What's new with Social Media?

If you feel like you can’t keep up with all the snaps, stages, tweets, boosts, videos, stickers and streams in social media, you’re not alone.  The modifications, features and types of social media changes daily.

So what changed recently? Here is just a snippet:

• Twitter no longer counting certain features against 140-character limit. This is not expected to take effect until September 19, but it has been talked about since May.  Twitter reports that photos, gifs, videos, polls and @names will no longer count toward the character limit. This benefits marketers and businesses by providing enough space to post photos of a product but also say enough about it to make sense. Read more about this change here.

• Instagram gets more business friendly. Instagram already allows promoted content, but now businesses with an Instagram profile can add a “contact” button. The new insights feature will enable businesses to see who is interacting with their content. If a certain post is performing much better than others Instagram will now allow you to turn that post into an ad that you can schedule. Read more about Instagram’s changes here.

• Facebook let’s you create your own canvas. I’m still reading up on this one, but I recently discovered Facebook’s new “Canvas” feature while I was scheduling promotions for the Idaho State Journal’s upcoming Business and Achievement Awards event.  The description I found of this new feature was pretty vague, so I decided to go in and make one.

Facebook says that the canvas feature is “a better way to tell your brand story and promote your products on mobile.”
Basically, you start with a theme color, which can be white, black or custom, then you pick components to add such as video, photo, photo carousel, button, text block or header. Each component is highly customizable. The font, color, size and background can all be changed in the text component, and the photos can be set to “fit to width,” “tap to expand” or “fit to height,” for example.
Each component adds a sort of “slide” to create a slideshow-type design. When a users views a Facebook canvas on his or her mobile device, they open it just as they would a Facebook photo and then swipe up and down to view the canvas.  Here is a photo of one I built just with some random photos I had on my desktop.
But the canvases are only viewable on mobile! So you can build it on your desktop but in order to preview and view your canvas you must send it to your mobile device. Go here to learn more about Facebook Canvas.

• Winner, winner, Pinterest bidder! Pinterest now boasts that advertisers will get more bang for their buck now that it offers CPM-based advertising. CPM stands for “Cost Per Thousand.” The “M” is the Roman numeral for 1,000. Why it is not CPT I’ll never know.
With CPM you only pay for each set of eyeballs that actually see your ad. You set your budget and you’re guaranteed not to go over it. Every time a webpage is opened, ads compete, or bid for the ad space on that page. If your ad has the highest bid it gets the real estate. If your ad is outbid you don’t get charged. Pretty cool, huh?  For more on this new feature click here.

Do you have any social media success stories or features you can’t live without? Let me know at jhopkins@journalnet.com

Creating a marketing strategy

Sure, you've got a lot of great ideas about how you can communicate to the masses about your brand, products and services, but if you're like me they exist only in your head and are bouncing around in there like a beach ball at a folk rock festival.
This may have worked back when the only content consumers were exposed to was TV, radio, billboards and print, but now with more content than ever passing through more channels than ever reaching consumers has become more complex. Your marketing strategy must follow suit.

So why are you not writing it down? Post-It notes and the napkin at the coffee shop don't count. I'm talking about an organized, well planned documented and measurable marketing plan. Nearly half of marketers say they have a marketing plan, but that it is not documented, according to the Content Marketing Institute. CMI research has found, not surprisingly, that marketers with a documented marketing plan are more successful.
So where do you start? Here are 8 steps to build a content marketing strategy, courtesy www.marketingprofs.com

No surprise here, but you first need to know who you will be targeting to. You may wish that your target audience was “everybody,” but in reality there is a demographic of people who would more likely be interested in your product or service. Start by asking yourself if you would be better off targeting men or women or maybe both? What age group would be most interested in your product or service? What household income? Do they have children? By asking these questions your target audience will begin to take shape and you'll save time and money by marketing to the right people.

Do a SWOT analysis. Define your company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are more internal to your organization while opportunities and threats are external. This analysis will help to find ways to differentiate you from your competitors. Also, do some market research. Has there been a major downturn in the economy that may affect the way consumers spend their dollars? Is there a shortage of your product in another area that you can use to your advantage?

By now you should have not only a better idea of who your target audience is, but who you are as a company. Show some personality by telling your story. How and when did your company get started? What is your mission? Don't focus on stats and definitions, humanize your brand. More people can relate to “Our inspiration came to us in a garage in 1992” than “We have sold more that 1,000 products in the last month.”

CREATE ART/CREATIVE for your campaign. Pick colors and fonts that match your brand. Think outside of the box, but don't go overboard either! Beware of adding too much wording, but emphasize words like “free” or “new” that will draw people in.

It's all put together, now get it out there! Think about where your target audience will most likely see your message. Social media? Direct mail? Facebook is a great free resource for promoting your product or service. If you are worried about forgetting to post or if you're just too busy to post every day, use a service like Hootsuite that lets you create and schedule posts in advance. Just write them, schedule them and let it run! Hootsuite allows you to manage two social media streams for free and more if you purchase a membership. MEASURE when possible. It is impossible to know how many direct mail pieces were actually looked at and how many were simply tossed into the trash. Website clicks, ad impressions, Facebook post reach and others can be measured, however. Make sure to note what your web stats, Facebook likes, etc. are before you launch the campaign to see how much it has increased.

When your campaign wraps up make sure to take time to look back and see what you did well and what you could improve on next time.

I look forward to working with you

Hello and welcome to the January, 2016 edition of the ISJ Media Monthly Marketer.

As Kelsey mentioned in December’s newsletter, she has taken a job at Idaho State University and I have taken over her position as Digital Marketing Specialist here at the Idaho State Journal.  Kelsey did a great job of reaching out to business owners in our community and has helped many of them kick-start digital marketing campaigns with great results. I hope to continue and strengthen those relationships and offer solutions for those looking to increase their brand awareness in the digital market.

Just to give you a little bit of background, I am a native of Southeast Idaho; I was born in Pocatello and raised in Blackfoot. I graduated from Idaho State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in advertising and public relations. Having grown up here I know what a wonderful place this is to live and how important it is to have a healthy local economy. 

One of the things I have learned during my first few weeks in this position is just how many great digital marketing tactics are available. With contextual marketing, for example, your ad will appear alongside articles that are relevant to your business. For example, if I am reading an article about the importance of taking my children to the dentist, an advertisement about a local children’s dental office will appear off to the side.

Additionally, have ever been shopping online, then logged in to Facebook and seen an ad for the business or brand you had just been looking at? That’s no coincidence, that’s called click retargeting, and we can do that for your business here at ISJ Media.

Those are just some of the many great services we have to offer. I look forward to working with you!

Developing a Content Strategy

Written By: Joanna Madej
Introduction By: Kelsey West
For: Marketing Profs 

As content marketing and native advertising continue to grow in the today’s new world of marketing- there are a few things every office manager, marketing director or business owner should know- “Your Great Content Doesn’t Matter If It Isn’t Reaching the Right Audiences.” This month’s Monthly Marketer focuses on one great article that I think encompasses the huge “need-to-know’s” behind starting on your journey to a new way of marketing your business and that’s through content.

If you are still unfamiliar with the term “content marketing” allow me to explain before you dive into the great information Joanna Madej’s article has to offer. Content marketing is a new form of reaching your audience through sharing valuable, targeted and relevant information rather than simply trying to sell yourself and the services you offer. With content, you are utilizing the expertise you already possess to grasp the attention of your potential customers through genuinely informative and helpful information people actually want to read and even share with their friends. With content marketing, you are branding your business and the services you offer by showing your customers you know what you are talking about and you are ready and willing to help. With great and consistent content, you become the known name in your field, you become the expert, the resource and ultimately your potential customer’s choice when they need you. This information can be shared in a number of ways, through blogs, through videos, newsletters, seminars and more. But, this is best and most effectively done through several strategic tactics for your content- this month’s article explains those strategies and how to truly reach your customers in the blur of information overload we all face everyday. Read on and enjoy… you might want to take notes, this is a good one!

Your Great Content Doesn't Matter If It Isn't Reaching the Right Audiences

These days, if you're a business, content is among your greatest assets. Regardless of what vertical you're in, you're in the business of solving problems. Content serves as a key resource to communicate value, demonstrate your expertise, and build relationships with prospective or existing customers.
Businesses are recognizing the value content can bring to their organizations, and they're spending increased amounts of their budgets on content production.

Though marketing departments understand the benefits of content marketing, they struggle to articulate content's return on investment (ROI) to internal stakeholders or to apply any strategic lessons learned.

Content should never be for content's sake
All content produced should be through the lens of strategic objectives. All content should serve business goals. Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester Research emphasizes this when pointing out the differences between brands and publishers. Publishers' "attention as a product" does not apply to content marketing, he states. Likes and shares, he points out, are not sufficient on their own. They must contribute to ROI.

"In many instances, that 'make content worth reading' commandment becomes an excuse for confused marketers and greedy agencies to play media magnate and accumulate 'likes' to no purpose," Skinner writes. Rather than thinking like publishers, for whom readership is the end goal, Skinner advises the modern marketer to remember that "[she or he] has to earn the interest of her market, and has a tremendous new arsenal of insights, channels and resources to do that."

Content marketing strategy needs to be measured by how well content serves business goals. Those goals might vary by department, target audience, or marketing initiative—but should nevertheless provide actionable insights on content effectiveness.
As content becomes increasingly central to business processes, Web content management software should be more than a productivity tool publishing content to channels. It should be an ROI machine, communicating content's performance and contributing to the overall goals of the business.

It's not a strategy if you can't learn from it
Among the biggest threats to content marketing effectively (and budget) is the inability to learn from successes and failures. Without metrics on engagement, conversions, missing search terms, or content gaps, content marketers struggle to replicate successes and articulate why they were effective. Even more dangerously, they lack the information to understand failures.

A consistent feedback loop, providing granular insight on content effectiveness, is essential to a continuously improving and data-driven content strategy. Software is crucial to providing these insights and making them actionable in short time periods.

One-size-fits-all content doesn't cut it
The average B2C company targets four personas, but that number can be much greater for the B2B market. To serve the underlying need of their visitors, brands need to understand the underlying challenge, interest, and intent of their audiences—and generate content accordingly. With a combination of personalization and a feedback loop on content performance, Web content management software can enable marketers to develop sophisticated content strategy to serve segmented personas in the various stages of the customer lifecycle.

From awareness to customer service, brands are using the immense data available to them on customer behavior and context (like location, local weather, or even analysis of local Twitter sentiment) to tailor content production, even to the anonymous individual. Relevant, personalized content that resonates with audiences establishes stronger relationships with customers. Well-performing content affects a business's bottom line. Though most businesses have yet to implement onsite content targeting, those that delivered relevant and targeted onsite content saw a 14% increase in conversion, and an 8% increase in revenue, according to a recent Hippo study.

Personalization should not be implemented in a vacuum. To deliver on ROI, personalization needs that constant feedback mechanism.

Agile strategies make agile cultures
An editorial calendar should not be a one-way street. The days of "push marketing" are over. In the digital era, marketing needs to listen to online visitors and craft strategy in response. A content marketing editorial calendar should be a living, breathing document—agile and responsive to feedback on content performance. It's here that software offers a critical advantage: as a strategic partner augmenting content strategy, and enabling constant adaptation.

By making content strategy data-driven, a Web content management system does more than provide metrics and increase content ROI; it helps transform organizations.


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