Let’s Go Viral!

  Recipe for going viral:

Ingredients:

  • Emotionally captivating idea/concept
  • An audience
  • A share button

Instructions:

  • Come up with a new and exciting idea that will get people’s attention
  • Post it online
  • Tell all your friends and family to tell their friends and family about it and so on until everyone knows about the post
  • You now have yourself a viral marketing campaign. Enjoy!

Pretty poor excuse for a recipe, huh? Well now for some unfortunate news… In reality, there is no one strategy or prescribed step-by-step guide that will make your marketing campaign go viral. Going viral is more of an art than science. You never really know what’s going to go viral but with some careful planning and excellent execution, marketing experts have identified some ways that make it possible to create a successful Integrated Marketing Campagin (IMC) and maximise on the number of people that see it. Let’s take a look at a few of them below:

Know your audience

Gaining a proper understanding of the audience is essential in helping to ensure the proper IMC strategy is used and maximising organisational resources. Characteristics such as:

  • Consumer attitudes
  • Interests
  • Behaviours
  • Which channels they’re currently using
  • Motivations
  • Level of activity on social media
kfc-e1462366091422

KFC’s Facebook page

KFC is very active on social media and like to keep in touch with their customers through the use of light humour. A current trend on Facebook is that users ‘Tag’ their friends in posts as a way of jokingly insinuating that they owe them something such as money, food, etc. KFC has jumped on board with this trend and created their own post. This would have been aimed it at their younger customers who are active on social media and aware of the underlying joke.

Choose the appropriate channels

The right channel to select will depend on the target audience. With this in mind, social media may not necessarily be the answer for all. It’s important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each available channel and which ones will help maximise reach. Marketing expert, Yusef Bhana told CIO Magazine that it’s better to concentrate on the more effective channels than trying to be everywhere all of the time.

One of the most undoubtedly innovative public safety videos of all time was released by Metro. The  ‘Dumb Ways to Die‘ campaign aimed at making young people more careful around trains. It used an animated video that goes for about 3 minutes, highlighting the many dumb ways there are to die, with being hit by a train – a very preventable death – among them. The video currently has well over 127 million views. Take a look below:

The rates of preventable accidents involving trains were going up, with this campaign, Metro was hoping to reduce that number by at least 10%. One of the issues they faced was that public service advertising is traditionally quite authoritative and construed as negative, which doesn’t work on young people.  The use of YouTube as the primary channel meant that it was very easily accessible to their target demographic and the campaign went global. People started sharing the video through a variety of social mediums until eventually more than 56 million people saw it. The use of an integrated marketing approach which was not restricted to print media, TV and radio was new and almost unheard of, however was very fitting given the target audience. Young people had access to the smartphone app, the message is always there and easily accessible at any time. According to Metro Trains, the campaign contributed to a more than 30% reduction in “near-miss” which was overall, a great success. It may be a few years old now but it is certainley not forgotten.

Evoke an emotional response

Almost every viral campaign is somehow tied to a human emotion; excitement, happiness, fear, humour, etc. Emotional needs refer to the consumer’s social or psychological need for a product or a service. The example above from Metro used a number of emotions to illicit a response from its audience. Safety is the priority in this instance and dark humour was used as an influence and as a way of capturing the attention of the people watching.

The use of fear to illicit is a response is debatable the most effective form of emotional appeal, however the effectiveness is dependent on many variables. TAC ads are known for their graphic and fear evoking ad campaigns about road safety. The TAC 20 Year Anniversary TV ad montage is an example of how the effective these campaigns can be at provoking viewers.

Integrating these different emotions into your content can help your message resonate more effectively with your audience.

Encourage users to share!

A great post is of no benefit to anyone if no one gets to see it! The ability to share online content hasn’t been around for long but it has certainly made getting a message out there a lot quicker than conventional methods. It has been found that posts with images are more likely to be shared. A study conducted by Buzzsumo of over 100 million blog posts where it looked at the number of social shares each post got, and found several similarities between the most shared content. One of the elements that stood out the most as a recurring theme was the importance of visuals. The study also found that infographics were the most shared type of content beating out lists, how-to articles and even videos.

Last year, the headphone company, Beats by Dre, created the Straight Outta Compton meme to promote the new movie about the rise of rap group N.W.A. The meme generator inspires people to fill in the blank with their hometown in the signature design of N.W.A. Within 9 days of the site’s launch, over 7 million people visited the site, 6 million people created memes, and over the course of two days, #StraightOutta was retweeted more than 15,000 times per second. People and brands couldn’t help but relish the opportunity to get a little creative and silly. Here are some examples:

straight-outta-memes_20

straight-outta-memes_12

straight-outta-memes_2

Let’s also not forget the important role that word of mouth plays in any context. Interestingly though, according to Forbes, only 7% of word of mouth is online. Most people think it’s all about Facebook, Twitter, and other social media but most word of mouth is actually done offline.  Social media is great but don’t forget that face to face is the original social.

What are some of your favourite viral campaigns? What makes them so captivating? Leave your thoughts below guys, happy sharing!

 

Is SEO the Answer?

From trying to find somewhere that’s open to eat in the late hours of the night to the never-ending assignments, we go online for almost everything. The internet can be a big, scary and intimidating place if we don’t know how to navigate through.

200

Luckily we have search engines to help us find what we’re looking for. If you are a business that wants to be found, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can make this a lot more probable.The majority of web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines, GoogleBing, and Yahoo!.  Nowadays, we also have social media to help us learn more about organisations, products and services. Let’s be honest though, Google is usually the first stop for most internet users when we need to find almost anything including products, services, information and content.

download (1)

Search engines are unique in that they can provide targeted traffic. As a business, if search engines cannot find your site, or add your content to their databases, you miss out on incredible opportunities to drive traffic to your site. The Internet is understandably becoming increasingly competitive, and those companies who perform SEO will have a decided advantage in visitors and customers. In addition to making content available to search engines, SEO also helps boost rankings so that content will be placed where searchers will more readily find it.

However, just like everything else digital, we need to take into consideration the rapidly changing trends. Entrepreneur discusses some reasons why SEO is no longer the answer. A major factor for this is the enormous shift we have taken towards social media. Foursquare for example allows its users to find local attractions such as restaurants, shopping centers and places to explore. They can also connect with friends and see where they have been lately. People are more inclined to take note of where their friends have visited than what comes up during a random Google search. Facebook is another strong advocator of social proof. It has the advantage of a more personable approach in that users are more accountable to each other.

Facebook-reviews-can-be-good-or-bad-here-is-how-to-remove-them.png

Who do you trust more? Facebook reviews or search engine results? Maybe both.. 

With the transition to smartphones, people are also turning to apps for a lot of their searches. There seems to be an app for everything these days, the use of apps reduces the need of turning to search engines. For example, apps like Zomato for example, help identify restaurant ratings, opening times and how close they are located to you.

Apps.jpg

There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand. The right SEO can land you thousands of visitors and increased attention, the wrong moves however, can hide or bury your site deep in the search results where visibility is minimal.

Search engines, specifically Google, will likely always be the place we go to get the information we need. However, the point is that now that customers have so many other options of where to search, it is important that businesses which traditionally relied fully on SEO to be aware of where their customers are trending to or get left behind.

download

Mobile Marketing: Where are we now?

Remember when writing a text message actually required some effort? Like having to hit the ‘7’ button 3 times just for the letter ‘S.’ What about when your phone was almost as indestructible as a brick? And when polyphonic ringtones made you the coolest kid at school?

We have certainly come a long way since then, nowadays our lives are essentially wrapped up in the shape of a smartphone. We rely so heavily on our phones and other fancy electronic devices more than we’d like to admit.. but the truth is, with good reason!

Our mobiles, tablets and other smart-devices mean that we can be on the go and still be able to make those dinner reservations, book those flights or buy the last pair of new limited edition Jordans, all while letting your best friend know that you got tickets to the Taylor Swift concert next month. The world is at our fingertips. According to recent reports, 40% of users’ internet time is spent on mobile devices, which means simply ignoring the rise of mobile just isn’t an option.

Let’s take a look at a few other interesting statistics:

graph

However, despite these figures, sometimes it seems like there are two kinds of people in the world; those are fighting the inevitable and those who are learning how to embrace this digital world that we are undoubtedly living in.

From a marketing standpoint, Mobile Marketing has definitely become a very big part of the inevitable. Put simply, it’s marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a Smartphone or a Tablet. One definition comes from Andreas Kaplan who defines mobile marketing as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”.

With so much data available now about user habits, location and preferences, it becomes essential that marketers maximize the use of this information in the most effective way. Kaplan describes The 4 I’s of  Mobile Social media as integral to firms wanting to effective gain an understanding of their users.

Activities should be Integrated into users’ lives in a way that does not inconvenience them. An example of this would be the popular social media application Instagram, which allows users to access the app only using a smartphone or tablet and not through desktop computers.

Instagram also allows users to Individualise their accounts by uploading their personal photos to their profile and the ability to follow other pages that interest them. Using this information, along with their daily activity such as likes/ comments, they are also able to tailor specific sponsored ads or ‘suggested pages’ to an individual’s preferences. When sponsored ads were first introduced on Instagram in late 2013, there was a lot of backlash from users who were receiving ads completely irrelevant to them, for example a person interested in health and fitness seeing an ad for McDonald’s on their feed. Since then, the ad tracking process has become a lot more sophisticated and targeted to individual users.

Involving the user through engaging conversations is the next rule of thumb. Companies that respond in a timely and personal way to their users are more regarded than those who don’t. Instagram users have the ability to interact with others 24/7 which encourages involvement.

Finally, Initiating  the creation of user-generated content is essential to any social media firm. Instagram is excellent at this by allowing users to post their own photos and comment/like photos that they have an opinion on.

instagram-primary-100628744-large.png

So what do you think are other critical things mobile marketers need to consider? Are the upcoming trends going to change the way we look at marketing all together? Where do you think we’re headed? Share your thoughts on the topic below!

images

How Do We Keep Track Of It All?

Most people, myself included, often hear the term ‘metrics’ and instinctively get nervous. Unfortunately, however, if marketing is anyone’s goal, then metrics are the tools of measurement that we all need to learn to love and get to know very well. Forbes mentions that metrics are what make the marketing function a science, rather than a superstition as many think. There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ method for successful internet marketing, this is why tracking marketing efforts is so important. Online marketing metrics help to identify what is and what isn’t working while also providing insight into the realm of unpredictability that is the internet.The most common online metric is “hits/visits/page views” which represents awareness, this however is not very indicative of purchase. The metrics that show the largest increases over time, are ‘engagement metrics.’

table

Frequency of Internet Marketing Metrics Used by Companies

Online shopping sites such as ASOS and The Iconic (the one’s we’re all guilty of spending way too much of our time and money on) commonly use marketing metrics as a means of understanding the stores overall performance. The conversion rate (see below for key term definitions) measuring how efficient the site is at making visitors take action. This rate is calculated by implementing a procedure that will count the number of visitors as well as the number of actions completed. The action in question may consist of making an online purchase or subscribing to an electronic newsletter, etc. Pinpointing this ratio will give you an idea of your site’s performance in terms of converting visitors into potential customers and, finally, into real customers.

Abandoned-cart

f7a678de7e45969700765f1f71207c6f

Online shopping sites use metrics to help determine why customers abandon their shopping carts before checking out

Shopping duration is another metric which provides insight into how much time it takes users to carry out a purchase online.  This can show whether the site’s purchasing process encourages or discourages visitors. Factors such as the customer identification and payment process, the availability and clarity of information concerning shipping, payment and returns, etc all effect a users likelihood to complete the transaction. Less clicks means that potential buyers are finding the information they require more easily and are therefore more likely to complete the purchase. Amazon overcame this by introducing a more streamline ordering process known as 1-click ordering. This allows users to select the option of using their previously entered credit card details to process payment.

download (1)

It can be difficult to grasp so many new concepts so here are some definitions which should help make sense of it all!

Metric Definition Example
Conversions The number of people who achieved a desired result. Paying for a product, signing up for a trial, completing a form, etc
Leads Potential conversions Includes anyone with the need or interest to pursue your product or service.
Engagement

 

 

Total number of likes, shares, and comments on a post Facebook post likes/shares, Twitter re-tweets
Reach A measurement of the size of audience you are communicating with Total number of people who can visit your site
Visits vs. unique visits Visits count each time a person visits your site or page, regardless of whether or not they have visited before. Unique count each person only once.

 

Visitors accessing sites on multiple devices
Bounce rate

 

The percentage of people who land on a page and immediately leave, without viewing any other pages. The rate at which people leave the website after viewing only one page. Visiting only the website homepage
Time on site

 

A measure in minutes and seconds of how long a visitor stays on your site before exiting. How many hours do you spend on Netflix?
Audience growth rate

 

A comparison of a site’s audience today with the audience yesterday, last week, last month, etc. Celebrity gossip pages
Average engagement rate

 

Individual post engagement compared to overall followers. Number of comments/shares/likes on a single promotional post
Response rates

 

These can be measured in two ways, either as the speed with which comments are responded to and replies on social media, or how quickly marketing or sales department follows up with leads from social. Woolworths responding to Facebook comments

Read More

Welcome to the Blogosphere

Why-Blog

We all have a favourite blog or blogger that we turn to for all our procrastination needs, life advice when we’re doing a little soul searching or even just in need of some entertaining. Before blogs were cool, they could have been considered glorified online journals, and in all likelihood, becoming a professional blogger and making money online wasn’t the goal.It’s only in the past five to ten years that blogging has really taken off and become an integral part of online culture. Nowadays, blogging isn’t just for people who want to express themselves or gain insight into a particular topic, but also an invaluable tool for companies to promote their brands as well as an additional platform for reaching their customers. Blogs now exist in almost all industries including fashion, beauty, cars, health and fitness,business, home improvement and parenting.

The building blocks to blogging

The most powerful aspect of a blog is its authenticity. Bloggers are less restricted than mainstream media about what they can and can’t say, this means that they are able to freely voice their opinions and consumers can take comfort in knowing that these are the real thoughts of the blogger. If your blog is genuine, people will be able to tell. Brands rely on this authenticity when it comes to promoting their products. The beauty industry for example, relies particularly strongly on bloggers. Make-up and beauty brands will often send out a selection of products to known bloggers such as Lauren Curtis and Chloe Morello, in hopes that they will provide their audience with honest (and hopefully raving) reviews about their lines. Take a look an example of this below:

The content of a blog is essential because this is what audiences visit the blog to see. Blogs that engage the audience are also the ones that capture the most attention and are most memorable. Videos, pictures and diagrams are great ways of adding depth to a blog. Travel blogs such as Lonely Planet are a good example of  captivating as they are often rich with photos and videos from various destinations that bloggers have visited.Other examples of blogs that may be more content focused include ‘Mummy Blogs’ such as Mummy to Five and Made for Mums. Often these blogs are more focused on providing advice and sharing personal experiences that may be of help to other parents. Much like beauty brands, brands that cater to family and children needs will often send their products to ‘mummy’ bloggers with hopes that they will recommend them to their audiences.

tony_and_maureen

parentblog1

Blogging is a continuous learning experience for both the blogger and the audience. I look forward to gaining more and more insight into this ever-changing world and being able to apply these and other aspects to my own blog.

 

20150915-kardashian-apple-soho

Love them or hate them, the Kardashians are a prime example of blogging pros!

What are your favourite blogs that you like to visit?