TunedUp Media is a full service digital marketing and branding agency focused on providing creative digital marketing solutions, delivering results for our clients while supporting causes driving social change.
Four years ago, there were just 3 million active advertisers on Facebook.
As of 2017, more than 5 million brands were advertising on Facebook.
So far this year, another 1 million have entered the fray.
Yes, these numbers are pretty daunting.
But it clearly shows how important Facebook marketing has become for businesses today – not to mention all the other popular social networks that each boast millions (or billions) of users.
The job of the social media manager used to be mainly governed by interns or specialists, only requiring them to post organic content to gain any benefit from the various social media platforms.
Today, however, you face a new social media landscape.
Here are just a couple of major changes we saw this year:
Updates and changes within social media platforms are indeed abundant and quick.
Staying up to date on these changes requires a subject matter expert to keep a keen eye, to make sure that the brands they work for have continued success in social media platforms.
It’s great to have an existing employee who perhaps works on other tasks within the company, contributing to social media efforts.
However, you’re far better off hiring a social media manager to help manage, maintain, and execute social media campaigns and provide a better return on your spend and investment.
Here are the top five reasons why you need to have a social media manager.
1. The Social Landscape Is Always Changing
A social media manager can keep track of any algorithm changes and new trends within the platform, but also adapt your strategy and the content based on the latest updates.
A social media manager can take in what changes are either happening or soon to take place, and be agile, so can go back to the drawing board with their clients and change campaign objectives, and content to provide continued success with regards to their goals.
2. You Need a Social Media Strategy
An employee posting at random on your social media profiles, having no plan, will do a disservice to your brand.
If that’s your current state of being, I strongly advise that you go back to the drawing board to find out how you can either:
- Have an existing employee who is passionate about this space take over the social media efforts full time.
- Or reconsider if your brand is ready to be in this space.
Social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. In many ways, this approach can do greater harm than good.
Having a plan developed for social media requires the social media expert to come together with all other people executing other marketing campaigns (direct mail, email, paid search, TV, radio) on your brand’s behalf.
Doing so will prevent your efforts from being siloed and increase the synergy of all your marketing efforts – online and offline.
For example, if you’re planning on pushing out a direct mail piece, one that is more costly than perhaps paid search or email, your marketing team should think about how your direct mail piece can be partnered with emails and social media campaigns after its in-house date to magnify your message.
This will provide better leads, engagement, and results.
Your social media manager will be able to bake in their campaigns to all other campaigns you’re working on.
The social media manager will also be able to gauge what your primary goals are for the year and translate them into social media content and campaigns.
Speaking of content, a social media manager will not only put together the strategy, being mindful of other marketing efforts but will also develop a social media calendar which they should share with you monthly on what campaigns paid and organic they plan on executing on your behalf.
3. Protect Your Reputation & Help Your Customers
Social media manager(s) are constantly on high alert to each message, review, and comment happening within social media regarding a brand.
Not only do they have the right process in place with regards to triaging, but also they’re aware of how to conduct themselves within the platform, representing the brand.
Hiring an individual who has a great deal of experience in this area is huge, as within seconds a social media manager can help mitigate and solve an issue which would have otherwise turned into a disaster if a less-seasoned individual would have put in the role.
It’s vital that the social media manager develops not only the right voice and language of the brand within social media, but also work with other individuals within the business, like customer support and PR, so contingency plans are put in place, well before a social media crisis takes place.
The action of responding to a comment, whether it’s good or bad, should also be done within a certain timeframe. The sooner, the better.
Your brand can either help solve a problem for an existing or future customer or client, or make someone respect how your brand conducts itself on social media.
4. Perspective – Inside & Out
If you’re a brand that is debating on hiring in-house versus outsourcing to an agency, there are benefits to both.
Advantages of Hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency
- It might be more financially feasible.
- The social media manager may have fresh new ideas that you may have not have considered.
- The social media manager may not be jaded by the culture that comes with your brand and can bring in new innovative ideas that your executives may appreciate.
- They also most likely have an edge in working with similar brands within your specific agency, which also can help with best practices, what works in your particular industry and what doesn’t.
Advantages of Hiring an In-House Social Media Expert
Once trained, the in-house staff will:
- Know the intricacies of the company culture and what red tape is involved.
- Understand the brand boundaries when brainstorming campaign ideas.
5. Reporting & Tracking
Having a manager who is in charge of all your social media efforts can help you improve existing campaign.
But a social media manager can also keep your brand agile – switching objectives, creatives, or content if your current efforts aren’t doing as well as they could be.
A social media manager will check their campaigns regularly – turning underperforming ads off and optimizing other campaigns to make sure you’re money is being well spent and your goals are being met.
A social media manager will look at campaigns over time and will know if a tactic is becoming fatigued or if the strategy should be adjusted.
This provides tremendous value at the end of the month reporting as they will provide documentation telling a story of:
- What was executed that month?
- How well it did compare to previous months.
- What should be done next?
Sometime campaigns will have a continuing success and can lead to other great ideas, which wouldn’t necessarily be the case if you didn’t have someone dedicated to these efforts around the clock.
Hopefully, you now can see that you’d be far better off hiring a social media manager than not.
Someone who can contribute 100 percent to your brand’s strategy and goals will yield a much better result than having an intern or low-level employee posting content at random on behalf of your brand.
EveryoneSocial is the leading employee advocacy and social selling platform that provides its customers with an average of 1,750 connections per employee, 200% increase in sales pipelines, 48% bigger deal sizes, 4x increase in brand awareness, and at one-tenth the cost of paid social media programs.
Why Employee Advocacy?
Every company has a powerful, untapped resource with the potential to amplify digital marketing, drive sales & energize HR; the voice and networks of your employees. Simply put, employees have 5x more reach than your corporate accounts and their followers are 7x more likely to convert.
EveryoneSocial boasts the highest user engagement rates in the industry. Employees stay engaged and excited about content through a platform and program that contains personalized content feeds, gamification, leaderboards, and mobile applications. EveryoneSocial features include:
- Manage Your Employees – Assign employees to groups, define milestones, set permissions, and get reporting on their activity
- Push Your Own, Original Content — Push your employees your own content including blog posts, promotions, press releases, videos, and status updates
- Trending Content At Your Fingertips — Easily source trending news articles, blog posts, and videos to share with your employees
- Keep Your Brand Front and Center — Any content your employees share (incl. curated content) carries your organization’s branding and a call to action
- Leader Boards Keep Them Engaged — Automatically generate and send a leaderboard email to your advocates that ranks them based on activity
- Mobile, Web, email interfaces – Branded and 3rd party content
- Social Listening – monitor people, companies, social posts, press announcements, etc. to stay on top of your competitors, customers, partners, and any other relevant parties.
- Social Selling – Provide your salespeople with the content and tools they need to connect with buyers across social media and other digital channels. EveryoneSocial is a complete social selling solution used by leading sales teams at Dell, Adobe, ADP, and Genesys.
- Analytics On Everything — Clearly understand who is sharing what content, to which networks, and what engagement it’s driving for your organization
EveryoneSocial is fully integrated with Bit.ly, Hubspot, Adobe Analytics, Marketo, Slack, Yammer, Eloqua, Sharepoint, Google Analytics, and Salesforce.
You can’t retain what you don’t understand. When focused on constant customer acquisition, it gets easy to get carried away. Okay, so you’ve figured out an acquisition strategy, you’ve made your product/service fit into the customers’ lives. Your unique value proposition (UVP) works – it entices conversion and guides purchase decisions. Do you know what happens after? Where does the user fit after the completion of the sales cycle?
Start by Understanding your Audience
Although it’s fun to continually find new channels and audiences to sell to, it’s far less expensive to retain one. However, retention doesn’t rely on the same drivers as acquisition – the objectives behind them are different, and although the user behavior and sentiment that arise from these two are complementary they are to be addressed separately. Customer loyalty builds from retention. Customer acquisition is merely a doorway to it.
The key takeaway here is to understand that your customers don’t disappear after the sales cycle but continue to engage with your product/service and tie their experience with it to your brand.
So what do you know about your customers exactly?
To complete the picture of your audience behavior before and during the sales cycle and integrate the findings into your retention strategy, you’ll need to layer in a lot of data. What are the Key Data Metrics to take into consideration? You can start by assessing your:
Search Marketing Metrics
How do users find you? What branded/non-branded search queries ultimately lead to the conversion or a point of purchase? What were the top performing landing pages and where was the funnel the leakiest? Can you tie the specific piece of content to the specific user demography that brought you the largest volume of sales?
If you have Google Analytics tracking enabled and integrated with Google Search Console, you will be able to track down these queries for up to 16 months in the past and identify top performing ones. You can further deepen the analysis by tieing these keywords to specific landing pages and identify them as optimal starting points of the user’s journey towards acquisition. This can be broken down even further by correlating this data to your user’s demography, device type, behavior, and interests to identify the audience types that are more likely to convert.
How are your sales performing? What is the average order value you are noting? What is the average value of your repeat purchase rate? What are your top performing products/services and is there a correlation to the user’s demography and seasonal trends?
If you have Enhanced E-commerce tracking setup via Google Analytics or otherwise third-party software dashboard for it, you will be able to track all of these and gather valuable insight. The most important thing to keep in mind is that sales metrics highly vary with the volume of the segment analyzed. Seasonal or trending sales can appear as anomalies when looked through short time spans so keep your eyes open and benchmark the data within the same timeframe of a period that precedes it or within the same period the year before.
Acquisition and Referral Channels
Do you know where your customers come from? What are your main acquisition channels? Are they the same channels they discover you on or are they simply the channels that drive most sales? What are the channels that drive the most revenue?
If we assume that your website is your primary conversion point and that you have Google Analytics setup, you can easily answer the aforementioned questions. Visit Acquisition>Overview report to see which channels drive the most traffic and have the least bounce. You can deepen the analysis by changing the audience segment from All users to Converters. If you have more than one goal or goal group setup, you can further breakdown channel performance comparison to a specific goal.
With all of the above data broken down and layered into a structure, you are now able to visualize the type of audience that is most likely to convert, their paths towards and after the conversion point and how they behave before, during and after they make a purchase.
Establishing a customer persona as a fictionalized representation of your ideal customer will help you market your product better and understand what drove them to chose you as their seller/provider. This is best explained when visualized so let’s lay out an example. Say you’re selling cookbooks and your goal is to increase the number of sales and promote new series for the upcoming Thanksgiving to a new and an existing customer base. Which one of these is easier for you to market?
“We wish to promote [this] cookbook series for this Thanksgiving on Instagram and Pinterest. Our target is women, ages 24-55 that love to cook and have already bought or considered buying a cookbook this year”
“Our goal is to promote [this] cookbook series to Martha. She’s a stay at home mom in her mid-40s that loves to cook. She loves #foodporn pages and shares her dishes on Instagram. She’s conservative and enjoys traditional values so major holidays are a big thing for her as they are the only time of the year when she can cook for the whole family and their friends. Martha has already bought a cookbook from us and checks our Instagram feed and website for community generated recipes at least once a month. She’s really into slow cooking and organic meals.”
See the difference? This kind of a customer persona representation is what you can get from the above-given metrics layered into a structure.
This type of customer analytics is hard to set up and goes layers in complexity. If it’s too much of a challenge for you, you should definitely seek help from a digital agency that has experience in advanced audience analytics, segmentation, and campaign optimization.
Most Common Retention Marketing Tactics and Their Respective KPIs
Now that you know your customer personas and understand their behavior, the ways in which you can work on their retention become much clearer. Retention marketing tactics may vary depending on your niche, market, customers, and objectives, but the underlying framework of defining them remains the same.
Some retention marketing tactics are evergreen and have been validated numerous times. Of course, given the assumption they are driven by the data established in the previous step.
To name a few.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While mainly considered as an acquisition tactic, SEO offers the number of opportunities to improve customer retention and build loyalty.
This is mainly done via content optimization – both onsite and offsite. By identifying the keywords, content and referral sources your customers engage and interact with, you are getting a step closer to personalizing the content to capture and hold their attention. Leverage search marketing metrics into your SEO retention marketing strategy and create a content roadmap.
Don’t merely focus on short tail keywords but try elevating relevance to the related topics. You can achieve this by exploring LSI keywords and keyword syntagms that target the users’ interest and intent. Let’s get back to Martha and cookbook promotion. Topics that ultimately may lead Martha into buying another cookbook from you are slow cooking recipes, the pantry, and pots used to make them, the choice of ingredients filtered by the season or the way they are grown and packaged. Martha may be lead into buying a cookbook if she identifies herself as a backbone of the family and sees the dinner table as a point of gathering, community and family values. Don’t simply force the user to self-identify as a part of a large segment, but try to personalize their experience.
Some technical aspects of SEO, specifically in terms of onsite optimization like a solid website and information architecture with a valid HTML5 and structured microdata markup will help crawlers better understand the structure and the semantics behind it. This helps both discoverability and personalization of search results pages according to the target user preferences. For example, structural and semantic website markup will help show different results to different people like this:
- When Martha searches for a cookbook via a search engine, she will most probably get slow cooking recipe cookbooks as returned results.
- When I search for a cookbook via a search engine, I will most probably get an Anarchist Cookbook as a returned result.
Other technical aspects that relate to the website’s usability and performance such as page load time, responsiveness and availability are important SEO factors that underlie user retention and help build loyalty. If your website is inaccessible or hard to load, users will most likely bounce or rarely engage with it.
Recommended KPIs to track:
- Number of inbound links
- Number of outbound links
- The volume of organic traffic
- The volume of referral traffic
- Search engine result page (SERP) position for the specific set of keywords
- Page views per session
- Dwell time (average time on page)
- Bounce rate
Social media are a great channel for building awareness, trust, and loyalty. It resonates greatly in correlation with SEO/SEM retention tactics. Backed up with influencer marketing it’s your doorway to building brand advocates to further deepen the retention and high-quality referrals.
When synched with your established editorial/publishing calendar for SEO retention marketing purposes and combined with branded hashtags and link tracking it becomes a powerful channel for building customer loyalty.
You can leverage branded hashtags and link tracking to identify and explore new opportunities for engagement and tap the source of potential brand advocates. Probably the greatest benefit of social media is the opportunity to engage with your potential and existing customer base in real time. Utilizing chatbots and educating your sales staff to use social media as a part of your customer service is the single most overlooked tactic that does wonders for building retention and customer loyalty.
Recommended KPIs to track:
- Number of followers and fans
- Engagement rate – both campaign and page specific
- Percentage of referral traffic generated through social media channels
- The volume of content pushed through as part of marketing distribution
- Number of completed customer service requests via social media chat, comments and messaging
The email will never die and it is an underlying medium of all web works and usage.
Email marketing is most commonly used as a primary driver of user retention and to warm up cold leads. Two most common tactics employed via email marketing to improve customer retention are to mail newsletters with the latest news and content updates and to entice repeated purchases by offering discounts and deals to existing customer base.
Content curation for any of these tactics can be synced with your editorial calendar to provide the best results in terms of open rate and CTR. You can further break down your efforts into segmenting email lists according to the user’s preferences, seasonal trends, and demography.
But email marketing should be approached with greater caution than any of the aforementioned. Overpromotion and poor handling can get your whole domain blacklisted and severely damage the trust built so far. The most important thing to note here is that your user is aware of how he got on your mailing list, how will you handle it and that he is given an opportunity to adjust his/her preferences or unsubscribe at any given moment.
When deciding on whether you are going to use your own mailing server or a third party service for it, please consider if you are able to adhere all of the rules listed above and have the ability to measure and track its performance.
Recommended KPIs to track:
- Number of emails sent out – campaign specific and overall
- Click through rate (CTR) of an email
- Open rate of email campaign sent
- Repeat purchase rate through the email channel
Monitor, Measure and Optimize for Growth
As aforementioned, in order to truly improve your customer loyalty with digital marketing, you need to understand your customers. There are numerous frameworks for customer analysis to explore and correlate with your retention marketing efforts. Devising a customer retention marketing strategy may vary from businesses to brands but the processes objectives underlying them correlate.
Deep measuring and enhanced analytics of each part of your customer journey is a great start but will give you a ton of unstructured data. The way you leverage this data to ask and give an answer to specific questions about their behavior beyond the completion of the sales cycle will determine your success in building long-term relationships with your customer base.
And from retention rises loyalty and trust.
With every other Instagram star being a social media guru these days, it’s common for businesses to ask themselves whether they should look into outsourcing their social media efforts.
The day-to-day tasks of running a business are generally enough for the average CEO, causing social media marketing to fall short on the priority calendar.
Social media marketing is its own beast and requires a special attention and level of creativity. Frankly, it isn’t for everyone.
If you’re going back and forth on whether to outsource your social media marketing, ask yourself the following questions first.
1. How Much Time Do I Have to Devote to Managing Social Media?
Time is the biggest reason businesses look to outsourcing their social media.
Social media isn’t just about scheduling posts.
You actually have to invest time in:
- Tracking your brand mentions on social media.
- Monitoring the conversations that are happening.
- Trying new growth hack methods.
- Responding immediately to any inquiries.
All of this needs to happen 24/7, too.
To say social media management can be done by setting aside 1-2 hours a week is really quite hilarious.
The time you invest in managing your brand’s social pages and image can’t be categorized into a lump one or few hour time period. It is something that requires constant attention and generally in small intervals.
This is especially true for brands that have large followings and receive question after question through their social pages.
For those smaller to medium-sized businesses who argue, “Well, I don’t have tons of followers, so I just post and I’m good,” I hate to break it to you, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If anything, the brands that have smaller followings have even more work cut out for them as they try to grow their followers organically and through paid methods. Talk about overtime.
There are tons of excellent growth hacking methods to get your follower count as high as Nike, but to execute those methods it takes lots and lots of time and energy.
Social media isn’t a one and done type of strategy. You need to continually be optimizing your followers and be social online.
2. Do I Know How to Be Social Online?
Social media isn’t an excuse to hide behind a computer and not actually talk to anyone. You still need to talk to your followers.
There’s truly an art to being a social butterfly online, and not everyone has the knack. Let’s be honest with ourselves.
If you just really don’t have the energy, creativity, or will to be a virtual social butterfly, don’t be.
If you have the time, there are tons of resources to teach you how to connect with people virtually and become this type of butterfly for your brand.
Maybe you do have the time and want to learn how to connect with your demographic socially, go for it!
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you though is to know your audience.
If your audience is just as introverted as you are they’ll most likely continue that introverting in how they communicate online.
Instead of being on flashy social media pages like Instagram or Snapchat they may be hiding in forums or casually browsing Pinterest.
Wherever they may be mimic your customer, go where they are, talk like they talk, create content they’re comfortable with. Don’t be an extrovert in an introverts world.
If the idea of this is making you cringe, it would be best for you to outsource your social media to an agency who has done work for another business within your industry.
This is someone who knows how to talk to be a virtual social butterfly to your audience.
3. Have I Established My Brand Voice? If So, How Unique Is It?
Brand voice is everything on social media.
Again, know your audience but also know your brand before you even try to connect with your audience.
- Are your posts funny and sarcastic?
- Do they only have calls to action and demands?
- Are you capitalizing on every big news story?
- Or are you more of a DIY mom who has a 10-year old blog?
All of those voices are entirely different. Though most agencies will, not all agencies are great at mimicking your brand voice.
The first step here is to get your brand voice down. Once you have it, never lose it!
Then, document everything you possibly can about this voice.
- What words should this voice use?
- Which ones should it avoid at all costs and never ever ever ever use?
- Who are other companies who have a similar brand voice?
The more you document, the more you’ll see if this is something you can trust in another brands hands to help manage for you or if you should hold onto this baby yourself.
After all, you’re the one who created it.
- If you have a well-documented brand voice, a good social media agency will be able to send you example copies for your approval until you feel at ease that they get it.
- If you’re still trying to find your brand voice and are at the beginning stages of this strategy, now isn’t exactly the best time to outsource your social media management.
- If you’re going to outsource anything, hire a social media consultant to help define your brand voice for social media and then take it from there.
4. Do I Have Content or Do I Need Content?
One way to do social media is to be completely hands off and let a social media agency do all of the work for you, which can even include creating the content to share.
If you have your own content to share, I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker and you should just suck it up and manage social media yourself.
What I’m saying is that if you’re struggling to figure out which type of content to produce, or if you should reshare that ebook from three years ago, it’s worth outsourcing your content production to a professional.
This professional is going to need a good debrief about your business, how and why it operates, who it’s ideal and actual customers are, and what kind of content materials you already have.
From there, outsourcing content may be the best move for your business.
You can still manage the social media in-house, but without the worries of trying to figure out what kind of content your followers actually want to see.
5. Can I Afford to Outsource?
Social media agencies, independent contractors, and content creators all come at entirely different price ranges.
Sometimes, their price ranges are less expensive than your in-house social media manager. Other times not so much.
Outsourcing social media could cost anywhere from $500 to tens of thousands of dollars a month, all depending upon the following factors:
- What kind of outsourcing: Freelance (least expensive), agency (middle), or enterprise (highest)
- What the monthly deliverables are: More posts and content creation = higher price
- How long the contract length is: Longer contracts = price cuts
- Social media tool subscriptions: Sometimes agencies require you to have your own account
- Social media advertising: Because organic is no longer good enough
Let’s not forget about the time it takes for you to email back and forth, edit, approve and review reports.
Here’s a look at everything that comes with in-house costs of social media management:
- Employees (salary, benefits, etc.).
- Social media tool subscriptions.
- Content creation.
- Social media advertising.
- Strategy development and measurement (time and tools).
If you go the freelancer route, you’re certainly saving money on those benefit coverages, but it may not always be the right path. You’re still looking at investing:
- Your management time.
- Your communication time.
- Content creation.
- Social media advertising.
6. What Should I Do?
So, which one is right for you?
It depends on tons of different goals and factors, most which we hashed out above.
To put it simply, if you’re already head over heels with to-do lists and the idea of carving out extra time to do another task is making your other eye twitch, do yourself a favor and outsource. It will be the least time-invested resource.
Though, don’t forget, it will still require a bit of your time and movement in your budget.
- Freelance = Lots of communication, editing, approvals, and then double-checking ROI.
- Agency = A bit of time initially and then mostly hands-off.
- Enterprise = Read our monthly reports and go “Oh” and “Ah.”
If you have the time, budget, and experience to create an in-house team or become one, then do so.
Managing your brand’s social media presence in-house has far more pros than cons.
The Consumer Identity Crisis
In Hindu mythology, Ravana, the great scholar, and demon king has ten heads, symbolizing his various powers and knowledge. The heads were indestructible with the ability to morph and regrow. In their battle, Rama, the warrior god, thus must go below Ravana’s heads and aim the arrow at his solitary heart to slay him for good.
In modern times, the consumer is a bit like Ravana, not in terms of his evil designs but his multiple identities. Research states that an average consumer in the US today is connected to 3.64 devices. With the proliferation of a host of new age devices like smart speakers, wearables, connected homes, and automobiles etc., it is projected that she could be connected to as many as 20 devices in not so distant future. Like it did for Rama, this poses a clear challenge for today’s marketer – how to navigate through the maze of these devices to identify and recognize THE consumer so she can be singular, consistently and contextually engaged across her addressable touchpoints.
Industry research suggests that only a small fraction of consumer businesses can currently accurately identify their audience – hence the advent and rapid rise of Identity management solutions that help businesses resolve the identity of their audience into individual consumer identities and profiles. The size of the Identity solutions market is estimated to grow from $900 Mn currently to over $2.6 Bn by 2022, outpacing overall marketing investments growth A recent Winterberry research survey indicates that about 50% of consumer businesses have intensified focus and plan to increase investments on Identity solutions. While segmentation and targeting on paid media remain the predominant use cases for consumer brands, cross-device and channel personalization plus measurement and attribution are expected to become areas of focus in near future.
Identity Solutions: The past, present, and future
At its core, an identity resolution solution’s job is to continuously gather audience activity data from a disparate set of data sources, platforms and services to derive a cohesive, omnichannel identity and profile of each individual audience member. However, the approach has been largely siloed so far with marketing channel specific identity platforms and strategies. CRM databases as custodians of first-party customer and contact information have been the mainstream identity platforms for direct marketing activations, primarily over email or direct mail.
With the growth of digital marketing spends, Data Management Platforms (DMPs) that store digital audience behavior data to primarily support display ad buying use cases have come into prominence. However, their relevance is now questionable with walled gardens like Facebook and Google closing doors on them. The other growing channel of influence has been mobile data platforms to support mobile device & location-based engagement.
To overcome the limitations of a disconnected, multi-channel approach that current Identity solutions like CRM databases or DMPs are constrained with, the focus is shifting to emerging modern solutions like Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), Identity Graphs, and Googles new version of Shopping Insights. These offer a unified, cross-touchpoint and omni-channel approach towards identity resolution and linking, enabling a fully harmonized, single view of the customer to the marketer.
The Mechanics of Identity Resolution
Identity resolution system’s key job is to continuously collect audience related data from a variety of sources and put it through an ongoing process that resolves, generates and updates this data into discrete consumer profiles, which are then used by the business for various forms of marketing or other activations.
The process comprises of 3 key steps:
- Data Management – Includes ingestion of disparate set of consumer data, both identity, and activity related, followed by processing and storage of this data into organized repositories.
- Identity Resolution – This is a crucial and complex mix of a deterministic and probabilistic process of deriving identifiers, matching, cross-referencing and linking to unique consumer identities followed by a validation mechanism to maximize the accuracy of the resolution process.
- Consumer profile generation – Associates all identifiers, attributes and activities into a harmonized, holistic Identity Graph of the consumer, an individual or a household.
What makes an Effective Identity Management Solution: 5 Mantras
- Ensure the Identity system is fed with data from a wide array of data sources. Not just device activity but also the applications behind to help drill past the device, cookie or pixel and reveal the real people behind them and their behavior.
- As part of data management, ensure meeting consumer privacy rights and compliance requirements of industry norms like GDPR, CCPA etc.
- Identity resolution should include a consistent, rule-based deterministic match process to ensure high accuracy critical to support contextual, personalized engagement in direct marketing use cases
- The deterministic process must be supplemented with machine learning driven probabilistic matching to expand the data set, and meet the requirement of use cases like social media or display ad marketing that expects a wider net but relatively less 1:1 personalization
- The generated consumer profile, in form of an Identity graph, while having the requisite accuracy and timeliness, should go beyond the linkages to identifiers and attributes by including the desired insights to optimally enable marketing activation use cases
There was a time when if you’d build it, they would come. But that was all before the internet becoming overly saturated with content and lots of noise. If you’ve been feeling frustrated that your content just doesn’t go as far as it used to, it’s not your fault. Things just changed.
Today, if you care enough about your audience and your business, you absolutely must develop a strategy to push your content forward to the people who need it the most – through a content amplification strategy.
Why so much talk about content?
Everybody and their dog knows how important textual and visual content is in marketing. It’s
the core vehicle that transports your message to your audience, it’s the words, images and videos that create emotion and move people into action. And with Action comes Transformation, the highest bliss of any business.
Everything you put out there, regardless of the channel [blog posts, Instagram stories, newsletters, videos, etc.] in front of your audience helps you keep them interested and engaged with your brand. It also helps you bring in more attention to your business and consistently expand your audience as a blogger.
So, creating content is great, publishing it on different platforms is also great, but you also need to amplify it if you want it to reach the maximum amount of people.
Here are a few powerful tactics to build your content amplification strategy:
- Paid Ads – Think of ads as these invisible wings that carry your content to greater lengths. Most platforms, these days, have become pay to play systems, especially Facebook. Nothing wrong here, they’re a business, so as you. If you can put in $1 and get back $2, wouldn’t you want to play? Paying for ads is not just for the sole purpose pushing your content out there in front of your existing audience. It’s also great for tapping into new audiences and expanding your reach, beyond your own influence.
- Mention other brands and influencers – The goal here is to build relationships and good will with peers in your niche by sharing some of their content or tagging them whenever it is possible. This will put you on their radars and will make them more likely to reciprocate when the right time comes.
- Ask influencers to chime in – One of the easiest ways to tap into an influencer’s audience is to ask them for their input on certain topics. Instead of trying to get your guest post published on their platform or to convince them to even share piece of your content with their audience, you can email them asking for their opinion on a topic in your niche. This will take little time on their end and will most likely result in a re-share of your entire piece of content with their audience. And will help you build a relationship and good will the right way. Also, simply try to use your own critical thinking approach to get a realistic, not clouded by emotions overview of your product.
- Use the skyscraper technique! – In short, this is a way of building on top of existing valuable content. Essentially, you do a massive research on a specific topic, gather as much data as you can and then you add your own twist on the topic and share your unique perspective to the entire conversation. When you’re done, send the content out to all the other content creators mentioned in your work and ask for their feedback and a share with their own audiences.
- Repurpose your content – Have loads of valuable blog posts sitting on your site? Give them a fresh start by putting together an evergreen guide using your best content. Then use it as a lead generation magnet for extra attention and brand awareness. This will allow you to reuse existing content that took you time and resources to create and tap into new audiences.
Ultimately, you need to be strategic with both creating and leveraging your content. This means you must think strategically and push your best content in front of those who are most likely to need it. The key here is Relevance.
Nothing is sadder than creating a massively valuable piece of content and then splashing it against the wrong audience. Let this approach lead your entire content creation and amplification strategy.
Make sure you deeply understand your audience’s problems and you’re also clear on your solution. Then, pay attention to where the attention of your target audience goes. Then plug into those platforms using relevant content that’s also aligned with your business goals and mission.
How are you currently creating and promoting your content? And which of these amplification techniques would you like to try first? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
We all want to know what the best time to post a social media update is, but the answer isn’t always straightforward.
With differing algorithms for different social media sites, various time zones to contend with, and different audiences, is there really a universal “best time” to post?
I’ll dig into data that helps demystify this issue, so you can figure out how to approach posting social media updates.
Algorithms Versus Time of Day
Most — but not all — social media platforms have evolved from being chronological timelines to using algorithms to predict relevancy to the user.
That means that the social platforms try to surface the updates they believe is the most relevant based on different signals, whether it’s engagement, timeliness, and other factors.
While posting at a specific time might be relevant to the people who are logged in at that moment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your users won’t see your content at some point when they log in, even if you posted earlier in the day.
There are some caveats.
Let’s go over those next by taking a closer look at the social media algorithms of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The social network announced a new ranking algorithm in 2018:
Today we use signals like how many people react to, comment on or share posts to determine how high they appear in News Feed. With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.
With this new algorithm, brands will have to work even harder to be seen:
- More posts from friends and family will surface with less public content from brands.
- Pages might see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.
- Pages with posts that prompt conversations between friends will see less of a negative impact.
- People who want to see more posts from their favorite brands can update their news feed preferences by choosing what they want to see.
- Live video may be a good way to keep the community engaged (according to Facebook, they garner 6x the engagement as regular video). In this case, timing the live video with when your audience is online can be key.
In 2018, Instagram refreshed its algorithm to help surface newer posts in the Instagram Feed:
Based on your feedback, we’re also making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed. With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about. So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.
Instagram’s algorithm is not purely chronological though.
It still works to surface the most relevant content for users based on engagement, but timing is now an influential ranking signal.
According to Instagram, the Instagram Feed ranks posts based on:
- Likelihood you’ll be interested in the content.
- Date the post was shared.
- Previous interactions with the person posting.
Other things to consider with the Instagram algorithm include the idea that it may reward posts based on your profile’s interaction with followers, including how quickly you interact, and using the right hashtags.
The LinkedIn Feed ranks updates based on thousands of signals across three main categories:
- Identity: Who are you? Where do you work? What are your skills? Who are you connected with?
- Content: How many times was the update viewed? How many times was it “liked”? What is the update about? How old is it? What language is it written in? What companies, people, or topics are mentioned in the update?
- Behavior: What have you liked and shared in the past? Who do you interact with most frequently? Where do you spend the most time in your news feed?
Users can manually switch to most recent updates in the feed within the platform.
The Twitter timeline is called “timeline” for a reason: its tweets are ranked in reverse chronological order, with the most recent tweets showing at the top.
In 2016, Twitter made a slight change to its functionality where users could choose to turn on a feature that allows Twitter to serve the most relevant tweets for users, in reverse chronological order:
Here’s how it works. You flip on the feature in your settings; then when you open Twitter after being away for a while, the Tweets you’re most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order. The rest of the Tweets will be displayed right underneath, also in reverse chronological order, as always. At any point, just pull-to-refresh to see all new Tweets at the top in the live, up-to-the-second experience you already know and love.
However, back in 2016, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed in a tweet that a “live” and “real time” feed would always be a staple of Twitter.
I *love* real-time. We love the live stream. It’s us. And we’re going to continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live!
— jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
So as far as Twitter goes, timing definitely matters.
What About Time Zones?
Time zones make data on the best time to post to social media particularly tricky, especially when you have audiences in different time zones and particularly when you’re following universal best-time-to-post recommendations.
CoSchedule states that “in theory” the Eastern or Central time zone “would be the best time to base off for a United States audience to reach the most people through your social media shares.”
However, the best course of action is to use analytics tools to discover where your audience resides on the various social media platforms.
Using social media analytics tools, like those native to the social medium (for example, Facebook Page Insights) and other free and premium tools can help you with the best time to post.
If your audience lives in multiple time zones, you can scatter your updates throughout the day to try to reach them right when they are online, and hope that the social medium’s algorithm finds your content to be relevant to them when they log in at a later time.
Some sites offer specific solutions for this issue, like Facebook’s Restricted Audience posting feature, which allows you to post updates to a specific audience, by age and location.
Using this feature, or similar ones through social media sites and tools, you can schedule perfectly timed posts in advance for your entire audience.
Universal Best Times to Post
Every year, studies come out on the universal best time to post to social media. Each one of them looks at their own data set, and they all typically differ.
In 2018, CoSchedule referenced 23 studies and their own data to offer some universal best times to post to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Here are some of the highlights.
According to CoSchedule, the best time to post on Facebook is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. late into the week and on weekends, including:
- Saturday and Sunday at 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
- Thursday and Friday at 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Wednesday at 3 p.m.
To increase shares and clickthroughs, the best times to post, according to the article:
- 1 p.m.
- 3 p.m.
- 9 a.m.
CoSchedule gives the following recommendations for posting on Instagram:
- Monday and Thursday at any time other than 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Videos any day at 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.
- Experiment with 2 a.m., 5 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m.
And the general best times to post, according to the article, are:
- 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
- 2 a.m.
- 5 p.m.
According to CoSchedule, these are the days and times you want to consider when posting to LinkedIn:
- Tuesday at 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.; 12 p.m.; and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
When to post on LinkedIn to get the most clickthroughs, according to the article, is:
- 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- 7 p.m to 8 p.m.
- 12 p.m
CoSchedule says to keep the following in mind when thinking about the best time to tweet:
- Wednesday at noon and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Monday through Friday at 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
- Experiment with 2 a.m. to 3 a.m.; 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.; and 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
When to tweet in general to increase retweets and clickthroughs, says CoSchedule:
- 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Noon specifically
- 3 p.m.
Best Time to Post to Social Media by Industry
It goes without saying that different industries have different types of audiences with different lifestyles and social media habits.
This can impact when the best time to post is based on goals the brand has, like generating leads or selling products.
Sprout Social released findings of a 2018 study that showed the generic best times to post for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter for the following industries:
- Consumer goods.
The research is worth checking out if you’re a brand in any one of those sectors.
When thinking about the best time to post, there are a lot of considerations, including:
- The target demographic.
- The industry you’re in.
- What you’re using social media for.
- How you engage your audience and how they engage with your posts.
- Finally, when to post.
Taking all of these into consideration for your social media strategy is more important than focusing on just one aspect (e.g., the timing) of managing your social media posting.
More Social Media Marketing Resources:
In-post Image #1: Screenshot taken by author, October 2018
In-post Images #2-5: CoSchedule
For over a decade, the focus of my consulting in our industry has been helping businesses punch through and transform their companies digitally. While this is often thought of as some kind of top-down push from investors, the board, or the Chief Executive Officer, you might be surprised to find that the company leadership lacks the experience and skill to push digital transformation. I’m often hired by leadership to assist a company digitally transform – and it just happens to start with sales and marketing opportunities because that’s where incredible results can be realized quickly.
As declines in traditional channels continue and a plethora of affordable digital media strategies have risen, companies often struggle to make the shift. Legacy mindsets and legacy systems prevail, with analytics and direction lacking. By utilizing an agile process, I’m able to present leaders with their digital marketing maturity within their industry, among their competitors, and with respect to their customers. That evidence provides clarity that we need to transform the business. Once we have buy-in, we head out on a journey to transform their business.
I’m consistently surprised that the employees are ready to learn and charge… but it’s often management and leadership that keep hitting the breaks. Even when they realize that the alternative to digital transformation and agility is extinction, they push back for fear of change.
Poor top-down communication and a lack of transformation leadership are significant problems that inhibit progress toward transformation.
According to the latest study from Nintex, digital transformation isn’t as much a technology issue as it is a talent issue. It’s why consultants like myself are in high demand right now. While companies have incredible talent internal, that talent isn’t often exposed to new methods, platforms, media and methodology. Static processes often settle in with layers of management ensuring its stability… which may very well be hindering what’s actually needed.
- Only 47% of line of business employees are even aware of what digital transformation is – let alone whether their company
has a plan to address/achieve digital transformation.
- 67% of managers know what digital transformation is compared to only 27% of non-managers.
- Despite 89% of decision-makers saying they have a designated transformation lead, there’s no one person who emerges as the clear leader across companies.
- The significant exception to the awareness gap is IT line of business workers, 89% of whom know what digital transformation is.
In our discussions with IT leaders on our Dell Luminaries podcast, we see the difference strong leadership is making to organizations. These organizations never settle for stability. The operating culture of these organizations – many of them international companies with tens of thousands of employees – is that continuous change is the norm.
The study Nintex study supports this. Specific to sales organization, the study reveals:
- 60% of sales pros have no idea what digital transformation even is.
- 40% of sales professionals believe more than one-fifth of their job can be automated.
- 74% believe some aspect of their job can be automated.
The organizations they work for lack the leadership on how to effect transformation by implementing artificial intelligence and automation to bridge the gap. Sadly, the study also reveals that 17% of sales pros aren’t even involved in digital transformation discussions with 12 percent having limited involvement.
Digital Transformation is No Longer Risky
Today’s digital transformation isn’t even risky compared to a decade ago. With consumer’s digital behavior becoming more predictable and the number of affordable platforms expanding, companies don’t have to make the enormous capital investments they used to have to make just a few years go.
Case in point is a company I’m assisting with digital signage. A vendor came in with an enormous quote that would have taken months to recoup, if they even could. It required a proprietary system that was owned and maintained by the vendor, requiring both a subscription to their platform and purchase of their proprietary hardware. The company contacted me and asked me for assistance so I reached out to my network.
Recommended by a partner, I found a solution that utilized AppleTVs and HDTVs off the shelf and then ran an application that cost just $14/mo per screen – Kitcast. By not having to make enormous capital investments and utilizing off-the-shelf solutions, the company is going to recoup the costs almost as soon as the system is live. And that’s including my consultation fees!
In reviewing the case of Sears’ recent bankruptcy, I think this is absolutely what happened. Everyone internal understood that the company needed transformed, but they lacked the leadership to make it happen. Stability and status-quo had set in over the decades and middle management feared change. That fear and inability to adapt led to their inevitable demise.
Digital Transformation Is Unnecessarily Feared By Employees
The reason line of business employees aren’t getting the memo about transformation efforts – and have unfounded job fears as a result – is that there’s no clear leader behind transformation efforts. Nintex found a lack of consensus about who should lead digital transformation efforts within an organization.
As a result of their lack of awareness, line of business employees are more likely to view their company’s transformation and automation efforts as endangering their jobs, even though this is not the case. Nearly one-third of employees are worried the use of intelligent capabilities will endanger their jobs. Yet, the vast majority of jobs won’t go away as a result of intelligent process automation.
Within the marketing and sales departments I work with, companies have already shaved down their resources to a minimum. By investing in digital transformation, there’s not a risk of elimination, there’s the opportunity to utilize your talent more effectively. Unleashing the creativity and ingenuity of your sales and marketing teams is ultimately the top benefit of digital transformation!
The psychology behind ecommerce is quite amazing. I’m an avid online shopper and am often surprised at all the things that I buy that I didn’t really need but it was just too cool or too good a deal to pass up! This infographic from Wikibuy, 13 Psychological Pricing Hacks to Increase Sales, describes the impact of pricing and how buying behavior can be influenced easily with some minor tweaks.
Psychological pricing is an effective sales-driving strategy for businesses. By tapping into human psychology and the way consumers perceive price and value, businesses are able to price products more attractively and influence purchasing decisions. In addition to amended price structures, offering discount prices, BOGO offers and coupons is another research-backed way to influence sales. Source: Wikibuy
Don’t let the term psychological pricing and hacks turn you off. The fact is, over the years we’ve educated online users on what to look for in a great deal and our competitors are relying on these methods significantly. While you may feel like this is manipulative, it’s both mainstream and solid best practices in optimizing your pricing online.
What is Anchoring?
Product anchoring is a strategy where the consumer is presented with an immediate product or pricing comparison in order to heavily weigh their buying decision.
What is Charm Pricing and the Left Digit Effect?
When reading prices, there’s a strategy known as the left digit effect where consumers place disproportionate attention to the leftmost digit in a price. So a price like $19.99 conceptually seems closer to $10 than $20. This is known as charm pricing.
What is Bundle Pricing?
Grouping relevant products into a single, discounted purchase is known as bundle pricing. It’s often utilized to eliminate overstocked items that aren’t selling as well.
Here are the 13 pricing optimization methods:
- Display pricing in small fonts so they’re perceived to be smaller prices.
- Show premium options first so the second appears to be a bargain.
- Use bundle pricing to convince consumers that they’re getting a higher-value purchase with a steep discount for multiple items.
- Remove the comma from prices so that they’re perceived as lower prices.
- Give consumers an option to pay in installments so they anchor their mind to the smaller price.
- Offer three items with varying prices with the one you want them to buy in the middle.
- Position low prices to the left to follow left-to-right conceptual behavior on pricing.
- Use rounded numbers for emotional purchases and non-rounded numbers for rational purchases.
- Price from high to low vertically to follow top-to-bottom conceptual behavior on value.
- Add visual contrast by changing the font, size, and color of the sale item and place it slightly further away from other pricing to draw attention.
- When pricing, use words like low and small to associate the purchase with smaller magnitude.
- End prices in $9 to change the perception of the price to be smaller.
- Remove dollar signs to change the perception of the product price. In a Cornell study, consumers spent 8% more when the dollar sign was eliminated Tweet This!