Engage Bali by Socialbakers: Part One

Engage Bali by Socialbakers – Social Media Summit

Over the weekend I attended the #EngageBali Social Media Summit by Socialbakers, held at the Grand Hyatt in Nusa, Bali. #EngageBali was my first Social Media conference and I was really excited to attend and learn some new things, meet some social media professionals and enjoy the luxurious surroundings of the resort.

I was not disappointed!

I flew in late on Thursday night, and was lead through the expanse of the resort to my room. Wow!

We really were learning & networking in paradise!

Friday was our day of workshops. I had downloaded the Engage Bali app and after much deliberation signed up for “INCREASING YOUR SOV – HOW DUAL BRAND STRATEGIES CAN INCREASE MARKET SHARE” with Holly Stewart from Seek for the morning session and “FACILITATING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA INTELLIGENCE” with Olivier Girard from Digimind for the afternoon session.

Armed with the sim card given to us by sponsor Telkomsel (super handy!) I managed to find breakfast, eat a quick bowl of noodles (I love embracing different breakfast cultures) and headed into the main conference area. The Telkomsel sim wasn’t the right size for my phone – so I went to see them and in 1 minute flat they had punched it into a microsim and fitted it to my phone. Yes! No data roaming fees 🙂

I picked up a free bubble tea and headed to my morning workshop.

Holly is clearly very knowledgeable about Social Media Marketing and the focus of the session was using a Dual Brand Strategy.

Dual Brand Strategy

For the non-marketers reading, this means creating or acquiring a secondary brand as a strategy to help you maintain share of voice (market share) that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to your main brand.

Think of Coke and Mount Franklin. Coke know not everyone drinks Coke, but they can still drink Coke brands when they’re drinking water – ie. Mount Franklin. They maintain market share, it doesn’t hurt the main brand (not sure if anything could in this example) and they can reach new audiences who would have dismissed Coke.

Clever, right?

Background

There are some challenges involved in running a dual brand strategy. The main one is not to cannibalise the main brand in building the secondary one. But we’ll get back to that in a bit.

Seek is a transactional brand. People looking for work go to Seek to find job ads. So who are their target demographic? EVERYONE.

Ugh. That’s tough! How do you appeal to everyone? According to Holly at any given time there are:

 

looking-for-work

So at any given moment up to 75% of people are looking for work!

To further complicate this: Low skilled jobs are easy to fill, and high skilled jobs much harder to fill she said. Makes sense.

Traditionally Seek has been among a small field in the online jobseeker realm and has occupied 80% of the market. A great place to be for a brand! But they were starting to face increased competition from new players.

How would they maintain their share of the market? This is where the dual brand strategy comes into play.

How does the Dual Brand Strategy Work?

Since people wanted to make sure they were getting all the available information users were looking at more than one job site. Seek had to make sure they weren’t losing ground to one of the others that “scrapes” jobs from all over the web. They stopped these scraping sites being able to access Seek – so if you visited them, you could get all the other jobs – but not the ones from the biggest jobs marketplace and would have to look there separately.

Seek introduced JORA, their secondary brand. JORA was able to scrape the job websites, but it also had access to the Seek.com jobs – meaning it had ALL THE JOBS, which when you’re job hunting is what you want. One site to rule them all.

But you can’t just launch a secondary brand on a whim.

Holly explained the following phases:

  1. Engagement
  2. Traffic & Conversion
  3. Segmentation & Relevancy

Your brand has to be ready. Listen before you launch! She said that with 30b pieces of content fighting for your attention in the newsfeed, it’s not easy to gain attention for your brand. In Australia 1 in 3 internet minutes belong to Facebook owned sites (Facebook, Messenger, What’s App, Instagram…) and that a dual brand strategy can help open up new segments.

It was all about mapping your customer journey, and using what data you have to either include or exclude potential customers.

I think this is where we lost some people.

I’m not sure everyone was fully across segmentation and the ability to exclude audiences via pixels and custom audiences. I have some photos of Holly’s slides (which aren’t very good quality photos, but it might help me explain the strategy)

So here goes – you can use the data your brand has to grow your supporting brand through targeting and exclusion.

If you were a bank and someone had been to your main site to look at credit cards (which would know because of the segmentation set up on your site) you could target them with a credit card offer from your supporting brand.

Then follow them through the customer journey, making sure the secondary brand is seen as the alternative voice at each touch point through the journey.

You’re drowning out your competitors, and with this the chance of losing your market share to them decreases.

Pretty simple concept, right? It’s a bit more complicated to implement – but the idea is a simple one!

measure-it

How do you measure it?

Holly identified the metrics to use to measure if your dual brand strategy was working:

1. Increase your brand share (growing secondary brand)

Measure: share of visits/share of wallet/share of attention

2. Decrease competitors share

Measure: Measure: share of visits/share of wallet/share of attention

3. Brand Health (don’t cannibalise your primary brand)

Measure: Brand study metrics

4. Brand Lead

Measure: share of visits/share of wallet/share of attention

You can see the slideshare of Holly’s presentation HERE.

After Holly’s presentation we moved on to an exercise in groups where we came up with a strategy using what we had just learned to create a pitch for the brans we were allocated, which was a good way to cement the learning.

I learned a lot from this session, even though I don’t currently work with any multi-brand clients – to know how one group of marketers can go about finding market segments is always interesting!

And the negative targeting, and the workflows associated with this process means it’s a well established method in Seek’s repertoire, which we can assume means if set up correctly it works!

What I also found interesting was seeing how diverse the APAC region is. Although I think Australia is still an emerging market for Social Media, with many brand still resisting or implementing their strategy like it’s 2012, there are some people (like Holly) obviously leading the pack too. But we’re very different from Asia! Their population density means they have huge audiences that devour content and these content machines need to be fed! Some of the small teams in attendance had audience numbers and publishing schedules that would make an Aussie marketer choke!

Morning session done, we headed to lunch, and the hotel had not let us down!

After lunch (and another bubble tea) we proceeded to our afternoon sessions. As I mentioned in the beginning – I had chosen after much deliberation on the Digimind session about Data Intelligence.

I did not find this session as in-depth as the morning session, and think it was more of an overview of what Data Intelligence is and a little bit of background.

Digimind is a tech vendor, Olivier said, and has been in business for 18 years. That’s a lot of listening!

social-intelligence

So what is Social Intelligence?

There’s a huge amount of data on Social Media that can be used to identify trends and support marketing teams. But there are also many challenges.

  • Anyone, anywhere – so much data!
  • All demographics – who are you looking for?
  • Influencers
  • New Platforms
  • People have choices & preferences

So he outlined some Digital Intelligence Best Practice tips:

1.Understand your audience (which will be a theme over the weekend)

What is their “digital maturity” how tech savvy are they?

2. Teamwork & Diversity

He said it was better to interpret data from a diverse base to be able to see the data from different approaches.

3. Make a contact person

If it’s one person’s responsibility they’ll be more engaged.

4. Apply SCIP principles (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals)

They are not hackers! There’s a limit to what they can access.

5. Focus on the right scope

There’s so much data – “let’s try to structure that”

6. Ask Questions

Find out more about what the data is for

7. Make your goals very specific

It’s easy to exclude irrelevant data in the scope, than after the data is collected. You can always expand the scope next time

8. Add your insights

And importantly –

9. Present the data in an interesting way

 

looking-for-work-1

 

So, what can be measured?

The 5 Ws – What | When | Who – Influencers | Where – Platforms | Why – Sentiment

 

Something else I got from this session; whether you engage and the success of your engagement in crisis management is not only based on your content, but timing!

Olivier gave an example of how 2 brands that supply the same product fared in a crisis management situation. One brand chose to engage. The other decided to wait it out. Surprisingly the brand who did not engage came out unscathed. Now I do how some hesitation that ignoring crisis’s is ever a good idea from a Community Management point of view, but you can’t argue with data!

Again there was a workshop to reiterate the learning.

You can see the slidershare of Olivier’s presentation HERE.

And that was day one!

There was some networking, where I met up with Helen Cripps from ECU (who I had previously met at an SMPerth event), Sasha from Fanfare Media, and Matej and Claire from Socialbakers, among others. But the structured part of the day was done.

Time for some R&R!

I hope you enjoyed this first instalment! It’s been fun digesting it all and sharing it with you!

Stay tuned for Part Two – where I’ll get into the main event. I can’t wait to share with you the speakers insights! When you have the brains behind the Social Media of brands like LEGO, NASA, Canon Australia, MGM Hotels, Cathay Pacific and more – plus businesses who’ve achieved success by an in depth understanding of their audience, like Go Jek there’s no way you can’t pick up some valuable insight!

2 of my all-time favourites: Social Media & Learning!

Engage Bali 2016 Social Media Summit

Engage Bali is a Social Media Summit by Socialbakers, who are a Social Media Management tool. I don’t currently use their tool for my client work, but I have often read their reports, especially to get Australian specific data!

One of their features that really interests me is their performance optimisation tool, that uses “predictive analytics” to determine how your content will perform! Thier announcement post has a detailed explanation of how it works.

One of the other things Socialbakers do that’s pretty rad is put on a summit for Social Media Marketers. Normally the big Social media Summits are either in Europe and the US, so it’s a big undertaking to make it when you’re from Perth.

Since the announcement of Engage Bali, I knew this time would be different! Being only 4 hours from Bali, with frequent and cheap(ish) flights this was much more realistic for me – and the idea to go along to my first Social Media Summit was hatched.

engage bali

It’s very exciting! If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts, you’d know that I love my stats! I truly believe that good Social Media Marketers are equal parts creative and analytical. Also with my love for learning (I’m currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Business and the Digital Marketer courses, among others) this really appeals to me.

I can’t wait to see how the world’s top Social Media minds are using Social Media to reach, inform and delight their audiences! If you want to see them it’s all on the Engage Bali website.As a freelancer, I’m privileged to work with some very diverse people – but I am aware that we can easily become stale in our own little bubbles.

As a freelancer, I’m privileged to work with some very diverse people – but I am aware that we can easily become stale in our own bubbles. We are all occasionally guilty of doing things the way we think is right and not investigating new functionality or features. Sometimes we think that’s just the way things are, then you find out someone else has tackled the issue completely differently to you did!

I’m even more excited for Engage Bali because the amazing people at Socialbakers have allowed me to attend free of charge (bonus!) and also asked me if I would host one of their panel discussions – how terrifyingly wonderful!

I can’t wait to bring you updates of what I learn during the day of workshops on the Friday, and the full day event on Saturday. I’m going to be a busy girl!

Have you ever been to an industry conference? Do you have any tips for me – a conference noob? I’d love to hear them! You can leave a comment here of hit me up on my Socials.

LinkedIn: Now More Than A Digital Resume

LinkedIn has moved on from being thought of as a ‘digital resume’ where people only log in to update their skills when searching for a new role.

These days it’s a great place to publish your original content! It’s a must if you’re trying to build your personal brand and position yourself as a thought leader in your field.

Most of you would have a LinkedIn profile, and have probably at one time or another posted a status update.  If you do it regularly, that’s awesome! You’re already half way there. You know who’s who in your sector. You already have connections and followers.

Use LinkedIn Published Posts to extend this to building influence beyond your connections. Published posts go to LinkedIn’s Pulse platform. Here they can be swept up and read and shared by anyone, whether they follow you or not! And not only that, each time you publish a post your own connections will receive a notification that you did so, encouraging them to come and check it out.

Top Tip: Use tagging. People on Pulse don’t follow you necessarily – they follow subjects that interest them. Think about your tags carefully, you are only allowed 3.

LinkedIn also has a product called Slideshare where you can post publications. These are similar in essence to the old PowerPoint Publications but more image-focused. You can publish your own LinkedIn Slideshare content and depending on the quality and category can be seen by tens to hundreds of thousands of people. Pretty cool huh?

Top Tip: Use content that has performed well as a blog post and re-create as a Slideshare. It’s a bit of work to make them look good and you don’t want to risk it on un-tested content.

LinkedIn Groups can be a great place to publish valuable content to your industry peers. Just make sure it’s a group in which you contribute to the discussion, dropping in to post a link to your latest post is considered a bit rude if that’s all you ever do.

Top Tip: Seriously, don’t be that guy who drops in once a week to post a link to their latest article – the rest of the group secretly hates you.

LinkedIn Pages are a good way for your company to have a business profile on LinkedIn, and your content can be shared there. LinkedIn Pages have a post max of 400 characters, so not really any good for articles – just a blurb and a link with an eye-catching image is all you need. If it’s not your company you’ll need to submit your article to the page admin/s to post for you should they deem it appropriate to come from their corporate voice.

Top Tip: You can advertise from LinkedIn Pages. Targeting examples that work well include roles within industries, i.e. Assistant Manager in Human Resources.

Whether you choose LinkedIn as a place to publish original content or not, you can add your links under publications on your profile. This way people will be able to find them if they are LinkedIn stalking you; which they will if you start getting some attention.

Top Tip: You can set your LinkedIn to private so when you stalk people your name is not listed, however this might not be the best idea. The first thing you do when someone checks out your profile – is look at theirs in return!

These are my top no-fuss tips to using LinkedIn for your personal branding. Do you have any to add? Do you have any predictions now Microsoft has purchased the platform? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Facebook interests examined | Have you lost interest?

What on earth does Facebook know about me?

Why am I seeing these ads?

If you want to see what Facebook thinks your “interests” are you can have a look and edit them. You’ll have a good laugh at the things you apparently like!

Go to Settings > Ads > Ads based on my preferences > edit > visit ad preferences. Then they will all be neatly displayed in little boxes. You can hover and close the ones you aren’t actually interested in.

facebook interests

facebook interests

facebook interests

facebook interests

interests

 

It can be a lengthy process – but very eye-opening! This is a great experiment to do on your profile to show you why interest targeting on Facebook can be so hit and miss. You’re must better off using custom audiences based on your website traffic or email databases!

This won’t mean you’ll see fewer FB ads, but it might mean the ones you do see are relevant to you! And let’s face it, we’ve all come to terms with the fact that there’s ads on Facebook. PLUS occasionally you’ll see an ad for a flight, concert, or something that you ARE interested in and you didn’t already know about. Ok, it’s infrequent – but it does happen.

What do you think? Did you find this useful? Is it time to update your interests on Facebook, I mean it’s more than 12 years old now – and if you’ve been on it since the beginning you might have changed a bit since then!

The WA Digital Marketing Report 2016 – Stats the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it

What’s the state of WA Digital Marketing?

Are you interested in how WA businesses approach their Digital Marketing?

I asked Freddy Hollow from Bang Digital some questions about their annual WA Digital Marketing Report to find out more!

WA Digital Marketing Report

 

What do you think is significant about the move from top place to third position for Search Marketing?

Well SEO and SM were the old faithful’s and they still have a very important place in the mix, but it indicates a broader acceptance and recognition of Social Media and Email marketing as viable channels. The updates in the FB advertising platform and email automation have likely had a big hand in the jump.

WA Digital Marketing Report

Will Search continue to drop?

I don’t think so, Search, Social, and Email are the core 3 channels that should be the basis of a marketing campaign.

WA Digital Marketing Report

Do you think Video will continue to rise as a content strategy?

Yes, the cost of entry is lowering and it’s such a good method of delivering messages. Like anything, people will need to be creative with it and use it in the right way.

 

Do you think “Content Marketing” is widely understood in the Business world as a term? Would more people have had that as a response if they were more familiar with the term?

As a general concept it is definitely well known, but I’m not sure if it’s understood correctly. The marketing trends page (7) gives an indication to how Content Marketing is understood by businesses as 52% were planning to utilise content marketing this year so businesses obviously understand that Content Marketing is important.

Generally people think content marketing is social or blogs or videos (which are all great) but really content marketing could be the way you design or format instruction sheets or FAQ’s or a pricing comparison on a product page. These aren’t the exciting things people think of when discussing content marketing, but good content marketing is about providing the right information at the right time during your customer’s (or customer segment/avatar) particular customer journey.

Next year we will definitely add Content Marketing as its own answer to the list on the Marketing Priorities section of the survey.

WA Digital Marketing Report

We’ve seen some of the “Main benefits of digital marketing” responses in the report – what would your response have been?

  1. Trackability – the accuracy in which you can track your results vs spend.
  2. Targeting – the amount of targeting options available through digital channels.
  3. Segmentation & Customization – the ability to segment your audience and then customise the messaging for those specific audience segments
  4. Automation – all of the cool new marketing automation techniques/platforms that can help you do all of the above

WA Digital Marketing Report

All of the “Digital presence” stats for the individual social platforms are up on last year – do you think any will drop next year? Will a new player be introduced in 2017?

I don’t think any will drop and we will add Snapchat into the survey for 2017.

WA Digital Marketing Report

The stats for “Digital marketing spend” are all increasing. Do you think this will continue into 2017? Are some businesses being priced out of the market?

Yes, it will only continue to increase year on year for the foreseeable future. I don’t think businesses are necessarily getting priced out – there are plenty of activities that businesses can utilise themselves and marketing professionals are only getting stronger in this area.

WA Digital Marketing Report

We’ve seen some of the responses to the “Digital challenges facing business” question – what do you think the biggest challenge is as a marketer? What’s the one you hear from clients or your team most often?

Time and understanding seem to be the biggest challenges. The amount of time it takes be across or implement the relevant channels and the understanding of the digital marketing mix. People understand what a tv, print or radio advert is but don’t understand some of the newer digital techniques and channels.

 

Are WA businesses becoming better at analysing their data from digital marketing?

Yes – we have seen a big jump in the understanding of digital as a whole but definitely an increase in the understanding of Google analytics and key digital marketing metrics.

WA Digital Marketing Report

Do you infer anything else from the survey results about the state of digital marketing in WA in 2016?

Not as something that jumps out – working with clients constantly I’m pretty in tune with how people view digital marketing in WA.

 

As an agency, how do these stats help you? And how do they benefit your clients?

From us as an agency it’s really positive to see an increased understanding in digital and it also highlights areas that people are interested in, so we can tailor or own content accordingly but really as an agency we are always educating our clients or providing them with recommendations that help their specific business – so although the stats may say that everyone is interested in Video it really depends on each businesses individual situation.

For clients it hopefully it acts as a reference or education piece that helps them plan out their marketing activities or acts as a verification of sorts for their own strategy recommendations.

Freddy Hollow
This is Freddy, Operations Manager at Bang Digital

 

So there we have it folks! We got a bit of insight beyond what’s available in the report itself, which if you haven’t read in full and would like to make sure you check it out! Thanks so much to Bang Digital for putting together this report every year, it’s so interesting for a stat nerd like myself – and for businesses to see how the rest of the industry is travelling! And a big thanks to Freddy for fitting me into his busy schedule and answering my quesitons!

For those who have read the report – did you have any other questions I didn’t ask? I’d love to read them in the comments!

I’m not a Social Media Expert

Am I a Social Media Expert?

I have tried to write this blog post about five times now. One I canned because it sounded too judgy. One I lost to a website glitch…actually make that two. If I can’t communicate what I’m trying to say this time I’m going to give it a rest because it’s obviously not worth saying.

But I am NOT a Social Media Expert.

So I guess that sounds a bit stupid, since helping people with their Social Media’s what I do for a living! But let me explain. A rose by another name might not smell like a rose, since so much of how our brain interprets data is based on our perception. Take Vanilla – yum! We all know it smells and tastes like sweet bliss; ice cream, custard, cakes – but if you eat an actual vanilla pod – YUK! It tastes like bark. Gross bark even. There’s probably better bark out there for eating.

I wanted to address the plethora of self-proclaimed Social Media Experts, and that includes; Ninjas, Evangelists, Gurus and all the other buzzword-laden things people refer to themselves as. After much internal debate, I’ve settled on “Social Media Specialist” and I want to tell you why. I specialise in Social Media. I can do other types of digital and traditional marketing – and sometimes I do depending on the needs of the business I am working with, but my speciality is Social Media Marketing.

But what’s wrong with Expert?

In my opinion, I don’t think you can ever truly know enough about Social Media and all that encapsulates to call yourself an expert. There’s a few reasons. The first is that there’s SUCH a vast array of platforms, theory, experience and knowledge that is needed to cover the breadth of what we refer to as Social Media. I mean, there might be a handful of these people. In the world. Not tens of thousands as their Twitter bios would have you believe.

Social Media Expert - Ninja

Not only would it take so much Social Media knowledge that even if you got to Expert status (if that indeed is a thing) you would then have to STAY there! The landscape changes daily and you would certainly have your work cut out for you to stay current!

Break it down

Evangelist/Guru – too “god-like” for my liking. Whatever god/s may or may not be out there, they certainly won’t be selling subscriptions to Social Media training videos. I would like to think they would have more pressing issues to deal with.

Ninja – Unless you are in fact a Ninja. In which case go ahead and call yourself one! I don’t know much about Ninjutsu, but I would bet that the training it takes to become a ninja includes no mention of Instagram filters, comment moderation or keyword listening. If you are a ninja and I’m wrong set me straight in the comments 😉

Snake-oil Salesman

In all industries there are reputable and not-so-reputable practitioners. Marketing is no exception! But the difference from specifically Social Media Marketing is that it’s still pretty new and there’s no standardised role descriptions or qualifications.

Take the example I have used in trying to explain this in real life of a chef. Chefs complete an apprenticeship to become qualified. During this apprenticeship they have to master certain skills to progress and are watched and evaluated both in the kitchen and the classroom.

At the end of their apprenticeship you can hire a chef assuming they possess certain skills, knowledge and experience. But this isn’t the case for Social Media. There’s no standardised course. There’s no prerequisites. Literally ANYONE can call themselves a Social Media Expert. Literally. Anyone.

This is as much a problem for me as anyone trying to hire someone to help them with their Social Media Marketing! How to I compete with a self-professed Social Media Expert? How do you know you’re hiring the right person for the job? It can get pretty confusing.

And this is part of the problem. Social Media can be confusing. The jargon is unfamiliar to the average business owner, and they can easily be lead down the garden path by people who talk a big game but actually know very little about Social Media.

So what can you do about it?

If you are unsure about someone you’ve met, just take it slowly. If they’re rushing you, you might be getting a sales pitch with no substance. Anyone who’s great at Social Media Marketing will likely be in demand, and rushing you won’t be on their agenda. They are patient, as Social Media returns on investment can take time, so can attracting the right clients. If someone has a sales target to meet, you don’t want them. You’re just a number. Remember that you’re entering into a long term relationship, where this person will be responsible for the way your brand is perceived. Your business deserves individual attention from the person who will actually be carrying out the work. More like your local friendly shopkeeper, than the checkout chick at Aldi.

Ask questions! If you don’t know how engagement is measured – ask. If they can’t explain it to you the don’t understand it well enough (thanks Einstein!) If they make claims like “I’ll increase your sales by 15% in 3 days,” ask them what will happen if they can’t. Do you get your money back? Will they keep trying until they do?

You can always get a recommendation from someone you trust, suggest a trial period before signing on to a longer contract or ask to see examples of their work (provided you know what you’re looking for) Do the accounts they manage have integrity? Good engagement? Or a bunch of paid likes and fake followers? Or tumbleweeds.

Make sure the person you hire to guide your Social Media Marketing efforts understands your business. The hierarchy, the products, your locations, the tone, your main target demographic and the segments you’re hoping to branch out into. If they can’t see the wood for the trees your relationship is doomed for the get go.

There are generally warning signs if you look. And I suggest you do. Often the outsourced Social Media Professional is the first person from outside the business who’s ever spoken for the brand! Don’t risk being swindled by someone who seems really cool, many of us aren’t cool at all! But we’re Chameleons. We know how to pretend, change tone, mimic our audiences – because you have to.

There’s no point getting caught out Dad dancing…

 


 

Now, before I get “called out” I’m not saying everyone who uses the terms Expert, Ninja and Guru in their titles are bad people, or not great at their jobs! It just doesn’t ring true for me and I wanted to explain why. Obviously the world is a very diverse place and I fully support people’s right to call themselves whatever they want. I just long for a scale to measure against so people won’t be getting ripped off by those who talk a fast game and don’t deliver on their outlandish promises. It’s sad for the business owner, and not only that – it makes my job harder when I come along since the trust takes time to build back up.

 


 

Thanks for reading my blog! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or you can stalk my Social Media channels on the links below. If you really loved it sign up – I don’t send email updates very often, but when I do I make sure they’re packed with useful tips, tricks and tools to make your Social Media efforts better and easier, so you can get back to what it is you do best – run your business!

Unwrapping the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report

Unwrapping the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report [TL;DR]

Sensis release a Social Media report annually, and the reason Aussie Social Media stat nerds like me care is because there’s not a lot of social media reports that analyse purely Australian data. We can be a bit different down here on our island, and real data is real valuable to all Social Media players, the businesses who use it, the people employed by those businesses and the outsourced agency and freelancer folk.

Ultimately, the more you know about the audience demographics, their use, expectations…the things they care about and respond to AND the things that piss them off – the better job you will do at trying to gain attention in an increasingly crowded market.

So here’s the stuff I pulled from their 71 page report that I think will be of value so you don’t have to read the whole thing yourself!

Facebook is not dead!

sensis social media report

Australians are now spending more than half a day per week (12.5 hours) on Facebook alone, up four hours from last year.

Facebook has maintained its almost ubiquitous appeal – 95% of users. The average number of times people access Facebook has remained relatively steady at 32 times a week, but the amount of time spent on each occasion has increased from 17 to 24 minutes.

My takeaway from this: Anyone who tells you their customers “aren’t on Facebook” could be misinformed. Facebook is by no means dead, and continues its dominance of the Social Media platforms.

Social Media use is increasing!

Instagram (31%) is on a growth trend, almost doubling its reach since 2013. This platform has really captured the younger demographic, used by 58% of 18-29 year olds.

sensis social media report

Business Social Media Presence is increasing!

There’s been an upsurge in the number with a social media presence for all business sizes

31% to 48% for small to medium businesses and 56% to 79% for large businesses.

Forty eight percent of small and medium businesses have a social media presence compared with 31% last year, while 79% of large businesses do, which compares with 56% last year.

social media business graphic

Over four in 10 medium sized businesses use Twitter (43%), while this figure increases to 61% for large businesses.

Instagram is also reasonably popular among medium (28%) and large (42%) sized businesses.

YouTube (41%) has a similar penetration in large businesses.

Instagram is also now used by over a quarter of medium sized businesses (28%) but its penetration in the small business segment remains much lower (12%).

More businesses now have a social media presence than has previously been recorded. Forty eight percent of small businesses, 54% of medium businesses and 79% of large businesses are now on social media.

sensis

Why is this significant?

The businesses that were dragging their feet are realising they are being left behind and launching their Social Media channels.

Social isn’t going away. There are many businesses doing a good job of their Social and brands want this competitive edge for themselves.

sensis social media report

The other aspect of this is the longer you wait to get your business on Social Media the harder it’s going to be to find your place in the newsfeed. It’s already a much tougher environment for organic growth than it was when I started using Social Media to drive business 5+ years ago.

You use Social Media differently according to your age group!

No big surprise here.

Visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are more popular for 18 to 29 year olds, and LinkedIn and Google+ for 40 to 49 year olds.

sensis 4

What does this mean for your business? It’s incredibly important to know who your customers are. You won’t get your messages out to them if you’re not using the right channels. Snapchat might be a huge growth platform right now – but if you sell to people 40+ it’s probably not for you (at least at the moment, doesn’t hurt to reserve your business name though…)

Mobile phones are king!

Smartphones are now the most popular device, overtaking laptops which have lost some appeal.

Why does this matter? Due to the varying functionality and display sizes across desktop and mobile Social Media, make sure your content and Call To Action (CTA) are “mobile-first” meaning, optimised for viewing and use on a phone. It’s important to make your images look appealing on mobile, as this will determine whether people will consume your content.

laptops

Australians own an average of three Internet-enabled devices, which underlines our strong appetite for online activity.

People are still researching businesses on Social Media!

Online blogs and reviews remain a fairly widespread influence on purchasing decisions with 60% of social media users claiming to read them before making a purchase.

sensis2

Fifty eight percent will look at up to five reviews before making a decision.

social

Social Media advertising is increasing!

Over eight in 10 of all businesses who advertise on social media have placed an ad on Facebook.

advertising

Here’s some WA stats for my local folks!

We don’t take ourselves too seriously!

wa

And we’re a bit gross…

wa toilet

 

If you want to view the full report here’s a link for you!

A Business Blog about Blogging for your Business [blog-ception]

Business Blogging – Do I Need It?

I don’t have time to write a blog.

I don’t know what to write about.

Im not a good writer.

How will having a blog benefit my business?

Will it increase sales?

You may have asked these questions! This post is about answering them and more to explain why you need to be blogging for your business.

There are many reasons you should be producing your own original content by writing a blog – but in my mind they fall into 3 main categories; for your website, for your brand and for your customers (or potential new customers)

Let me explain.

Blogging for your website

At the end of the day it’s not really for your website (I mean it doesn’t care if you blog or not) I’m talking about optimising your website to do what you need it to do, which is create leads and customers for your business!

So why will your website be better with a blog?

Increased Visits

When you have a blog that provides relevant, up to date, useful information for your target market that’s not available anywhere else you have become a resource. They have a reason to visit your website other than to look at your products or services. Not only that, but if they like what they see (or it served a purpose for them) they are more likely to visit your website again next time they need that information. Blogging regularly can make visitors into fans, which again can turn them into leads.

Your visitors may even share your post, follow your blog or sign up to receive your blog posts via email. That’s cool huh?

Google Ranking & SEO

Google likes it fresh! Writing helpful, relevant blog posts can boost your organic search rankings – helping people find your website more easily. We all want a nice position at the top of our relevant Google search terms! Business blogging that follows the golden SEO rules and good web practises will rank higher than those who don’t.

Having a website that was built and left to go stale is not going to help your search rankings. You could come out on top of your competitors just from keeping your website fresh and regularly publishing high quality blog posts.

SEO business blogging

Retargeting

If you aren’t sure what retargeting is just think back to a time where you went to a website looking for some information and the next thing you know, you see their ads in your Facebook newsfeed. This is retargeting. You might think “How did Facebook know I was just on that website?” That’s easy – you were pixeled.

Retargeting is a very effective way of being able to tell who has been to your website and creating messages for them to entice them back. It’s both a bit creepy and super-awesome at the same time!

Websites can be set up to place a piece of tracking code (a pixel or cookie) that identifies you as having visited that site, or even pages within the site. This way marketers in the know can offer you incentives to get you back and get you clicking!

So – get people to be interested in your blog posts, which they go to your website to see, where they are pixeled – making you able to retarget them in other parts of the web.

Sign Ups

It’s all about that [data]base, bout that [data]base (no treble)

Getting people to sign up to your email database is a great result of business blogging! Then you can send them marketing emails, still one of the most effective marketing methods around! The power of being invited directly into people’s inboxes is something your business should be utilising if you aren’t already.

I’ve written in a previous post about how I think Social Media Marketing and your email database are BFFs so we won’t explore this further here – but trust me if you do one thing for your business marketing it’s start that database!

What does this have to do with your business blog? If people like your content they will sign up so they don’t miss the next post. Your blog posts can have a Call To Action (CTA) at the end asking people to sign up for more posts, a free quote, a discount or any number of other things and once you have that coveted email you can start sending people relevant information about your business, special offers or more helpful and relevant blog posts.

Blogging for your Brand

This section is where I’ll discuss why having a blog is good for your brand and business image.

Get to know your brand story

In our modern world people want to know the story behind things, including your business! How did you start, what is your message, and what do you believe in? These concepts can be hard to convey, so writing about them on your business blog is a way for your customers and potential customers to find out more about your business.

People are more likely to buy from a brand they feel a connection to, and they love hearing behind the scenes content not everyone knows about. They feel like part of the team. They feel smart when they tell their friends about it.

Building Trust

People buy from brands they trust. Unless you have an incredibly niche product or service there’s someone out there who has a similar offering to you. If your competitor’s product (or service) is the same or similar and it’s at a similar price point you need to make buyers choose yours over theirs.

If your targeted customers have been helped or entertained by your blog posts they are way more likely to choose your business when it comes time to buy! They know you. They like you. They trust you. They even (hopefully) let you into their inbox!

Building Authority

As with the point about trust above, great blog posts will build your professional authority. I wrote a previous post about this which you can read if you missed it and you’d like more information on how to gain authority using Social Media.

Outpace your Competitors

Producing your own original content (such as blog posts) is a great way to make you stand out in your niche. Sure, you can often find articles that have the information you want to share with your audience – but wouldn’t you rather them click through to your website than someone else’s? Think back to the first section and do it for your website!

Blogging for your Customers

We’ve touched on this, but I felt it needed to be stated specifically in it’s own section. Start business blogging for your customers and potential new customers! Why? So many reasons!

Customer Service

Maybe your product or service is niche or new, posting about how to use it will help customers who have already bought from you get the most out of their purchase! This is a sure-fire way to make your business appear more helpful, knowledgeable and actually care about it’s customers (and maybe even sell a follow up product or add-on service…)

Even if it’s not new, people might still need help getting the most out of your product! No-one wants to feel like once they have purchased from you they are no longer important.

How-to posts are very popular and you could consider making a video and embedding it onto your post! Blogs don’t have to be just text!

business blogging: customer service

Help & Advice

If you can help your target audience solve a problem they will remember you! It’s referred to as addressing a ‘pain point’ and is a great way to get people talking about your business. There’s so much information online, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Stand out from the crowd by offering information, advice and guides that are relevant to your audience and they’re much more likely to remember your brand and remember it favourably!

So they can find you

Going back to what we discussed in the website section, if you have a great product and amazing customer service people will buy from you, but only if they know about you! Having a business blog helps your search ranking so more people can find your website and learn out about your business, resulting in more leads and increased sales.

Still not convinced?

I have gained feedback from people in the know about business blogging and collected their thoughts here for you.

I asked them “If you only had ONE thing to tell people about blogging for their business what would it be…?” and here are their responses!

“Blogging valuable and relevant content which adequately solves your audience’s problems is one of the best ways to non-invasively attract new traffic to your website”

-Paul Ramondo

Paul is an Aussie dude teaching Marketers, Entrepreneurs and Startups how to Drive More Traffic, Elevate Engagement and Amplify Conversion Rates. You can visit his website to find out more about Facebook Marketing Strategies. He was also one of my first Social Media mentors!

“My number one tip would be to stay on topic – define your niche and stick to it in order to build a brand, cultivate trust and enhance credibility.” 

Brook McCarthy

Brooke is an Australian digital marketing specialist with a background in Public Relations. Her niche is helping small businesses and solo-entrepreneurs. She writes a very informative blog, including posts about blogging.

There’s also some additional reading you can do, which in all honesty will cover the same ground as we’ve already discussed here, but if you love research don’t let me stop you!

Recommended reading on business blogging:

Hubspot – Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing

Entrepreneur – Why Your Small Business Must Start a Blog

Business2Community – Why Does My Website Need a Blog?

business blogging question

So back to your original questions, we’ve covered what the benefits of business blogging are and how they can definitely increase your sales, brand retention, brand loyalty and help your potential customers know and trust you, not to mention retargeting! But you had some practical concerns too:

I don’t have time to write a blog.

At first it may take you some time to find your blog mojo. Once you have a few under your belt you’ll refine your process and it will get faster.

OR you can pay someone to do it for you!

I don’t know what to write about.

What is it that your customers or potential customers always ask you? What do they need help with? What’s something you always tell people looking at your products? These are great subjects to start on as they should almost write themselves!

Im not a good writer.

We discussed that you can outsource this, or have someone better suited within your business to write your blogs for you.

Not only that – but blogs don’t have to be text-heavy. For SEO purposes they need to be longer than 300 words (which is pretty short really) and they can be made up of quotes, images, infographics, video, gifs, embedded Facebook posts – you don’t have to be a budding Hemingway to write a great blog post.

OK, now what?

Get Organised

It’s not enough to have great blog content. You need to publish posts regularly and for this I would suggest having a calendar. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – you can use your Google Calendar, an Excel Spreadsheet or whatever you feel comfortable with. Write down blog post ideas and map them out so you can continue to post good quality content regularly.

This is even more important if someone else is writing your blog posts for you. Know when they are due, when you’ll get your drafts and how long you’ll have for revisions.

Make it Appealing

Your blog posts need to draw people in, and keep them reading! Boring is not going to help you achieve your business goals. Make sure you break up any long sections of text with subheadings, images, charts, videos or anything that’s relevant to kept their interest.

Write in the style of your brand. If you aren’t a corporate business don’t write in a formal style. Do YOU! Convey your brand’s essence through your tone and your choice of images.

Don’t just Google images and use them. This is a no-no! Read my post on how to find good quality images and don’t get caught using someone’s work. This is simply bad for business!

The Proof is in the Pudding!

Make sure you proof your work! You don’t have to be a great writer – but you do have to write a blog that’s worth people’s time.

It’s not only unprofessional to publish spelling and grammatical errors on your business blog, but Google is a grammar-nazi too! Posts that contain errors will be ranked lower, so do yourself a favour and check your posts, or better yet get someone else to look over it for you.

Promote Your Posts

Not only do you need to have a plan of what you’re going to post and actually write the blogs – you also have to distribute the content. This is where your Social Media channels and your email database come in! You don’t want the time you spend writing your business blog to go to waste, which is what will happen if you don’t make sure you promote it to the right people.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great Social Media channels to get eyes on your blog posts. They can include links to your posts and drive traffic back to your website. Remember to include relevant hashtags where appropriate. You can use other channels – but if you’re just starting out I would recommend picking the one or two of these you have the most established following on and starting there.

If the content of your business blog is what we call ‘evergreen’ meaning it isn’t time specific, you can post your blogs to Social Media more than once. Don’t make it spammy and you may want to change up the images and messages you post along with it – but great evergreen business blog posts with helpful information never go out of style!

You can also send your blog posts to your email database, or better yet send a summary and the link and let them go and read it on your website if they find it interesting (remember we’d like to pixel them!)

So what do you think? Will you be setting up a blog for your business?

We’d love your feedback on this post, and if you have any questions feel free to leave us a comment here or on our Social Media channels – or contact us for a private consult!

What Are Hashtags and Why Should I Care?

What is a Hashtag for anyway?

A hashtag is used to group information by topic. They make searching easier and can elevate your reach on Social Media, making your content more easily found by people outside of your current followers!

Hashtags join your content (posts, tweets & grams) to a wider conversation! You could find fans, enthusiasts, influencers and more – but even better, they can find you. So the more the merrier, right? Not exactly.

Let’s look at how hashtags are used on different Social Media platforms.

Twitter

Hashtags are at home on Twitter. They belong there. Tweets without hashtags are pretty much ignored. There are some conventions you will need to keep in mind though.

Twitter is a busy place. You have 140 characters to make your point so you have to do it without any anything unnecessary – no frills! It can be tough to get your point across in such a brief manner, so it’s common for people to use Twitter to link to longer-form content. That link takes up some of your characters.

Tweets with photos perform better as they stand out in the newsfeed. But that photo is also going to eat away at your character limit too!

Mentioning people you think will like and respond to your content is a good way to get your tweets seen, but there’s even more characters used. Suddenly your message needs to fit into a smaller and smaller space. How can you let people know what your tweet is about?

Hashtags!

If your tweet refers to an industry, sector, or topic use those as a hashtag. This means people looking for information about that topic (who may have never heard of you) can still discover your tweet. If that tweet links to your blog or website – they can click through and read your content! You have gained a web visitor and potentially a new customer.

Some other things you can do with hashtags on Twitter:

  • Consider using your brand or product name – that way all your tweets are linked
  • Create unique event hashtags & promote these for people who like to ‘live tweet’
  • Be funny or convey tone

There are 3rd party tools to help you make better use of hashtags.

You can monitor a hashtag to see tweets that contain it, this can be used to keep tabs on your brand reputation, your competitors, your industry trends etc. Examples of free programs you can set up hashtag feeds are Tweetdeck & Hootsuite.

You can check for the popularity of hashtags, letting you see how likely your tweet will be found. You’ll need to find a hashtag popular enough but not saturated; try RiteTag or Hashtagify.me for this.

Chameleon’s top tips:

  1. Use an image in your tweets and 3 hashtags max. This will help extend reach without people ignoring it for looking spammy.
  2. Use third-party tools to help your understanding of hashtags and monitor those relevant to your niche

Instagram

Another place hashtags are at home is on Instagram!

Instagram has a much meatier character limit of 2200, but it’s a visual platform – so just because they are available to be used doesn’t mean you need to use them all. Your image selection matters much more than your caption, as after all that’s all it is, a caption to give context to your image.

Hashtags on Instagram have the same purpose as they do on Twitter, for the ease of search as they group posts by topic. Many Instagram users spend the majority of their time on the platform searching hashtags to see the latest and greatest in whatever they’re interested in.

So you can express yourself more freely on Instagram – plus you can use up to 30 hashtags! Again, don’t feel the need to use 30 just because you can, make them relevant to the photo and your niche. Brands will tend to post their hashtags in a comment under their caption to keep them a bit more ‘out of the way’ of users.

You can also use popular for sharing – say you’re in Perth, WA and you post a great photo of Perth, you could tag #soperth or #perthisok as they are large accounts that re-post tagged content. Getting your post re-posted (called a regram) can really raise your profile on he platform. There are plenty of accounts that share curated content and you should look into this as part of your hashtag homework.

Similar tools exist for Instagram hashtags, but there’s not as much choice as with Twitter. Hashtagify.me is good for looking up Instagram hashtags and seeing which ones have been used in conjunction with the ones you are using.

As with Twitter it makes sense to use a hashtag for your company or product. Do a search first to make sure it’s unique.

[bctt tweet=”Research & use Instagram hashtags that relate to your brand, your photo & your niche. Steer away from spammy ones like ‘instagood’ or ‘followme’ #instagram #hashtags” username=”carmalevene”]

Chameleon’s Top Tip: Research and use Instagram hashtags that relate to your brand, your photo and your niche, and steer away from the spammy ones like #instagood #followme etc.

Facebook

Facebook was slow to embrace hashtags, it was never really considered a place where you would do a lot of searching. More commonly people use Facebook’s newsfeed to connect with their friends and family – not to research brands or topics.

You can use hashtags on Facebook and they do still serve the same purpose as the other platforms, however people are not as receptive to seeing them and studies show Facebook posts with hashtags receive lower engagement from users.

If you are going to use hashtags in your digital marketing you can use them on Facebook to keep consistency. I use them from time to time but always leave a line break between the copy of the post to make them more ‘ignore-able’ to users.

Chameleon’s Top Tip: If you are going to use hashtags on Facebook, limit it to 3 max and try to put them at the end of your post, not littered throughout as this will put hashtag haters off your post altogether.

Things to remember about hashtags

You can use hashtags on Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr as well. We’re not going to go into further details on those channels in this post – but if you do want to know more about them, leave us a comment, we’d be happy to help you!

Do some research on the channels you want to use for your business, find out if they are hashtag friendly and what the individual conventions are; one tag doesn’t fit all.

Here are some hashtag facts you might like to know:

  • Most platforms don’t allow spaces in hashtags (Tumblr is an exception)
  • Hashtags can’t contain punctuation
  • Spaces must be left between hashtags
  • Hashtags can be tracked for reach using third-party software
  • There are popular hashtags like #TBT (Throwback Thursday) you can search for ones that might apply to your niche

#FAIL

An article on hashtags would be negligent if it didn’t warn you about possible issues with choosing a hashtag. There have been many bad examples!

We’re just going to leave you with probably our favourite – which involved a well-intentioned but badly thought out launch party tweet for a Susan Boyle album.

The hashtag that was chosen made it sound like an entirely different party altogether!

Susan Album Party became:

#susanalbumparty

Which (if you are a little slower on the uptake, or have a very clean mind) became:

Sus Anal Bum Party

The Venn diagram intersection of people who would attend both these parties would be interesting!

If you’re keen on reading more of these fails, there are loads! You can check some of them out in this article. It’s important to learn from other’s mistakes!

Wrapping Up

Hashtags are a great way to join in the conversation – and that’s what Social Media is about, being social! So with some quick research and a bit of care you can use hashtags to increase the reach of your content on Social Media and be found by more people looking for information about your industry.

[bctt tweet=”Hashtags are a great way to join in the conversation – and that’s what Social Media is about, being social! #hashtags #socialmedia” username=”carmalevene”]

We’d love to hear from you!

Did this article help you understand more about what hashtags do and how to use them? Leave us a comment or swing by our socials.