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Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

We Are Social

A very smart ebook was produced by the team at We Are Social (a social agency) to talk about how brands need to become social businesses. This ebook is a fantastic read for all. Below is a quick summary from their site, as well as a link to download the full ebook. Our clients are going through this revolution to become social businesses… what more can we do to help?  / Colin Browning, Director, Social Media Marketing Services at IDG

Social Brands: The Future of Marketing
Social brands aren’t just brands with a social media presence; they’re brands that put social thinking at the heart of all their marketing.

They’re brands that are social, not just brands that do social.

They’re brands that always strive to be worth talking about.

But how can marketers actually build a brand worth talking about?

Building a Social Brand
This is the topic we explore in “Social Brands: The Future of Marketing“, our in-depth eBook that explains how to put social thinking at the heart of yourbrand.

You can download the complete book by clicking here, but here’s a quick overview to get you started:

1. Social equity drives brand equity
The brands that drive the most favourable conversations are the brands that can command the greatest and most enduring price premiums.

01 Everything should drive conversation 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

2. Communities have more value than platforms
Marketers need to use new technologies to add new kinds of value; not just to interrupt people in new ways with new kinds of advertising.

3. All marketing must add value
When it comes to people’s attention, interest and engagement, your brand isn’t competing with your competitors – it’s competing with everything that really matters to people. Marketing that doesn’t add value will simply be ignored.

4. Go mobile or stand still
Mobile devices are already vital to half the world’s population. Very soon, if you’re not bringing your strategy to life on a mobile, it’ll never come to life at all.

02 Todays media reality 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

5. The rise of the comms leitmotif
Now that marketers are no longer constrained by the crippling costs of broadcast media, we don’t need to distill all our communications down into lowest common denominator messaging. We can tell more complex – and more engaging – brand stories that evolve over time and across channels.

6. From selective hearing to active listening
Social media monitoring isn’t just about post-campaign reporting; the real value lies in listening to the organic conversations of the people that matter to you, and using these insights to develop richer, more tailored strategies.

06 Social listening can add value everywhere 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

7. Experiences are the new products
Product differentiation is no longer enough to ensure lasting success; brands need to deliver a more holistic set of emotional and functional benefits that engage people’s hearts as well as their heads.

8. Civic-minded brands are best placed to succeed
Society increasingly expects brands to give back at least as much as they take. As a result, marketers’ concept of CSR needs to evolve away from one of mere guilt relief. We need to see CSR as an opportunity, and use resources to build and nurture communities where people will welcome brands’ presence and participation.

07 Rethinking the concept of brand value 500x374 Social Brands: The Future of Marketing

The Value Of Video For Social Advertising

MediaPost

The value of video in digital marketing is growing as video consumption continues to rise across channels and connected devices. In the first half of 2014, the Interactive Advertising Bureau reported digital video ad spending increased by 24% compared to the first half of 2013.

While TV is not dead — consumers still watch on average 4.5 hours of TV per day — users are spending significant amounts of more time viewing video content on other devices like desktop, smartphone and tablet. Mobile now accounts for 22% of overall digital video consumption, expected to rise in 2015 with ad spending in social expected to exceed $26 billion dollars globally.

Enter Social Media: A Channel Capable of Widespread Impact

As marketers, we need to stop thinking in silos and start media planning with complete storytelling in mind. Using video content and social channels together to tell a cohesive, engaging narrative that leverages the mind-set of the user, based on the screen and platform they are viewing, should be the norm.

Once content creators begin to develop video based on channel and device, engagement and video completion rates skyrocket. Adding videos to landing pages can increase conversions by nearly 90 percent—especially across the ever-increasing landscape of social platforms, where video has become a strategic way to break through the daily clutter of 58 million tweets, 4.75 billion pieces of Facebook content, and 60 million Instagram posts.

Few advertising channels outside of social allow a brand to maximize distribution of short- and long-form content and get users to watch nearly an entire video clip. Video is a tool to help change perception and sentiment among a brand’s target audience, while leveraging established advocates to relay influential opinions to their peers across multiple channels.

Given the usage of social platforms, high engagement with content and the ability to target audiences on a one-to-one level, it’s surprising that video and social are so commonly planned separately. As marketers, isn’t it our job to find the right user and deliver the right message to them at the right time? If so, why are we not planning video strategies on Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with our broader video buys? It is time to tear down the channel walls and start building smarter media plans inclusive of social user behavior and each platform’s unique capabilities.

Video-based social media offerings are becoming more advanced and marketers should continue to adjust their strategy accordingly. Recent research from SocialBakers found that more marketers are opting for Facebook video over YouTube, and Twitter’s native Video Card outperforms YouTube links — emphasizing the huge opportunity for brands to develop engaging content that resonates with each social network’s unique audience and format.

Continue reading… 

Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

IDG Connect 0811 Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

In January 2006 Twitter didn’t exist, blogging was mocked, and Facebook was for students. Over the following five years social media took off, but still many people questioned the importance of social networks in the B2B space. Now in 2014, its usefulness has been proven over and over again and it continues to gain momentum. In fact, as content marketing gradually grows in importance, social media is playing an even more significant role.

Summary

New research conducted in November 2013 by IDG Connect shows that 86% of B2B Information Technology (IT) buyers are currently using
social media networks in their purchase decision process. Social media is not only important for companies, but it is now a necessary investment and crucial element of any go-to-market strategies. And findings suggest this is only set to increase over the next couple of years.

  • 86% of IT buyers are using social media networks and content in their purchase decision process
  • Social media is used most often in the general education stage of the buying cycle
  • 89% of IT buyers prefer educational content to promotional content in their favored social media channels
  • 62% of IT buyers are most interested in seeing e-seminars (virtual events) from social channels
  • Product/Service reviews are the content types that IT buyers prefer to see links from via social channels
  • In two years, social, peer-generated content will have greater weight versus editorial and vendor content in making IT investment decisions

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Screen Shot 2014 01 13 at 4.39.11 PM Research: How to Drive Engagement Through Social Media 2014

Instagram Proves Hit With Brand Marketers, Users

Social Media Daily

Ahead of Facebook’s latest earnings call, new data shows that Instagram is more popular than ever among brand marketers.

During the third quarter of 2014, 86% of top brands incorporated Instagram into their marketing strategies, which represented a 15% year-over-year increase, according to social media measurement start-up Simply Measured.

All told, Instagram now boasts 200 million active users, 60 million photos posted daily and more than 1.6 billion interactions per day, per Simply Measured.

Brands who posted at least once a day have doubled since 2012, while 73% of brands post at least one photo or video per week, the researcher found. Simply Measured also found a clear correlation between brands that maintain an active presence on the platform and increased user engagement.

“With more brands engaging larger audiences and tactics becoming more sophisticated, Instagram users are more receptive to marketing content on the network,” according to Kevin Shively, author of the report.

In fact, monthly engagement among top brands has more than doubled since the third quarter of 2013, and grown nearly 12-fold since the third quarter of 2012, according to Shively.

Along with consistent posting schedules, brands looking to do a better job of engaging Instagram users should focus on post tagging and caption content.

Posts tagged with a location receive 79% higher engagement on average, according to Simply Measured, while it found 56% higher engagement for posts that include another user handle in the caption.

Continue reading… 

With New Ad Platform, Facebook Opens Gates to Its Vault of User Data

The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook built itself into the No. 2 digital advertising platform in the world by analyzing the vast amount of data it had on each of its 1.3 billion users to sell individually targeted ads on its social network.

Now it is going to take those targeted ads to the rest of the Internet, mounting its most direct challenge yet to Google, the leader in digital advertising with nearly one-third of the global market.

On Monday, Facebook will roll out a rebuilt ad platform, called Atlas, that will allow marketers to tap its detailed knowledge of its users to direct ads to those people on thousands of other websites and mobile apps.

“We are bringing all of the people-based marketing functions that marketers are used to doing on Facebook and allowing them to do that across the web,” David Jakubowski, the company’s head of advertising technology, said in an interview.

Continue reading…

Brand Publishers Are Ditching Facebook in Favor of Microsites

ADWEEK

Brand publishers are more aware that they’re really just renting social media space on Facebook and are moving resources away from the social network.

One agency said its clients are pulling away from Facebook in “dramatic numbers”—reallocating their resources to microsites and alternate social channels like LinkedIn—after the agency’s social media managers saw a “dramatic dip” in reach for their messaging over the last 16 months. They attributed this decline to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which curates the content users see in their News Feeds.

“Brands don’t own what happens on Facebook, and as organic reach has been absolutely eviscerated, they remain aware of that,” said Forrester analyst Nate Elliott, adding that marketers have been telling him that they no longer see Facebook as a viable marketing channel.

Facebook’s complete control of content on the platform can also wreak havoc on brand campaigns developed specifically for the social network. In March 2012, Elliott said the mandatory Timeline layout change wrecked some custom brand page experiences. “Just changing one pixel can ruin the entire thing,” he pointed out.

Continue Reading…

Instagram begins serving ads in the UK

The seven UK advertisers are trialling Instagram’s new “Sponsored” paid-for ad unit to increase the reach of their content on the platform, which now has more than 200 million monthly active users.

The Facebook-owned photo app first began trialling the format in the US in November.

The units are charged on a cost-per-mille basis and brands can currently choose to target audiences by age, gender and geography. A threshold has not yet been set for the number of ads a user is likely to see on any given day, but this is likely to remain minimal as Instagram continues to roll out advertising “deliberately slowly”.

Waitrose was interested in being among the first brands to trial the format because it believes Instagram can help the retailer build on its already-existing “Love Food” brand platform in a highly engaged social environment, Rupert Ellwood, Waitrose head of marketing communications, told Marketing Week.

Read on…

Pinterest has hired its first media partnerships manager. Why now?

GIGAOM

Pinterest has hired a head of media partnerships for the first time. The company has brought on Robert Macdonald, formerly of Google, to do the job. Macdonald previously managed publisher relationships at Dstillery, Scribd and Google. In an interview with the New York Times, Pinterest’s head of partnerships — general, not just media — said, “We don’t think we’ve invested enough yet to totally capture the opportunity and to help these publishers.”

When asked what publishers Pinterest will be courting, a spokesperson told me, “We are looking to work with a wide range of traditional and digital publishers across all verticals, many of which are already using the platform.” A handful of companies swear by Pinterest’s traffic referral potential. For example, Buzzfeed’s second biggest social driver of traffic is Pinterest, after front-runner Facebook. As I previously reported, Pinterest is also looking for someone to manage their relationships with Hollywood, so it’s going after media organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Read on…