Social Media at War
Exercise ANACONDA 2016 is underway in Poland. Social media tells us it’s the largest NATO exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War, which may soon be called the First Cold War if things continue on their current trajectory. Washington Post report on the exercise
The obvious show of military might and committment to the defence of former Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe is significant. Whats even more important is the fact that official social media accounts all across NATO are reporting on ANACONDA and other smaller exercises appended to it in unprecedented volume with #Anakonda16
Its a first strong use of social media in the West’s efforts to respond effectively to Russian top general Gerasimov’s new form of “hybrid war”,used so effectively by Russia in the Ukraine.
When they invaded Georgia in 2008 it was with tanks and thousands of troops. This time, as dictated in Gerasimov’s doctrine, in Ukraine Russia employed numerous forms of deception including the use of out of uniform Russian troops, broad media disinformation in manufactured stories inserted into newscasts and fake atrocities spread virally in pro-Russian communities and around the world via social media. FT article on Ukraine campaign
It worked all too well and the Baltic states, Poland and other former Soviet republics are very worried. Hence Poland’s repeated recent requests for a standing NATO force in that country.
Its unlikely the west will resort to the kinds of fake reporting in news and social media that Putin’s forces seem perfectly comfortable using but effective use of social media to spread NATO’s message of strength and its commitment to defending threatened republics to all the relevant audiences is critical and thankfully, finally starting.
You can read an article about Gerasimov’s Doctrine in this article. Coalson article Gerasimov’s doctrine
Social Media works. It has to be planned and analyzed and filled with the right content at the right time. #AnaKonda16 does just that.Continue reading →
3 Reasons Why Your Social Media Isn’t About You
So much of the social media content seen today portrays the publisher’s company. It paints a great picture of what a plucky band of experts they offer and the cool space they inhabit. There’s bad news about that. Unless you are a competitor trying to mine information, the investment in social media that created that content is largely wasted. Here are three reasons why:
- Customers will simply tune it out social media that isn’t about their interests and the passions. Customers are interested in the things they need to enrich their businesses and their personal lives not the companies that sell them. Ever meet a workout enthusiast who didn’t enjoy articles about their health and fitness? Would they want to see repeated stories about the company that manages their gym?
- Your company just isn’t as inherently interesting to others as it is to you.
- Customers will simply tune it out social media that isn’t about their interests and the passions.
It’s not that you can’t or shouldn’t feature your organization or its products but if and when you do it has to be a part of a healthy and effective mix. In Social Media Marketing, where the bulk of your marketing will be done in the social media spaces themselves, it is essential to have some purely commercial posts. But only some. In Content Marketing where your social media is driving customers to great landing pages on your website it’s less important, but in both cases your viewers will only stick with your content if you keep it engaging for them.
Chances are you already know who your customers are and have identified the things that are important to them. Create a content strategy that uses pictures, stories, and information they want to read or view. Curate more of the same kind that you find online and republish it with appropriate attribution to the authors. Those tactics will make followers of viewers and keep them wanting more.
The same information about the personas that helped you create the content will help target your paid and boosted posts and build followers who will engage with your content and eventually buy your product or service.
Here is a simple test. Read your social posts and see if most of them have the scent of advertising. If they do, the likely aren’t working the way you hoped they would.Continue reading →
Content is WAY bigger than marketing.
The content that companies create and distribute is the way they tell their story to the world. It is the key to solid growth.
If your social media and blog writing is sailing off into the ether and getting no or very little engagement you are far from alone.
As more and more content gets created distributed and reposted across social media channels it gets more and more difficult to be seen and noticed.
Or is it? Some companies are still incredibly successful and there are reasons for it. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels have increasingly modified how their services distribute content to ensure that organizations must resort to some paid distribution to ensure success.
Because the field is getting more complex, increasingly organizations use marketing companies to help them craft their strategy, build the digital marketing racetrack and create the content to help them sell their goods or their service.
But if the content in posts or videos that companies or their agencies create isn’t resonating with their audience, it’s not going to be effective regardless of how well developed the strategy and tactics may be.
The best content is created to engage those audiences and to do that you have to understand them and have a solid grasp of their problems or their challenges. Stories of one kind or another are at the root of the best content. They convince your audience that your product or service will solve their problems for them.
Look at your analytics and see what kind of engagement your social media marketing or content marketing is getting. If it’s not getting traction, build or hire a content team and use them to help engage your customers and partners. If you have an agency and still aren’t getting the results you want, analyze your customer and see if the content you are creating for them is on the mark.
Use your own communications people and your subject matter experts to help define your customers and the people who influence them. Marketers know marketing but chances are they don’t know the people who make up your market as well as you or market specific content creation specialists like us at AJP.
Once you know your customer’s journey you can create the videos, photographs, posts and graphics you and your agency can use to fill your marketing and communications channels.
It’s not a secret. Successful companies analyze, they create engaging content, they measure its success and they fine tune the next product to be even more successful than the last.Continue reading →
What Reaction Are You Getting?“Like” has been joined by “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad” and “Angry” on Facebook.For years, Facebook users have been wanting an “Unlike” button and while they haven’t gone that far, Facebook has now added five small emoticons they call “Reactions” that allow your visitors to more accurately record their emotion to your post in their newsfeeds.This has caused more than a little noise from marketers and corporate communicators who are very concerned about what kinds of reactions their posts may receive.The jury is still out on how effective this new Facebook development will be but don’t hit the panic button. At least not yet!Remember “Angry” or “Sad” may be exactly the reaction you would like to provoke and this new level of detail will tell you a lot more about the kind of engagement you are getting with your posts, and engagement is what its all about.Prior to “Reactions”, all your viewer could do was “Like” the post and now they can express true empathy. Whether their own, or the collective numbers of various “Reactions” to a post, this development may encourage visitors to click on and delve deeper into your content. And that’s a good thing.A previous post of ours highlighted the value of analytics and this Facebook development is yet more proof of how important it is to know the effectiveness of your Social Media posts. What reaction are you getting?Continue reading →
Social Media – Its the quality of followers that matter.
Organizations with social media are preoccupied with the numbers of followers they have. Numbers matter, but its the quality of each follow that matters. Create content that appeals to the right kind of follower, not every follower. An excellent article that illustrates why quality followers matter.Continue reading →
Is your digital content working for you?
What you know about how well your digital content is performing is directly related to how well you analyze that performance. The same is true of everything you have online from your website and its pages to specialized content of any kind. If you don’t have key performance indicators (KPIs) there is nothing to drive the collection of relevant measurement of effectiveness or impact.
Many of our clients post content such as video or imagery online but don’t follow its effectiveness with even the most basic and easily available analytics on how or if it was viewed. While the main digital channels like Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter give you immediate numbers, they can be downright misleading. You owe it to your investment in these digital tactics to dig deeper. This same issue holds true on a much larger scale with your entire digital strategy; if you don’t analyze, you don’t know if it’s working.
These 7 KPIs are the ones we think are the most important to apply to your posted articles, videos, info graphics, and other tactical content in your digital marketing initiatives.
1 UNIQUE VISITS tell you how many people looked at your content over a given amount of time. It’s pretty much the standard measure but remember that what piece of your content they are looking at is important because some pieces of your work contributes more to your overall success than others.
2 MOBILE VIEWING is growing in importance by day, so how many unique visits are you getting on mobile, and on which mobile platform is key to optimizing your content as you move forward.
3 WHERE ARE THEY? If you you only do business in Canada, views from the US or Europe can tell you a lot. Are we reaching enough of the Canadian audience? Should we be doing business in another country?
4 BOUNCE RATE AND TIME SPENT on your content is critical. Depending on who measures it and how it’s computed, bounce rate tells you how long people stayed with your content. Normally, it indicates if someone stayed past the initial page they reached and time spent is critical to understanding the viewing of a video or other content. It can also show you if they engaged on that page and even which parts of it.
An example is views on videos posted to your Facebook page. Because the videos start automatically as soon as someone scrolls over the video in their newsfeed you will see them show up as a viewer. Digging deeper however, you can see how long they viewed and in many cases, a significant number of your views are only a few seconds long. While it does show you the reach (how many real opportunities there were for people to view your video) only the deeper analytics will show you how many of them actually watched the video.
Google Analytics does decent reporting on bounce rates but other tools measure differently and in some cases in more useful ways.
5 HOW ARE THEY ENGAGING with your content? Tools like Mouseflow and Crazy Egg show you incredible detail, even down to tracking viewers’ mouse movement on your pages. They generate heat maps that clearly illustrate how viewers are engaging with your content.
6 COMMENTS are the risk and the opportunity in real engagement. Fortunately, you don’t need specialized tools to look at one of the clearest indicators of how your viewers are feeling about what you put online. The best advice you can get is don’t block the conversations, take them as the opportunities to have meaningful interaction with the target audiences that they truly are. Nothing else will so quickly and clearly show you what’s working and what needs your serious attention.
7 WAS IT SHARED? Sharing is a great way to expand the reach of your content and best of all, because those shares are by people who appreciated your content, it usually goes to others in your core audience. Sharing widgets like these are a great way to make sharing simple and at any moment they show you how much sharing is taking place.
Regardless of the goal of your digital marketing efforts, measuring all aspects of your content marketing and social media marketing against these KPIs will help you focus and tune your content. That’s as true for an advocacy or a fundraising campaign as it is for someone selling cars. You must ensure your communications or marketing resources can tell you how well your digital is performing in these metrics.
Leverage Negative Social Media Comments
It always hurts when you see one of your clients get negative comments on their social media posts. The good news is there are opportunities in them if you respond quickly and properly.
Here’s a great article about how to analyze and respond to them.
In short, they give you valuable insight into potential problems and you get a chance to respond in a positive way.Continue reading →
One of the most shocking things I thought I learned in the last year was that under the control of Steve Jobs, Apple gave no money to any kind of charity or deserving cause. Like most successful companies we at AJP have always felt that being in business meant being a living breathing part the community that nurtures and feeds us. That a company so dedicated to bettering peoples lives through their technology would avoid corporate giving seemed almost impossible to believe.
It turned out that although there was no public record of Jobs himself donating money, Apple has helped a number of high profile causes including Bono’s Red campaign. Another myth from the internet down the drain and in this case, thank goodness.
Some of our most important clients are people we first encountered while doing work in areas we cared enough about to donate our time and services. The fact that work might eventually follow our corporate and personal philanthropy was the last thing on our minds when we started out. While we worked on projects that would have real value to real people we found ourselves and our employees more inspired and more motivated than ever. With activities based on our annual plans we built new social networks of new friends whom we would have never known and at times, it kept us busy when our normal business cycles were in their slow periods.
We were recently incredibly grateful when another local company decided of their own free will to donate money and time to our local community association. Senstar is a west Ottawa based manufacturer of specialized security alarm systems and they gave thousands of dollars in supplies and a full day of the time of almost every employee in the company when they arrived at our community centre and outdoor rink in early summer. They scrubbed and painted everything that didn’t move, replaced basketball nets, fixed damaged rink boards and even rebuilt our large portable barbecue.
Senstar has made a real difference to a facility that is used by hundreds and hundreds of local kids each year. They have reminded us that a simply helping hand can be incredibly valuable and that you shouldn’t wait to be asked for a helping hand. Look around, that nurturing community could use a little nurturing of its own.Continue reading →
Above the Crowd?
Did you know that Canadians will spend close to $20 Billion dollars in online sales this year? How many of them will spend it on what your organization has to sell?
Since most of those buyers found their supplier by searching on Google, you have to not only appear in their searches, you have to appear as close as possible to the top of the search. But how do you do that? How do you jump up the queue to the spot you want and need to occupy?
Repeated studies have shown that properly produced and placed videos are highly valued by the software that Google and other search engines use to establish the value of your website and its place in their search rankings. That’s because videos have a high click rate and many of your potential customers view them. Links to videos are often reposted and emailed through social media sites. Properly posted video can include a transcript of the words in the script and that too is highly valued by the search engine software.
Free and paid platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and others give you an entirely separate way for your customers to find and view your video and once again, that raises your Google ranking.
And best of all, videos touch people in a way printed words and still images can never do. Great video reaches your customer at a deep personal level at the same time that they are being informed about your products or services!
If there is a secret to all this, it’s a simple one. Producing great video takes experience and it takes care and a love of the craft. With decades of experience and some of the most creative professionals in the business, we would love to show you how we can help you and your organization accomplish its goals.
Give us a call and let us explain why our clients love our work and how we can add your organization to our list of successful customers.Continue reading →
Why online video is vital
Admit it! If you clicked on the play button on our image display on the home page, you expected, in fact you wanted, a video. That’s because it works!
If like most businesses yours is working to build awareness and interest in your organization’s products and/or services, you have to look at how vital the use of video has become.
Online video is almost everywhere and there is hard evidence for why that trend is growing each and every year. There is solid evidence that online video is gaining strength as a source for content marketing. A recent report on business-to-business marketing techniques undertaken by Software Advice shows how important online video has become to marketers. Their B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey for 2012 investigated the use of various content in online marketing and in part of the study they ranked them by the percentage of each that was used by respondents.
Its clear the majority of respondents favoured the use of video over the next highest rated techniques. If marketing your products and/or services are critical to your organization you have to make video a priority.
That people favour video shouldn’t come as a surprise. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. Behind that statistic is some real science about how viewers are connecting with the video they watch.
Dr. Susan Weinschenk, is a well known author, speaker and consultant in the field of the psychology of customers and what motivates them. She speaks of the four main reasons people are drawn to video:
- The fusiform face area of the brain is hard wired to pay attention to faces. We rely on faces for the believability and the value of information.
- There is rich information conveyed by the human voice speaking to us and our brains value the spoken content.
- Emotions are contagious. We often take that for granted, but it’s a powerful effect that is built on by the person’s body language. People are social animals and we are hooked on our interactions with others.
- Things that are moving capture our attention. Most of us are far removed from hunter-gatherers but for most of human evolution, the things that moved either fed us or attacked us. Movement matters to our brains.
The takeaway in all this is simple. Video works and you ignore the appropriate cost effective use of it at your organization’s peril. After all, if your customers are online in your business space, and they are not reading the content on your website, what ARE they doing?Continue reading →