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How to engage your social media fans; with help from the Hess Truck

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Are you looking for ways to better engage your social media fans?

Do you struggle to come to up with low or no cost ideas to promote your business on social media?

With a little creative thinking your business may already have everything you need to engage your fans to make them feel special and create a conversation.
Check out how the Hess Corporation is using a once a year promotional item to create conversation about their brand.

Now that another holiday season is on the way, the Hess Corporation is strategically using social media to promote and create excitement with their fans for the launch of the 2013 Hess Toy Truck. Every year, for 49 years, Hess has offered a different toy truck package like the 2012 Miniature Hess Toy Truck and Helicopter to the 2005 Hess Emergency Truck with Rescue Vehicle. Details of this years popular holiday gift will be announced November 1st. However, beginning October 14th, fans can help reveal the truck before the November 1 announcement. Fans can “like” Hess Express and the Hess Toy Truck on Facebook, follow Hess Express on Twitter @HessExpress and check into any Hess location via Foursquare to slowly see what this years truck will look like. The truck is also now available for pre-orderig and information on how to participate will be available on the Hess Express Facebook page on October 14 (Facebook.com/hessexpress).

With the simple concept of letting fans in on the reveal, the Hess fans will feel special by having the opportunity to be the first to see this years offering. No doubt this will lead to social conversation about the truck, past trucks and the special moments shared around the Christmas tree with the Hess truck (and Hess brand). Most importantly, this gift will no doubt be given to children, who will grow up with the Hess brand and continue the conversation.

Why not create a VIP/special experience for your fans tied into a product or service you provide. It could mean little or no cost to you and big results when you’re a trying to get the conversation going.

Need to brainstorm? Contact Glen Stacey media. We would be happy to help.


Three factors that can help Twitter users grow their band of followers

Researchers at Georgia Tech examined half a million Tweets from more than 500 Twitter users over 15 months. They identified a list of 28-hundred emotive terms suggesting whether a Tweet was positive or negative, including acronyms, such as LOL, emoticons and slang and swear words.
 
Three factors that can help Twitter users grow their band of Followers became clear:
 
Don’t talk about yourself: Content focused on the Tweeter attracts fewer Followers, yet Twitter users talked about themselves in 41 percent of Tweets, on average.
 
Be happy: Positive Tweets attract more Followers than negative. “Twitter is mainly based on weak social ties”, according to researchers, and such anonymity ups the importance of keeping Tweets up-beat.
 
Keep hashtags to a minimum: They’re useful for expressing emotional commentary or tying Tweets to larger events or issues, but they can be abused. Researchers found that the higher a Twitter users’ “hashtag ratio,” the less likely they were to attract new followers. 

How to know what people really think about your brand

social-media-logosSomeone, somewhere is talking about your business behind your back. Fortunately, you can sit in on many of the conversations — at least the ones occurring on social media sites.

Here’s how to stay abreast of what customers are saying about your company on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

1. Set up alerts and conduct regular web searches. To find comments outside of your own established business pages, set up Google Alerts for your name and your business name (put quotation marks around any proper names to get the most accurate results). For the result type, click on Everything to receive email notifications whenever your business gets mentioned on blogs and discussion sites. Meanwhile, use the search tools on social media sites to plug in keywords related to your company and industry. This will pull up what’s being said in the social sphere about your business and businesses like yours.

2. Consider investing in a monitoring tool. “With a small business, you want to make sure you have a pulse on what’s being said about you,” says Andrew Caravella, vice president of marketing for Sprout Social, whose social-media management software includes a monitoring component. The system scours Facebook and Twitter for mentions of a particular brand or keyword. Other useful tools that can find social media conversations: Topsy, Trackur, and Radian6 Social Marketing Cloud.

3. Make people feel as if they’re being heard. Although you don’t want to get caught in the fray of complainers who spend their free time criticizing everyone online, you do want your business to come across as caring and responsive. Often the complainers just want to be acknowledged. A restaurant owner, for example, should respond to a negative comment by saying, “‘We want to make this right’ and offer the person a coupon or something like that,” advises Andrea Vahl, a social media coach for businesses. Look for opportunities to be appreciative, too. When Vahl stumbled across a positive mention of her name on a site, she jumped into the conversation. “I commented on that forum thread and said, ‘Thanks for the shout-out, and let me give you some more insight,’” she says, noting that doing so could catch the attention of potential customers.

4. Don’t spend too much time eavesdropping. You have more important things to do (like run a business) than troll for mentions about your company. Schedule a regular time once a week for social media monitoring, such as Monday mornings, Vahl suggests. Chime in when a response could preserve your company’s reputation or showcase its offerings. “It’s important to respond; it shows you are proactive,”

Sarah Johnson is a business writer and editorial consultant. Her work has appeared in CFO and CIO magazines.

Read more: http://blog.intuit.com/marketing/what-are-customers-saying-about-you-on-social-media/#ixzz2ScehIPAW


Good web content can increase online sales

Adding relevant videos to your company website can attract viewers, who may go on to browse the site and buy your products. The use of content has become one of the fastest growing marketing strategies, according to Curata.

Content marketing can be defined as providing information that is of value to potential customers via media such as blogs, podcasts or videos. It is not about selling, but helping. The rise of content marketing is partly a response to growing consumer apathy towards advertising. When people use the internet they’re usually not looking to be sold to, but to be informed or entertained. Increasing the chances of making a sale therefore involves satisfying those needs by providing advice. The advice given can be anything from help with deciding where to go on holiday or how to repair a dripping tap – tied in somehow with your product.

Build your credibility

Providing valuable content shows expertise to a potential customer and that reinforces confidence and trust. If the advice is really useful, it might even lead to a sense of gratitude.

It’s about adding value from the very first encounter with your website that can later lead to sales and recommendations. A great example of this is the online retailer of spare parts, eSpares.com. The site has a series of short videos showing how to fix home appliances, from changing a kitchen tap to replacing a washing machine door seal.

A potential customer watching those short videos is far more likely to buy those spare parts as they’ll be more confident about doing the work themselves and can save a fortune on a plumber.

Producing content that is valuable for your target market is very much a case of thinking about the problems, fears, desires and motivations of your customers. Material that addresses their concerns can come from your own expertise, or bringing into one place the information they need to solve a particular problem.

How you present your content is very much down to the way your audience likes to obtain information. If your business focuses on investment advice, written content such as blog posts and reports containing charts work well. However, if you’re in the fashion industry, visual content is likely to be far more important, such as providing photos and short videos on your website.

Good content is likely to be linked to from external sites, which can help you boost your traffic as well as please your customers. Google gives higher priority in its page rankings to sites that have quality content and it partly makes that judgment by the number of genuine links to it.

Make it social

With all your content, make sure that it is easy for others to share via social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

When your content is shared by others you are benefiting from one of the most powerful of all marketing tools – that of personal recommendation and endorsement. Increasingly, consumers are turning to their peers for advice to inform their purchasing decisions.

Encouraging visitors to sign up to a free newsletter is another way of staying in touch with potential customers.

The PR angle

If your content is newsworthy, such as giving insight into a new trend, it might have publicity value. Having a publication write about it can add enormous credibility to a small business. The best way to place a story is to find the most relevant publication and journalist. Then call them beforehand to gauge their interest. If they do publish make sure you link to their article from your website.

A strategy of regularly producing and distributing high-quality content should form an integral part of the marketing plan of any business. It’s a proven strategy for gaining recognition and building trust, which in turn leads to more business.

*A version of theis story fist appeared in The Guardian by Justin Pugsley


4 types of content people love to share

ShareNo matter the tools, the technology, or the platform, great content will always start conversations. There’s going to be a new social media platform next week (and the week after that), but the one fundamental thing used to start word of mouth is great content.

Here are some types your fans will show their friends:

1. Fun stuff

2. Training stuff 

3. Timely stuff 

4. Secret stuff

1. Fun stuff

Fun stuff is some of the most passed around content because, well, it’s fun — and you get extra points for something personalized, interactive, or engaging. How many times have you been sent a holiday eCard from Jib-Jab? The reason this stuff survives so long and continues to be shared: it’s a lot of fun.

2. Training stuff

Everyone has something they can teach someone — so why not share it? McCormick shares recipes, tips, and an “enspicelopedia” for using their herbs and spices and keeping them fresh. These are quick, casual, and easy to share. This kind of content is great for word of mouth because you can show off your expertise while giving your fans something that helps make them look smart to their friends.

3. Timely stuff

People love sharing content that talks about what’s already on their minds. For example, Austin’s Sugar Circus offered an End of the World deal on their cupcakes for December 21 when the Mayan Calendar was predicting our doom. They’re not the only ones. Etsy sent out an “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” email the same day featuring survival-themed products. That’s a fun and timely word of mouth topic. When will your customers be the most excited about your content? How can you make it fit what they’re already talking about?

4. Secret stuff

You probably do a lot of cool stuff behind the scenes that no one ever sees — this is content that people love to share. For example, every year the Vail Ski Patrol keeps the slopes safe by setting off controlled avalanches, and they make these simple videos of the process. To them, this is just annual maintenance, but to everyone else, this is a cool look behind the scenes — and something worth sharing with their friends.

This post originally appeared on wordofmouth.org.


6 reasons why your business needs video content

 

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Let’s dive into it:

•Video is social: Ever hear of a viral video? I’m not saying that every video created needs have this aspect to it, but overall video content is easily shared (especially emotional content).

•Video is engaging: Compared to text sites, websites with video have a lower bounce rate (59 percent compared to 87 percent) and a higher average time on site (5 minutes compared to 42 seconds).

•Videos are getting viewed: 83 percent of executives say they are watching more online video today than they were a year ago.

•Video content is growing: 48 hours of video content uploaded every minute to YouTube in 2011 compared, to 35 hours in 2010 or eight hours in 2007.

•Video is accessible: With HTML 5, video can easily be viewed across all devices including iPad’s and iPhone’s.

•Video will generate better rankings: Forrester research has identified that web pages with video stand a 50 percent better chance than text pages alone of showing up on the first page of Google search results.

Where to place video content?

YouTube: YouTube is the biggest search engine outside of Google, with more than 3 billion daily views and approximately 48 hours of video content uploaded every minute YouTube is truly a heavy hitter with staggering traffic. The numbers don’t lie. Video content is growing and getting consumed. Getting your videos on YouTube is essential.

Your website: Outside of having videos on YouTube, videos should be posted on your website. Not only will this help rankings but video can also aide in conversion. A simple how-to or demonstration of a product can greatly enhance a user’s experience and entice them to purchase.

Make your video findable on YouTube

So, simply posting a video on YouTube and having it “findable” might seem a little overwhelming with the amount of content getting posted. However, optimizing a few key areas of your video will help in making it more search-friendly.

YouTube looks heavily into these areas when ranking videos:

1.Text in your titles, tags and descriptions. These should be keyword rich and content specific. YouTube offers a keyword discovery tool to help with keyword development.

2.Number of views and recent trending. YouTube considers a video “viewed” after eight seconds of run time, so make sure your video has enough pull to get past that mark. To look at how videos are trending, click the graph to the right of the views. Also keep in mind that a YouTube video viewed on a website will add to the view count.

This post, written by Jason Poulos, originally appeared on The Buzz Bin.


Advertisers Are Still Missing the Mark with Online Video

Online video advertising should be ushering in a new golden era for our industry. Except it’s not, because most of the ad business is focused on the wrong things.

There are essentially two areas of discussion that dominate the conversation when it comes to online video. Both are tethered to the Mad Men world of “things we’ve always done.”

The first is pre-roll — putting spots in front of content. We focus on this because it’s what all the big agencies are set up to do and it’s where the dollars are.

The second is the creation of branded content. Another page from the history books. We did it with soap operas. Red Bull seems to have made it work. Let’s do it again. We focus on this because people who work in advertising all secretly wish we worked in Hollywood.

These are important opportunities for sure, but to limit our attention to them is myopic.

Advertising used to be about things like persuasion, perception, inspiration, desire. It was Bill Bernbach who said “It’s not the numbers of ads you serve, it’s the impression you make. Today, the word “impression” has a whole new meaning, and advertising is about spreadsheets and quantifiable ROI.

It can be about both. It should be about both. Online video can bridge that gap.

Marketers should be thoughtful about considering every opportunity that digital video presents. Here are a few:

Discoverable content

Google is a zillion-dollar business because they stumbled upon something powerful in the marketing funnel — intent. When people want something, they search for it.

Rapidly, video is becoming a more and more critical part of that search. This summer, I decided to put my BBQ skills to the test and figure out how to make a brisket. It didn’t even occur to me to read a recipe. I went straight to YouTube to learn how. I went through dozens of crappy home videos before I finally found a good one.

Shame on Kingsford Charcoal for not making sure I discovered a quality, search engine optimized video they produced. That’s a big missed opportunity.

What are your customers looking for? Make sure you help them discover it.

Owned media

Often, brands will put budget into high production value for spots, but treat video created for their own website like a Cinderella stepchild. The thinking is that less people will see it, so let’s spend less producing it.

That’s silly. Sure, the audience that will see them is smaller, but certainly they are not less important. These are the people raising their hands, clicking their mouses and saying, “Yes, I want a deeper relationship with your brand.”

No one is saying you should run out and try to create the next Bud TV. You don’t need to become a TV station.

I’m talking a great opportunity to tell a deeper story to the right audience. Why skimp there?

Native video

One big trend in that the VC community is buzzing about today is “Native Monetization.” Sponsored Stories on Facebook is an example of an ad that is “native” to its platforms. Now, all manner of content providers are devising ways to integrate brand content — particularly video — into their actual content. This can be highly effective.

When Buzzfeed readers checked out a piece of content called “This is how you get on Santa’s Naughty List” last Christmas, they got to see a cute video from FootLocker about a teenager holding a reindeer hostage to get Santa to get him new sneakers. Like most Buzzfeed content, it’s designed to put a smirk on your face. And it does the job.

Experience integration

One of the most compelling opportunities open to brands today is to delight or create value for consumers through digital experiences. Video can be integrated into those experiences to make them more powerful, more compelling and yes, more engaging to your customers.

We created a campaign for Adobe called “Real or Fake?” that challenged players to guess whether a series of images were real or faked with Adobe tools. We used AfterEffects to create a video of a ballerina dancing on top of the Roosevelt Island Tram. After guessing if it was real or fake (it was fake), 50% of people who played the game and checked out a tutorial on how they could do it themselves.

(Source: Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction, a San Fancisco interactive agency, Advertising Age, 11/01/12)


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