states that "The percent of adults who use video-sharing sites has grown from 33% in 2006 and has now reached 72%." and that "71% of adults who post videos online do so on social networking sites," and "58% of adults who watch online videos do so on social networking sites."
Avi Levine, executive director of the Digital Professional Institute-a division of the digital media arts school Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, explains that the "explosion" of social networking sites focusing on video has been a game changer.

Whether you publish your video on Vine, Facebook, or YouTube, social media has the ability to bring your video message to a wider audience than any other medium in the most cost effective manner possible.

In case you doubt how dramatically  online video can impact your business, the "Social Video Report"-produced by Visibility IQ and Entertainment Media Research details these undeniable facts: "Almost six in ten internet users go on to purchase an item after seeing it in an online video!" With those kinds of numbers businesses ignore the powererful impact of social video at their own risk!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Preparing For Facebook Timeline Changes

Here are some great and timely pointers from Social Media Coach Andrea Vahl originally posted on her website.

You have undoubtedly heard the news that the new Facebook Timelines are rolling out to Pages sometime soon.  Facebook announced the Timeline rollout on March 10th and some Pages have it already, including Guy Kawasaki and The Nonprofit Facebook Guy (aka John Haydon).  There are 4 critical changes that you can prepare for right now.


#1  Adjust Your Cover Photo

This is the biggest change that you want to prepare for right away.  The profile photo is the same size but it is now moved up farther into the cover photo image and the title of your page and category is now incorporated in the lower half of your cover photo.  Adjust any text or important images that may be under the profile photo.
You can also see the Like button and Share button is also incorporated into the bottom portion of your cover photo.  Remove any writing in the lower 65 pixels of your cover photo.  And you probably want to allow for a border above that space as well.
New Facebook cover photo dimensions 2014
You may also want to consider removing your company name if you have it in the cover photo since it will always appear there with the overlay.  Notice that The Nonprofit Facebook Guy shows just a tagline on his cover photo.

#2  Adjust Your Category

If you haven’t done so already, make sure the Category of your Page reflects what you do.  The Category is much more prominent in the new Facebook Timeline.  Go to Edit Page, then Update Page Info to check your Page category.
This is also a good time to review your Short Description and Long Description and see if those need updates as well.
Category and Short Description

#3  Choose your 3 Best Apps that you will display

The Apps section can now be found in two places.  Once under the More button right below the cover photo and also on the left sidebar.
Your most important App should be first, in this case the Email Signup and then your next 2 best Apps should be listed next.  This is similar to the current layout where you have 3 available Apps (including the Photos) that you are showing on the first line of your Apps area.  The App cover photo sizes remain the same at 111 x 74 px.
Facebook Apps in new Timeline

#4  Adjust any graphics on your Apps

If you have an arrow on any App graphic that points  to the Like button, it is now moved from the right corner to 580 pixels from the left side.  So you may want to adjust that arrow.
You also notice that the Cover Photo is always showing so that any App you select is displaying lower than it used to.  There may not be any adjustments needed for this but something to be aware of.
Facebook App graphics

The other major change is the single column Timeline.  I think this will make the Timelines more readable again.  What are your thoughts about the new Timeline layout? Let us know.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

40% Of Consumers Are Unaware That Google Adwords Are Adverts

This post writtern by Graham Charlton on the Econsultancy website came across our radar, we thought we should share!

Research carried out by Bunnyfoot suggests that many people are unaware of the difference between paid and organic search listings, with 40% of web users unaware they were adverts. 
While conducting a research project for an insurance sector client, Bunnyfoot discovered that 81% of users clicked on Google Adwords listings as opposed to natural search results.
Further investigation of this surprising bias revealed that 41 out of the 100 individuals tested did not know that Adwords were paid-for adverts, believing them instead to be the most authoritative links. 
Looking at a Google results page for 'car insurance', the paid ads do stand out thanks to the background shading, while Google does add the label 'ads related to car insurance' at the top. 
However, this label could be easily missed and, if you don't know they're ads, the shading could mean anything.
 
In addition, the background shading isn't always easy to see on every monitor, while Google's new hybrid sponsored ad for its own insurance comparison site looks more organic than ad. 
In short, it's easy to see why the users in the Bunnyfoot research were unaware that these ads were ads. 
Bunnyfoot's heatmaps illustrate this point. 
This shot shows the results page for 'car insurance'
https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0002/9613/adwords_heatmap2-blog-full.png
The heatmap suggests that the PPC ads may be more valuable than the top natural positions, for this search at least. 

I asked Bunnyfoot co-founder Rob Stevens about the test and the implications of the results: 

Can you tell me a bit more about the test and participants? 

The test was conducted as part of an end-to-end customer experience research project for an insurance sector client. With a view to exploring a representative of the general UK population rather than an online only population, test participants were recruited from an in-street intercept.

In theory, your findings would mean that the top two or three paid results would do better than the top organic ones...

In this particular study, we found that 81% clicked on paid results, 19% on organic search results.
In theory this may be true for some categories and the heatmap for ‘Car Insurance’ supports this hypothesis. Results of the eye tracking tests support the notion that internet users do not differentiate between organic and paid search results.
The heat map demonstrates that it’s the area of the screen displaying the top results, regardless of whether they are natural or paid for, that receives the most activity and attention from users.
In this scenario, specific terms are more likely to convert than generic ones: Marketers should optimise more specific searches for click through like “car insurance for porsche over 40” rather than “Cheap car insurance”. 

Stats we published recently suggest that the vast majority of clicks are on organic results. How does this fit with your findings? 

While a direct comparison between the two pieces of research is problematic due to a number of key differences, the two data sets are reconcilable and valuable shared learnings can be taken from both. 
The quoted GroupM research looks at a wide range of verticals from “airlines” and “online games” to “government” and “current news,” while this particular piece of research of ours looked at one very specific vertical - car insurance.  
The MEC sample is across all data while Bunnyfoot looked exclusively at the sub set of car insurance,  a category that is full of Adwords - and importantly the familiar brands abound within those Adwords - and this would have a significant bearing on results.
The specific categories undoubtedly have an effect on tests of this nature. As internet users do not follow one particular behaviour for every search they carry out, we would expect each search vertical to produce very different search patterns.
With that in mind, we would envisage the vertical “government” - one of the categories looked at in the GroupM research - generating very different behaviour from the car insurance category.
The type of search and the keywords are important considerations also. While the Bunnyfoot research looks at ‘head term’ searches, it’s unclear from the published article what the GroupM research explores. Reading the article and looking at the infographic, we would expect that the study probably includes a lot of long-tail searches.
We find that in many cases involving long tail searches (e.g. an individual searches “renew car tax”), there won’t even be any Adwords displayed and so by definition the clicks will land only on natural results in those cases.

What are the key takeaways for marketers? 

The key takeaway for marketers from this test is that there is a world of people out there who don’t know adwords are ads and marketers should be wary of making assumptions that remove them from a true consumer perspective.
We were astounded by the numbers when they first came in but there can be no doubt about it: a significant slice of internet users simply don’t recognise Adwords listings as sponsored links.
I posit that there is a digital technorati that live a lot of their life online, they (we) know that Google ads are Google ads and don’t often click them. 
I don’t know what the % is but we could apply Pareto Rule for lack of a better tool: 80% of the clicks come from 20% of the people.
Secondly - and with the above in mind - Google Ads can be a far more effective brand building tool than they are often given credit for. If the market really gets hold of this and buys into the idea that PPC on Adwords is even more effective than was previously thought this could see the cost of Google Adwords rocketing.
This makes it imperative for marketers to maximise the conversion of browsers to buyers and the most cost effective way of doing this is usability. This could put $50 or more on to the stock value of Google.

Are there easy opportunities for PPC in the kinds of results which have no or fewer PPC listings? 

Absolutely, but the user experience needs to be right before spending any money on hits. It’s all very well carrying out a PPC campaign that delivers people to a particular destination for the duration of the campaign, but it’s the user experience that converts clicks and achieves longer term success.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Visual Media Is The Social King

 Visual Media (Photos/Videos) are essential to your Social Marketing success. Visual Media is easily shared, has no cultural or language barriers, and connects with viewers on an emotional level. There are over 60 million photos shared daily on Instagram alone!
One easy way to include Visual Media in your efforts is to use Twitter Cards.
Check it out, it's a lot of fun. Remember it's important to keep your Visual Media relevent to your campaign goals!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting The Most From Video Players

Your choice of a video player is an often overlooked aspect of realizing maximum return from your websites videos. Here is a thoughtful article that came  through the linkedIn video marketing group.  Written by +  appearing on somedia networks .
We thought we should share this one! Good work Colin!

So you’ve created a professional, high-quality company profile or explainer video for a client.  The spokesperson or owner sounds great, the lighting is perfect and the length is bang-on, long enough to keep viewers engaged but not so long so as to bore them into checking out (right in that 60-90 second sweet-spot).
Posted to YouTube.  Shared to Facebook.  Added to your client’s LinkedIn page.  And of course, embedded on your client’s website, blog and campaign landing page.
Now what?
Have you thought about how to leverage that video to drive leads back to your client?  How to use the video to gather valuable feedback?  Or how to use the video to funnel viewers to a specific landing page or offer?  Are you set up to track the video’s performance, by location, and then report back to your client?  Is the video SEO-friendly?
As Internet marketers, we need to ask ourselves questions like these every time we integrate video into an online campaign, and especially when running a video campaign.

Use Video Players to Drive Traffic

Video players host video content and the good ones enable deep user engagement.  Using the right video player platform (yes, there are many options – SoMedia VideoPlayer, ViewBix and Wistia to name a few) could mean the difference between the success and failure of your marketing efforts, or at the very least, not understanding if you are succeeding or failing.
how video players work
Most of them are very easy to use.  Sign up, upload your video and build the player to your specs.  If you are using the right video player platform, it can be a powerful, interactive marketing tool with SEO, lead-generation, branding and video analytics features.  A professionally shot video combined with an interactive video player will greatly enhance your ability to deliver results for your clients.  Here’s how:
1.  Video players can capture leads and drive traffic
Different players do this in different ways.  Players like ViewBix offer what they call ‘apps’ – third party overlays that enable things like polls or contact forms.  SoMedia offers integrated marketing plug-ins on their player that enable businesses to promote offers, coupons, showcase content, with clicks directed to the web page of choice and leads funneled to the email of choice.  It’s features like these that really turn your videos into marketing tools.
video player benefits
2.  Video players can improve SEO
Video now appears in almost 70% of search results according to Marketing Week.  Internet marketing ‘winners’ are those taking the time to optimize their videos for the search engines.  Great video players offer simple user-friendly tools that enable the following:
•   online video players enhance seo Title, description and tagging
•    Auto-generation of meta data
•    Auto-generation of a video XML sitemap
•    Video transcripts
•    Custom thumbnails

3.  Video players enable performance analytics
Successful video marketing requires access to accurate data and analytics.  A great video player platform delivers this with detailed performance and engagement analytics necessary to track ROI. Some of the basics you should be tracking:
•    Views and plays by video, geography and playback location
•    Completion and drop-off rates
•    Drop-off points
•    Social traction (number of shares and to which networks)
•    Click-through rates
•    Minutes watched

If you are an Internet marketer investing time and money in producing and delivering video content for clients, do not let this investment go to waste.  Make sure you take those final few steps to market, measure and optimize via video players and analytics.