Marketing

Viewing posts from the Marketing category

Prohibition establish Australian agency network

Prohibition has expanded its reach to cover the Australian market, as it forms an agency alliance with award-winning Sydney-based experiential, social and PR outfit, Rinsed.

The move will see Prohibition able to offer its domestic clients a route into the Australasian market, as well as strengthening its  ambient media and experiential offering. Meanwhile, Rinsed will also be able to leverage Prohibition’s wealth of expertise in the UK, and social media knowledge.

Prohibition will also provide consultancy services to a range of Rinsed’s existing clients, and is already jointly working on Australia/UK projects for bed manufacturer, Sealy, and print, design and web group, Snap, both of whom have operations in the UK and Republic of Ireland, respectively.

RinsedRinsed will also provide creative and strategic consultancy to Prohibition, allowing it to develop its experiential marketing services in domestic markets.

Rinsed is an award-winning agency agency that specialises in gaming and consumer technology. It works with a wide range of brands including Microsoft, Activision, and Xbox – famously launching the brand’s new console by turning Sydney tower green.

 

Top Ten Instagram Tools

Top Ten Tools – Instagram

Instagram is one of the newer social media platforms on the block, when compared to digital veterans like Facebook and Twitter. However, it is rapidly becoming one of the most popular, with the site reaching the 10 million user landmark within 10 weeks of its launch. The photo-sharing site now has more than 150 million active users, with 55 million images being shared around the globe each and every day.

Increasingly, brands are beginning to recognise the benefits of being active on Instagram, and to aid marketers and PRs, there are a growing number of tools available to help ensure that your account is as engaging and appealing as possible. Here’s my roundup of the very best.

  1. Gram Feed

Gram Feed is Prohibition’s personal favourite; an incredibly handy tool providing the only aspect that Instagram’s creators seem to have overlooked, a fully-functioning website. The tool not only makes it much easier to browse your own feed, but also to share friends’ images on other social sites like Facebook and Twitter. The clever part, and undoubtedly the most useful for social marketers, is its’ location visualisation capability. You can identify exactly where an image was posted, and when. If you enter a specific location, you are able to see posts made within a specific distance and the people who’ve posted them – allowing you to identify your target audience and interact with them on a channel where they’re already active.

  1. Iconosquare

Iconosquare, formerly Statigram, is an extremely helpful programme which provides really detailed analytics of your account, demonstrating in-depth statistics such as follower growth, how engaging content is and the most popular types of content. This allows you to better tailor you future content to ensure it is as successful as possible and in turn, creates better results. Another interesting feature is its ability to promote posts across other platforms. For example, if you haven’t yet joined the Instagram hype, you can easily install the app which enables you to share Instagram content onto your Facebook page.

  1. Postso

Postso is an Instagram scheduling tool. If you’re managing an Instagram account on behalf of a client, and want your content to reach the maximum amount of people, you may want to wait to post something until your audience’s peak activity time. This may well be 2am, and in these cases, a scheduling tool is pivotal. It may not offer much else in the way of tricks, but you cannot beat its functionality and helpfulness!

  1. Twtrland

Twtrland may well have started out as an analytics tool for Twitter, but it has now branched out into the Instagram arena too. It is key for conducting online competitor analysis, as well as analysing your own data and audiences. Not only can you examine what kinds of content your competitor is using, but you can also access a competitor’s network – meaning that you can compare follower statistics and how much engagement they get on a standard basis.

  1. Simply Measured

Simply Measured is the ultimate tool when it comes to Instagram analytics. It allows you to analyse your brands not only on Instagram, but also on Facebook, Twitter and even new(ish) kid on the block, Google+. This tool allows you to extract data from your account and even run individual reports which can be downloaded into an Excel format, allowing you to analyse the data you choose more closely. It analyses most of the same statistics as the majority of other tools, but it also includes some more obscure information like your most engaging filter, location and engagement outside of Instagram – i.e Tweets and Facebook likes, comments and shares on your photos.

  1. Piqora

Piqora is a popular tool and it provides an extensive analysis of both Instagram and Pinterest accounts. For Instagram, it allows you to find and track your most popular hashtags and successful images – enabling you to share them on your other social media platforms. It also boasts another useful advantage: monitoring conversation. As all PRs and marketers will know, reliable tools for monitoring brand conversation are hard to come by, and when monitoring key influencers and competitors, with Piqora, you can also track brand images shared by particular users.

  1. SnapWidget

SnapWidget allows you to easily embed a photo gallery into your website or blog, and you can even customise its appearance. You can choose whether to display the gallery based on either a username or a hashtag, depending on what you want to track.

  1. Picdeck

Picdeck is an extremely useful tool that can be used to organise accounts. It is the Instagram equivalent of Tweetdeck, and it aims to organise Instagram in the same way that Tweetdeck organises Twitter feeds. When you log in, the app creates a column of the Instagram feed, and like Tweetdeck, you can set up other columns for individual users or specific hashtags that you want to monitor – be this competitors or key influencers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same functionality as Tweetdeck as of yet, as you can’t create new Instagram posts through the programme, or use it for multiple accounts.

  1. Totems

Totems describes itself as ‘the most complete marketing suite for brands on Instagram’, and is undoubtedly an extremely useful tool for marketers whose clients are active on Instagram. It offers an array of advanced social analytics for Instagram accounts – invaluable for reporting back to clients on progress of social accounts. This tool allows you to analyse your audience, track all campaigns, and monitor your competitors all in one easy and simple to use programme.

10. Pic Stitch

Pic Stitch is a really useful Instagram tool for when you want to try out different stylistic features on your images. It also allows you to combine a number of pictures into one portrait. There are also 32 varieties of layout and nine photo aspect ratios to choose from, enabling you to customise your image to exactly how you want it, and to have the correct format for each specific platform – creating a really premium image. Pic Stitch also allows you to apply artistic finishes to your photos, from rounded corners to shadows, numerous patterns and filters. This aspect is particularly useful when making a client’s product or venue look more appealing, and which can be tailored, depending on its audience.

 

Are you active on any of the tools above? Which ones do you use or swear by? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Calling all marketing graduates

If you’re a graduate looking to get your first break in the industry and you have a passion for all things marketing, then there might be an opportunity for you with one of our nationally renowned clients.KeepmoatLogoSquareSmall

The Company

Keepmoat is a national market leader in sustainable community regeneration, housing, and planned and responsive repairs to the UK housing industry.

The Job

A new opportunity has arisen with our client, Keepmoat, in their head office marketing team. Do you have a passion for marketing and an interest in all things digital? They are looking for an analytical-minded graduate to join a fast-growing team in Doncaster to support the management of company statistics, as well as being involved with other exciting responsibilities. Apply now for a chance to become Keepmoat’s new Marketing Assistant.

Get in touch

If you’re interested, please email marketing@keepmoat.com with a covering letter and a copy of your CV.

A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

Content marketing is a fairly new concept, and although many may see it simply as online journalism, the reality is that content marketing is a key tool in drawing in an audience and increasing the visibility of a client. If you have clients whose products aren’t of genuine interest to you then producing engaging, interesting copy can prove to be difficult. Here at Prohibition, we produce web content for a wide range of products and services, and know just how much work goes into perfecting a content marketing system and becoming experts on multiple subject matters. If you’re struggling with where to start on those tricky pieces of content, then check out our guide as to best practice.

Know the audience and know the market
If you’re going to write convincing content as part of your strategy then you need impart authoritativeness on your readers. No matter what subject matter you’re writing an article on, there will already be a market out there you’ll need to compete against. Before you start writing, check the existing market to see what is already readily available. Audience views and engagement are vital aspects of content marketing, so take a look at the style of writing that is already proving successful. Take these styles and tweak them to come up with original content, as you don’t want to produce overly similar articles to what is already on the web.

Google predictions
You could produce the highest quality content is of genuine interest to people, however if you don’t make your article Google friendly then the chances are no one will find it. Even if you thoroughly research your market and audience before then producing an immaculately written piece of content, you’ve only fought half the battle. As a basic start, head to Google and type in the keywords of your article. Take note of the Google search bar, as it tries to predict what you’re writing. Often, when people search for topics they will pick the most relevant predicted search, meaning that the suggestions are topics that are searched frequently. By including popular words in your article titles then you increase the search-ability of your work.

Google AdWords
Whilst the use of the above mentioned Google predictions is a basic tool, the most effective way to target an article to your audience is through the use of Google AdWords. A free tool, AdWords allows you to inter the key themes of your article, which then gives results around the most popular search terms on the subject, along with the most associated phrases. The function also provides information on how expensive advertising is for each search, with higher priced searches driving most traffic. Incorporate this knowledge into your title and article headings to take the Google ranking of your article to the next level.

Quality or quantity?
This is an important question when it comes to content marketing, and one that you need to strike the right balance with. It’s always the case that any content you write should be of a high quality, however sometimes the rigorous research and attention to detail with certain articles limits your overall output. If you’re building a content marketing strategy on behalf of a client completely from scratch, then you need to begin the process with a focus on quantity. It’s tough to strike a balance, especially when you still need to do initial research into the existing market and your potential audience, however it will be important initially to churn out well written articles with relative frequency. Through providing a reasonable flow of content you will begin to generate an audience. As time goes by, we’d advise you rein in the quantity and focus on exclusive high quality pieces, which readers won’t find anywhere else on the web, meaning they’ll keep returning to read your work.

Focus on your subject
If you write exclusively about a narrow topic, they you will be aware that there’s only so much you can write articles on before you begin to run out of ideas and start regurgitating old content. At some point, you’ll probably be forced into expanding into other topics, however you’ll need to make sure they remain relevant to your product and your audience. In order to do this, you’ll need to ‘cast a wider net’, and connect with new people on social media to make sure your diversified content doesn’t go to waste.

Will people come back?
If you follow these steps, then you’ll begin to generate a real following. Your content will be out there on the web, searchable on Google, in high quantities and of high quality. We’ve found this to be a recipe for success when it comes content marketing, with our own strategy over at First Home News being a case in point. Even the best writer will admit that the longer you work on a piece, the higher the quality will be, so build towards this. Establishing a high amount of content to begin is important so that your audience don’t stumble across your page with a bare, unprofessional look. Building up an archive of articles quickly makes you look more authoritative, so is an important first step. Importantly, you don’t want to be shamelessly plugging your client within your content. The aim of a content marketing strategy is to provide content of genuine interest to potential customers without alienating them.

 

Do you have any top tips for content marketing, or have we missed anything off that you’d advise? If so, drop us a comment in the box below.

 

Photo Credit: Ѕolo via Compfight cc

How to moderate comments on a brand Facebook page

Sadly sometimes it’s inevitable that from time to time, customers will have a small gripe with your company, and if you have a social media presence it can often result in people becoming rude or abusive on your online platforms.

6150105185_2568db7c99_b

In order to try and contain or extinguish these figurative fires you need to approach the situation in the right manner to prevent customer dissatisfaction and this negativity.

Facebook Settings – Before you start

When first starting your Facebook page it’s always worth familiarising yourself with the page settings which are accessible to a page admin.

To start, you have the option of whether you want to enable users to post on your wall, via the ‘posting ability‘ function. Using this setting can restrict users in a way which only allows them to reply to your posts, rather than them being able to make their own posts directly on the page’s timeline. This can reduce a page being filled with nasty negative posts and your great content being lost.

Another easy way to filter out the abusive comments from positive ones is through use of the ‘profanity setting’. This will automatically block posts with profanity in accordance with the settings you set from none to strong. Of course there will be words with negative tones created by users to skirt your guidelines, meaning there will be insults which your computer and the vast majority of the public won’t understand or even dream of. It is also an American filter so it sometimes doesn’t understand UK curse words.

If you need any extra help use a swear word generator to really maximise your creativity but no laughing at the words please!

how to settings facebook

As a fail safe, on the off chance the profanity setting is unable to block certain words, there is a setting which allows you to immediately block comments which use the words of your choice, labelled ‘moderation blocklist‘. Whilst this might be one of the more time consuming ways to moderate posts, it is arguably the most effective.

Laying Down Your Facebook Page Ground Rules

It is important to set out your page rules beforehand rather than add them later when you are experiencing difficult or angry customers. The creation of some house rules will give you the basis to act and will hopefully prevent trollish abuse or the advertising/promotion of other sites of your page. Remember, social media is in the public domain and therefore all outward facing, so taking the time to prevent bad practice is much easier than panicking and having to react when the worst occurs. Here are the types of things to consider when writing your own house rules:

  1. Clarity and politeness is key – lay out your rules but show you have the customer’s interests at heart, whilst also encouraging discussion e.g. saying you will remove abusive comments ‘so you can quickly and efficiently help people in need’.
  2. Keep the focus on you – people will either reference other companies or post links to external sources. While these comments might not be abusive, they restrict focus on you. Your own page is about self-promotion meaning comments promoting outside organisations should be removed and followed up with a private explanation on why you have removed the comment.
  3. Give contact details – people will have genuine queries that need to be addressed, some of which are difficult to solve over social media. To prevent frustration display a contact number or email to customer support.
  4. Deleting chain comments – some comments might have to be deleted even though they aren’t abusive as they’re chained to a comment which needs to be removed. Highlight the possibility of this situation and in event of it happening, apologise and explain the situation.
  5. No tolerances for spam – both customer and provider have little patience with spam. Remove the posts and notify the user that you won’t tolerate it.
  6. Exercise your right to delete comments and block users – while it shouldn’t be your first port of call, make it clear you are within your right to remove posts or people from your page. Only use when other avenues have been exhausted.
  7. Outline protection for others – if users leave comments containing their contact details delete the comment for the safety of the consumer and contact them privately to help them. Outline a zero tolerance of bullying to protect yourself and your consumer’s interests.

An example being the BBC’s blog house rules:

bbc house rules

Replying to people’s Facebook Comments

Now your Facebook page is set out, don’t be scared you maybe at the mercy of the public, some of whom will be looking to bombard you with complaints but the reality is often far less sinister.

Whilst it may be frustrating to get complaints or negative feedback, the trick is to grit your teeth and bare each comment no matter the how irritating or daft the comments may be. Replying to each comment in a polite and helpful manner is the only way you will reap the rewards from your social media page. Never get involved in an argument.

tesco

Tesco’s four pint milk might be a puzzle to pour for the minority of the public, but the post above is dealt with in a polite and helpful manner of which (so far) hasn’t resulted in a customer backlash.

Deleting comments should be your last option. If the user is repeatedly abusive and ignoring your help, then it might be time to delete their comments and possibly block the individual if no progress is being made as it can cause distress and annoyance to your other page fans.

Be careful when deleting comments however, no one likes to be ignored and if a user realises their comment has been deleted they could come back bitter, possibly trying to confront you on the subject (even if it’s clearly obvious why you have done so).

If the user persists to leave negative comments despite you sorting their problem and this is causing trouble regularly. This is when its probably best to block that particular user, before any more disruption is caused. Think about containment, if you’ve got an isolated problem with a user, who isn’t being responsive or constructive, cut them out of the picture so you can focus on constructive criticism and keep the attention on your brand and what your trying to do.

All of this can seem rather scary but here at Prohibition we manage pages of all shapes and sizes and some get genuine negative customer service enquiries and some get none. However, if you try to help people and be transparent with your replies and take the antagonists offline this will often result in a far happier Facebook community that continues to thrive.

If you are really interested in how to contain an online crisis you can also read our MD’s latest article on E-consultancy entitled: 22 tips to help contain an online crisis.

Image used under creative commons, courtesy of CALI.

 

Social Media: 3.0 is the collaborative economy here’s why

Just as marketers and PRs were finally starting to get to grips with the growth of social media, the landscape has quickly shifted again as new media and technologies have begun to add another string to their ‘network society’ shaped bow.

Conventionally, the use of social media has revolved around the sharing of media and ideas thanks to the rapid development of the internet which has come a long way since the dial up connection and Alta Vista search engines of old. In fact, it’s this progression which has seen a continued growth in society which has resulted in a recent move from the information age, to the social media age and now into the age of the recently announced collaborative economy3971813137_ce72d9a3d8

Defining an age which has only recently started to emerge can be difficult as it hasn’t perhaps had long enough to develop a distinguished identity, however in essence, the collaborative economy is a term used to describe the way that products and services can be delivered en mass using the same social channels previously used to communication.

One of the pioneers in this new age of digital consumer technologies is popular industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang who is actually responsible for coining the term the collaborative economy, also known as the sharing economy. In his report on the collaborative economy, Jeremiah said:

“Social technologies radically disrupted communications, marketing, and customer care. With these same technologies, customers now buy products once and share them with each other. Beyond business functions, the Collaborative Economy impacts core business models.”

Like so many of these new digital phenomena, it is built on a simple concept but one that carries with it much depth and capability. Realising that companies may need a helping hand in understanding this notion of sharing and people power, Owyang founded Crowd Companies, an organisation whose focus is to steer people and companies through the collaborative economy. This reminds me of the Word-of-Mouth-Marketing Association WOMMA and when that was created. I helped publicise the UK version of (Womma) way back in 2007 and we helped to set up the guidelines for Word-of-Mouth Marketing in this country. The truth is these emerging sectors do need somebody to help steer them in the right direction. The organisation’s mission statement lists the bringing of “empowered people & resilient brands together to collaborate for shared value” and it’s this idea of empowering people which is so important to the cause.

In the UK we need to accept we are always around 2-3 years behind the US at adapting ourselves to these new ways of thinking. The collaborative economy enables people and enterprise, especially small start-ups, to create and share goods and services thanks to the capabilities of digital technologies in a way which allows them to compete with big business.

One of the most prominent examples of a start-up using the sharing economy to its advantage is Airbnb. Airbnb provides an online platform for people to rent out spare rooms or empty houses without the need of a physical environment provided by an intermediary. After being founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb now connects people in more than 33,000 cities from 192 countries and on a good day will provide placements for more than 200,000 people a night. Numbers such as these just go to show the power of social connections and the way social media can undermine long established business models and firms, like in this case the Hilton.

Perhaps the most ‘Tomorrow’s World’ like and certainly most impressive example of the collaborative economy is brought about thanks to the creation of the 3D printer. This incredible piece of printing technology, which is slowly becoming more viable for the (somewhat) average consumer, allows people to design and create remarkable objects and then share these online for free. . I love the concept of 3D printers and Formula One teams have been using them for years to print out new designs across the globe so when they are racing in Japan they don’t need to fly the parts from the UK to Japan – a brilliant idea. It also has the potential to completely reshape the manufacturing industry with the field of prosthetics already being impacted as well.

There are lots of ways that businesses can harness the collaborative economy and benefit from its capabilities and potential as they look to utilise this new social shift. The first is by seeking profit that can’t be quantified. Companies are looking to contribute more than just profit to the economy and this sharing ideology allows them to do just that. Rachel Botsman, social innovator and speaker, says: “the currency of the collaborative economy is trust”, and businesses must learn to become more humanised in order to take advantage of this social age.

Another way in which it can be made the most of is through the maximising of resources. Lisa Gansky, entrepreneur, investor and author says: “access to goods, services, and talent, triumphs over ownership.” So rather than trying to swim against the tide of these new business models, corporations need to work with them.

A little closer to home, one of the more recognised brands here in the UK, B&Q, has itself realised the impact of the collaborative economy and has tried to use its resources to work with it via Streetclub. The aim of Streetclub is to bring back a sense of community and it’s a way to connect neighbours via a private ‘online community notice board that’s easy and safe to use.’ It hopes to provide an online setting where a neighbourhood can talk, share, plan and be altogether more social. streetclubFor B&Q, this allows them to maximise their resources and provide opportunities which enables them to form a relationship with these small communities. All of these new ways of communicating and working together take me right back to Dell Computers and its Ideastorm which allowed customers to provide ideas and the best idea as voted by the community became an actual product or service giving the power to the community.

It’s also important for brands to be aware of the power of crowds in a time where organisations are yearning more and more for innovation, the benefit of looking outwards should not be underestimated. Owyang predicts that over the next decade crowds will begin to operate like a company and could eventually even grow to be one as the lines between employee and customer continue to become exponentially blurred. It’s not really that new though as web developers are doing it every day working with teams based all over the globe – it’s just a different way of connecting, working and thinking.

So as new media socialises the world and restricts the necessity for physical environment, small businesses and marketers have been given a helping hand to compete with industry giants. People have become empowered to make and share their own goods and if big blue chips wish to remain relevant they must engage in already proven social strategies and cooperate with the communal sphere. Failure to do so could see them ostracised as trends seem to point towards a future in which a collaboration between the crowd and companies could be the key to economic success. I certainly think this is the start of more and more collaborative projects and if you are not involved you are going to miss out.

Photo Credit: Marc_Smith via Compfight cc

IS IT GOODBYE FOR FACEBOOK?

goodbyeSince Facebook was first introduced in 2004 its popularity has sky rocketed, particularly amongst teenagers and the younger generation. The site was one of the few places where individuals could keep in touch with old friends, share photos and exchange new information or gossip. However, as the world around us becomes more technically advanced, more websites and mobile apps have been created. These new communication channels have also become increasingly popular and have started to overshadow Facebook which recently stated that it is are seeing ‘a decrease in daily users, especially amongst teens’.

With the introduction of messenger apps, Instagram and Twitter providing different alternatives to Facebook, teenagers are quickly becoming engaged in these apps. According to Mobile Marketing Magazine, Whatsapp is the biggest messaging app in the world, with more than 350 million monthly active users globally. Twitter has received 218 million users and Instagram has reached more than 80 million users, since it was established in 2010.

Aside from the broader range of social media sites now available, Facebook has slowly crept its way up to the older generation. A factor which could play a key role in why teenagers are losing interest. Mums, Dads and various other family members are jumping on the bandwagon and signing up to Facebook. Becoming ‘friends’ with older relatives suddenly hinders a teenagers privacy and the moment your parent comments on an activity of yours, the child can be somewhat traumatised. Due to this reasons, young individuals may no longer view Facebook as young or current and seek for another alternative.

Another possible theory is that it is quite common for people on Facebook to have a large selection of ‘friends’ they barely know due to adding brief acquaintances throughout the years (perhaps for a quick stalk). Whereas Whatsapp, in particular, only allows you to chat with your mobile contacts who tend to be a close friends you see in real life. Not only is this a safer option but it is also a more personal and accessible form of contact.

As Facebook users decrease, vanity amongst adolescences appears to be on the increase with the famous ‘selfie’ becoming progressively popular. MobileYouth claimed that almost half the photos on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) feeds among people aged 14 to 21 in the UK are selfies. This shocking statistic combined with the need for teenagers to document their lives with photos, explains the transition from Facebook to Instagram but it owns both channels so does it care? Instagram simply allows individuals to edit and display photos onto their page and to browse others photography; an ideal concept for teenagers these days.

It is fair to conclude that a mixture of factors has led to the downfall of Facebook’s younger market. If it wishes to turn this around they will have to find a way to be more current and attend to the needs of this younger generation. With youths losing interest so quickly, it is no doubt a difficult task however something must be done to save Facebook from someday vanishing completely.

This post was written by Nicole Atmore.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

The Best Social Media Tools for Content Marketing and Search

In this article the brilliant Paul O’Brien discussed the influence of social media on search engine rankings and highlights a number of tools which can be used to help bring some strategic focus to your content marketing programmes.Organisations often struggle to understand the relationship between their website content and social media. They have almost all embraced content marketing in the last 24 months and at this point you’d be hard pressed to find a business that isn’t interested in social. Nonetheless, the specific relationship between these two disciplines is hazy at most companies. How do these two critical elements play a symbiotic role in your marketing mix?

In a recent Forbes article from contributing author Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, the keys to content marketing and optimisation were reinforced as being no more complicated than building a quality experience, earning industry validation, and creating satisfied customers. In SEO parlance, for those of you trying to figure out the mysteries of search engine optimisation, showing up prominently in search results is as simple as unique / quality content, links from credible and related sources, and social media coverage from your advocates, influencers, and customers.

The Principles of Search Engine Optimisation

Over the past decade and more, search engines have engaged in a constant tug-of-war with the search engine marketing industry. In the nascent years, marketers learned how to leverage link building and content, replicated across dozens or even hundreds of different owned domains, to capture as much of a search results page as possible. As search engines evolved to understand when these tricks were taking place, web developers and marketers uncovered different techniques to hack their way into search results: keyword stuffing, buying links, and other “black hat” methods.

At the end of the day, Google and other search engines are trying to do one simple thing – to deliver the best search result possible. An engine like Google simply wants to be comprehensive and relevant while delivering the very result that you expect to find. The easiest way to understand how to optimize your content is to appreciate Google’s own goals and align your tactics accordingly.

In more recent years, Google has accomplished this with localisation and personalisation of search, improving the likelihood that the result you see is the result appropriate to where and who you are. But even understanding personalisation and localisation, businesses and websites are still struggling with creating the ideal content experience such that Google knows where and when to present them.

Consider the reason for this challenge from the search engines’ perspective.  You can create quality / unique content and you can earn links but if businesses can buy or barter for links, links from websites to your site lose their credibility. To ensure the ideal search experience, the engines need other indicators of the relevance, popularity, and merit of a businesses’ website and content.Over the past few years, social media has increasingly replaced links as that indicator. The fundamentals haven’t changed: a quality experience, industry validation, and satisfied customers – rather Google has increasingly learned how to validate the quality of your site by referring to the opinions of your customers more than links from websites: social media coverage from your advocates, influencers, and customers. That begs the question, are you leveraging social media to help support your content?

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

DeMers captures simply the role that social media plays in supporting your website and how search engines interpret that role:

  1. Interact in social media channelsGet out there and get connected. All too often, businesses expect social media to deliver customers or to serve merely to engage with them.  And while it is capable of that, you have the wrong understanding of social media if you’ve ever said about your business, “We’re not on Facebook because our customers aren’t there.”  Your engagement with social media channels helps search engines interpret the popularity of you, your business, and the content you create.  Simply put: you will get more customers through your website BECAUSE you are on Facebook, than you will from Facebook itself.
  2. Build your brandBuild word of mouth that gets you customers, mentions, and links. The challenge with expecting Twitter to result in customers is that it’s only likely to do that, at any meaningful scale that warrants your attention, when you have thousands of followers.  But when you consider what those followers, fans, and re-tweets, mean to potential partners, investors, and customers in their evaluation of your brand, you can see how social media influences their opinion.  The same influence is true of your content and where you rank on Google – if your brand doesn’t exist where your fans, as well as customers, can be found, how can search engines infer the strength of your brand?  Then, have you considered the implications relative to your competitors who are there?
  3. Generate social signals by making content easy to shareMake it easy to share your content.  As often as you think of how to improve your website’s conversion rate, you should be asking if you’re making it just as easy for your audience to share you brand and it’s content socially and encouraging readers to do so.
  4. Have a platform strategyWhat platforms are going to be the most effective for you?  Ever notice those sites that have a dozen share buttons?  They’re on Google+ , LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr… even Foursquare and Yelp.  Does anyone actually click all of those??  And how can you possibly participate in each social network??  You don’t need to be everywhere, you need to be somewhere.  Understand how Facebook and Twitter work and engage where it makes sense for you and your business participate.  You aren’t sending the right signals to search engines if your audience loves you on Pinterest but you aren’t even there to acknowledge your fans.  There is no harm in ignoring Twitter to dedicate your attention to Google+
  5. Think Google+: Still doubt the importance of social media in content optimisation?  DeMers adds that, “Google has been explicit that social signals play a role in its algorithm.” Twitter and Facebook matter some, but the network that carries the most weight is Google+. Have a + profile connected to your site and spend time building your Google+ audience.

How on earth do you do that?

Social Media Marketing Tools for Content Optimisation

Defining Real Time Marketing

According to Catalyst Search Marketing, those mug shots you increasingly seen next to some search results, deliver a 150% increase in clicks on YOUR search results.  Getting your face there isn’t an SEO technique, it’s a result of Google+

AUTHORSHIP

Introduced a few years ago by Google, the first social media tool you must learn about is called Google Authorship.  It establishes legitimacy of your content, as well the author(s), by linking Google’s social media, and the fans and social engagement there, with both your brand and the content author (be that you or someone else).   This isn’t too hard to set up, you start with a Google+ Profile and add a tag to your website.  Adding that tag can be a little complicated, so start here and give yourself some time to figure it out (or tweet me and I can steer you in the right direction).   If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which you should be, this is pretty simple.

The next great tool to consider was introduced to me by Shawn Collins, founder of the Affiliate Marketing Summit.  Getting a little more technical than you might want/need, Collins discovered KnowEm which analyzes not just your Google+ setup but social graph markup (as it’s called) in a report that also give you some insight to traditional search engine optimisation.  A quick run through of your website by KnowEm and you’ll have some intel on how to proceed with Google-like integration of Twitter, Facebook, and other networks to ensure your content gets the most out of social media integration.

SOCIAL SEARCH TRENDS

Now that we have you integrated, consider how you can leverage social data to explore industry trends and keywords related to your business.  The Dachis Group platform is unmatched at doing this for your brand and related terms, competitors, and products. You may want to complement it with other applications as well, one I like is SocialMention’s free tool.  With SocialMention, you can get an indication of basic sentiment and the top social keywords associated with a query and optimize your content using the terms that are hot.

SOCIAL SHARING

The last most important tool to embrace is that which enables your readers to share content. Stay away from the laundry list of share buttons or the plugins that present your audience with every network imaginable. Remember your platform focus, encourage your readers to share content where you participate most. The best way to do this is to add the code for the specific network on which you want content shared. Let’s focus on the big three and if you prefer another network, I think you get the idea: Google +1Facebook Like, and the Tweet button.

Another often overlooked resource for capturing the credibility of social sharing are your own employees. By definition every company is composed of people and you’d be hard pressed to find any of them inactive on social channels. If you can efficiently activate those individuals as amplifiers of your content, you can reap major rewards in your search rankings. The Dachis Group Employee Advocacy platform module is designed to explicitly do just that.

Conclusion

Social media marketing has become a critical path to content optimisation and no longer can you think of SEO alone in optimizing your website. Much like Google’s own goal, delivering the best result possible, content optimisation is as simple as delivering the best online experience possible, and the pervasiveness of social media means that business have to embrace the social media tools that ensure Google treats you right.

This article was originally posted here, we are thankful to Paul for letting us repost it to share it with you.

Xbox One – the big opportunity for content marketers

E3, the electronic entertainment expo, is the computer and video game industry’s annual trade fair taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Centre in June.

Probably the most exciting development at E3 last week was the launch of Xbox One. While the Playstation 4 may have grabbed all the headlines – from the fan boys at least – Xbox One truly is a device for the future, equipped with some impressive features.

More than just being a gaming device, Xbox One is a fully-fledged hybrid entertainment experience. And with its over-the-top video, second screen capabilities, voice recognition and superior gaming, it has the potential to reverse the trend of traditional TV audience fragmentation, especially among the younger demographics.

One of the features that really grabbed me is the console’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. Xbox One collates a viewer’s data from a whole variety of factors, such as the TV shows and movies you’re currently watching, your web browsing habits and what you’ve been up to in the world of social media. Sounds a bit Big Brother-ish? Well maybe, because it takes this information and learns from it, before offering you up content geared towards what you like.

However, it doesn’t end there. The Xbox One has an expression-recognition system in place where it tracks whether you’re happy, sad, bored, angry or even scared.  Based on factors such as heart rate and blood flow to your face, it gauges how you’re reacting to content, and responds accordingly.

I’ll give you an example to bring it to life. Maybe I’m watching Breaking Bad, and I’m wincing at some of the more gory scenes, but I’m excited, not disgusted. Xbox One will look at what other shows are similar to Breaking Bad that I might enjoy – Dexter, or Boardwalk Empire for example – and suggest them to me in real-time. Similarly, if I’ve been looking up the actor Brian Cranston, who plays ‘Walt’ in the show, and visiting his Wikipedia page,  then Xbox One might suggest other shows with him in that I might enjoy.

This give the console the opportunity to become a one-to-one personal experience for the user. And for brands this mean the opportunity to interact with consumer on a whole new level, able to physically and mentally involve consumers with their brands. The potential of all this is simply mind-blowing. Now it’s up to the brands to figure out exactly how they can leverage this amazing technology.

Football Flick – Video Seeding Campaign

Over the last couple of years we have been working closely with a number of the best marketing agencies in the country to help them seed their viral campaigns on the web whether that is news, video, apps or even music. It’s the best part of the job and we get to play with some amazing content and stunning videos from all kinds of different sectors and as long as the content is good we are happy to help.

The video we are working on this week comes from our good friends at The Lift Agency and is for a new product called Football Flick Urban. The Football Flick Urban is a three Dimensional multi user football skills trainer, which consists of a front curved ramp, a back ramp and a net in the middle. Each of the three elements of the Football Flick can be used to help train and develop skills used in football.

The video has been created by Lift to generate some real excitement around this useful new soccer training aid. It showcases just what can be done with the unit by players of any ability and what’s more that it can be used anywhere, reinforcing the brand’s strapline… Play Anywhere. It also features the talents of John Farnworth. John is 26 and from Longridge in Lancaster and he holds four Guinness World Records including the most around the worlds in under a minute. In the video, John shows off his skills as a football freestyler and all that the Football Flick Urban has to offer.

Having only been in circulation around 24 hours, the video is already proving to be a big hit. You can see it yourself below: