content marketing, liveblog, social media, Strategy

Mark Schaefer and CONTENT SHOCK courtesy of Social@Ogilvy

Well this morning I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Schaefer talk about the future of digital and social media in his eyes.  Having dragged him away from his holiday of hot pools in Rotorua and Waiheke Island they managed to get him around the royal entourage in Wellington. Mark presented over a live feed from the capital.

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Mark’s blog businesses grow is a great source for all things social and he began the presentation with two mega trends online.

The selfie and cats. Culminating in! Wait for it. The cat selfie – Boom.

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NOT!

So after this opening gag, Mark walked us through 3 digital revolutions we have all been part of and a 4th we are approaching. The first three we know as:

Presence – which is the online brochureware we all saw at the beginning of the internet.

Search – Which was getting your content found and tricking google to be in the first SERPs.

Utility – Which is engaging fans through content on social (our current phase) and the volume of this content is overwhelming. Data will increase 600% by 2020. And it’s not all from IoT. It will also be user generated, like the #catselfie.

On average adults in the western world consume around 10 hours of content a day. Already the web is our major provider of this content. As brands we are finding it hard to cut through the competing content and I like Mark believe will hit the limit of content consumption soon.

Mark then quoted Richard Simms from Facebook ~ “Organic reach is dropping as there’s 1500 odd possible stories we can show a user each day”. Hence the need for the edge rank algorithm. But as seen here, Facebook will be charging more and more to reach your fan base, to enhance their revenues.

So how do we get around this as we move to a new era? Well here are three options.

1. Create a niche and OWN it! Be the best source of information on a specific topic so that search engines can’t ignore you. Relate to your audience so that you’re top of mind in your niche.

Mark talked of a Knoxville cosmetic surgery clinic that moved from sell, sell, sell – to educating people.

They used the doctor as a face and voice of the clinic to answer weekly questions on YouTube and Facebook then blogging for SEO.

They went a step further creating ebooks for those that didn’t want to post questions publicly. The ebooks were so successful that even competitor clinics wanted to buy them. They then wrote cookbooks for their fans. The book was so good that it was a talking point at Christmas time at Mark’s house (brand recognition and top of mind).

2. Borrow a bigger pipeline. Create sponsored content, do some brandscaping (combining with a brand in a niche you’re targeting) or get newsjacking.

One area that Mark believes will get very interesting (he’s written a book on it) is leveraging Influence marketing – through simple publishing tools and mobile technology, influence is democratised now. Think how powerful Robert Scobleizer.com is or Jamie’s World!

But to succeed in influence marketing you need to remember the content plan and the network plan. HOW WILL IT SPREAD? What’s your share of conversation in your niche?

Mark mentioned a recent conversation with Coke execs and how Coke look to create great content. Content so great, fans will wear it on their shirts, and they will have a majority share of youth culture. As we know, Redbull are of course beating them to it…

Power on the internet is who can move your content (so find a bigger pipeline for your content).

3. Think of content as currency. Is it cool enough that people will feel proud of sharing, is it relevant to their peers or will it make them look smarter.

You’ll share content if by association you look cool.

Mark asks, to really get a feel if you’re into the digital space, as a brand take a napkin and finish this sentence on your own. “Only we…” ITs surprising the insights this gives to what is your niche, what is the message you need to share and to who!

Mark also offered up a great filter for compelling content. R.I.T.E.

  • Relevant 
  • Interesting 
  • Timely
  • Entertaining (the most important)

The key to breaking through the noise is being entertaining. Mark cited Chipotle creating entertainment to sell burritos. See the case study here.

Now to the new 4th age.

Immersion

Which is all about wearables, augmented reality and filters. The future.

In filters, Mark mentioned Zite, which after two years of use is really starting to learn more about the content I like and filter my consumption back to preferred brands, or blogs in my case.

He also talked of Watson at IBM, a supercomputer that is learning and consumes content as fuel. They predict Watson may well be on your wrist in coming years.

Google may not be the source of all info in the future so do we need to optimise to invite people OUT of their filters and to come spend time with our brand.

Understanding and being first movers in content on Wearables and AR will give significant competitive advantage.

The question I’m asking myself is – when there’s a digital layer between us and everything, how do we dominate it? What will digital marketing look like when there no boundaries like cables, screens or WiFi needed?

He believes being entertained and wanting to play will be our focus. Sounds about right.

Finally Marks parting note was –

 Be more human.

A fantastic motto to live by. We buy from people we know and relate to irregardless of digital advancements. We should be switching to ongoing engagement, developing communities of interest and earning loyalty!

Well with many an idea floating around my head now I’m off to brainstorm – What do you think will be the future of digital and social media?

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B2B, social media, Strategy

How can my business keep up with new social media channels?

For many the growth of new social networks, online channels and apps can be hard to keep up with. Worse still is figuring out how to make the most of them in your communications and marketing.

There is a neat clip from an obscure film The 13th Warrior that sums up the best approach to communicating in new networks.

Listen, learn how to communicate and adapt to the community.

But that’s jumping ahead into getting a flavour for community norms. A first step would be to ask is it worth it? Some top level questions I ask about new networks are:

  1. How can this network or channel reach my target audience?
  2. Is there something uniquely different about it, compared to existing networks, that I can take advantage of?
  3. How quickly is it scaling?

There are various other questions I’ll ask about: frictional costs to support a new channel; content requirements and support; and  risks. But the above can give a traffic light view on the initiative.

A channel that have been exploring recently is Snapchat. If I ask the above three questions I get:

  • A large demographic of younger users on this network.
  • Messages that only exist for 10 seconds at the most.
  • User growth that is surpassing Facebook and Twitter at a similar age both globally and here in New Zealand.

At first glance it’s a tool that doesn’t fit with my main online plans. Content marketing is about creating long tail ever green content for clients to find on search engines. Creating content that disappears in seconds sounds totally wrong.   But what it does support is hyper focused moments with your audience. A chance to excite and delight. A chance to have fun.

Snapchat takes you from the real world and into your phone where you’re focused in case you miss what’s happening. With that in mind it was a great tool to connect with students online and drive interactions in real life. At Vodafone we’ve used it so far for orientation weeks at both the Otago and Canterbury University campuses.

While I wouldn’t say it is a large step change from our existing channels, it has allowed us to gather a new targeted audience / following in the local geographic area.

We’re listening and learning for now, adapting our messages as we go.  I’d love to hear of any unique new channels you’re using or hacking of existing ones.

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agilemarketing, content marketing, social media, Strategy

Scaling and measuring social media success

KAIZEN

Reporting on incremental improvements to your marketing and focusing on Kaizen, or continuous improvement, should be top of mind for marketers.

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Kaizen. Ganbatte!

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

Recently I discussed measuring the right thing and establishing KPIs for your digital marketing. Having a clear idea of success and to what degree you have accomplished it will drive you forward. But it is also prudent to review your measurements and their relevance to your business goals regularly.

With a large organisation that has multiple locals, regions and even countries to cover establishing core metrics becomes paramount to quantify improvements. Setting up a central pool of best practice and a guide to your channels is the best way to ensure consistency in the way you measure success. Social media measurement is no exception and it can also ensure you’re prepared for the best and worst case scenarios.

Here are some points you may wish to include in your best practice lists to ensure you’re comparing apples with apples or manzana or Я́блоко. Cross platform, cross country comparisons are possible with the right processes in place. I’ve also included some items to promote brand consistency, legal, security and crisis management.

  • Google Analytics campaign codes and syntax for country or campaign specific tracking for each social network. Or equivalent for your website analytics tool.
  • Preferred posting tool – Hootsuite, Cotweet, Sprout social, Buddy media etc.
    • Define reporting templates.
    • Delegate access through a master account for security.
  • URL shortener if different from above.
  • Preferred monitoring/listening tool and defined reporting templates.
  • Promoted posts protocol.
  • Tone and style guides for imagery, videos and text.
  • Social visual brand guidelines.
  • Templates for infographics.
  • Video intro and outro snippets.
  • Developers notes for meta data (Twitter cards, preview thumbnails etc).
  • Preferred social sharing buttons and provider.
  • PR and social media crisis protocol, plan and contacts.
  • Copyright and licensing database for third part content.
  • Contracts, admin accounts and account managers list for all tools.
  • Additional employment contract amendments for social media.
  • Social Media Strategy summary.
  • Training documents, budgets and contacts.
  • CONTENT calendar and schedule.

Like your KPIs, these best practice documents should be revisited regularly. In a learning organisation they could even be collaborative documents with comments areas to record what works regionally. Any adjustments should be trialled, a/b tested and asserted as the new best practice.

Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments!


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liveblog, social media, Strategy

Rights, Critics, Publishers And Social Media In The Music Industry

Last night I attended my first Social Media focused event here in Auckland. Held by the Social Media Club Auckland called ‘Tweet to the Beat – When Music and Social Media Collide’

The evening had some great cider and pizza pre start and then after a short ‘shiny new thing’ segment covering the website 25mostplayed.com, a very open panel with some interesting music industry figures and experts.

Here’s a quick rundown of my takeaways from the event.

25 most played
A compelling concept that – via Facebook opengraph, an app on your main iTunes mac and a weekly update – lets you share and compare your 25 most played songs with others.

Not that interesting for those with distinct taste, but there was a business element building.

We reviewed lists by those that ‘liked’ a fashion retailer. This could be a great way to pull a play list for your retail outlet that resonates with your clientele right? Also, they’re working on developing check-in facilities. So – if you check into a venue your 25 most could then be added to their playlist.

With genre based filtering to fit the locale, this could mean everywhere plays music you like or close to it.

Aggregators and Curation
25 most played reminded me of the recent news Matt Cutts released about Penguin 2.0 – Google’s wave of updates.

There’s a specific focus there on understanding curation sites like paper.li and scoop.it. I think sites like this will play a larger role in both mechanical aggregation of friends activity, but also as a space for experts to share their opinion. Something Google is also focusing on, understanding people who are an expert in X.

Dean Campbell talked of this a little and the struggles as a reporter to get interviews with some artists. This being a very strong signal of who is influential in an industry. He was the only one to get an official interview with Lorde, New Zealand’s latest teen success story.

Social media is giving more space for everyone to share opinions. We see their relative importance as likes, follows and retweets. Still, there is a large space for industry experts, critics and connected consultants to make or break an artist.

Mystique and scarcity is also a tactic in social media

Scott McLauchlan of Universal and Saiko (who represent Lorde and Mt Eden) spoke of their efforts NOT to share too much about Lorde’s life – which is paying off. It also allows her to be authentic, saves on ghost writers and keeps her fans wanting more.

I can see this tactic working well for luxury brands as well but the mantra of ‘sharing valuable content not just sharing’ works for all digital marketing in my books.

Rights and economies of scale

Fiona Perry and Paul McLaney AKA Gramsci talked of holding onto the rights to your music as a must and that streaming music, and royalties from each play is the future, but it’s still yet to gain critical mass. Also of interest was that the Finns (Crowded House) are probably the only Kiwis to earn enough from iTunes to live off it. And, according to Fiona, the admin and data processing to check all the pips and cents from each streaming sites leaves little in profits.
There seems to be still a stronger focus on big data, technology and standards to allow these streams to be profitable whilst working with the percentages the big labels take ask Spotify.

They also reiterated that Universal, Sony and the other big players with their contacts, scale and marketing will still be needed if you aim to make the big time.
But more and more bands are making money from the gigs, merchandise and appearances along with the music. Sideline ventures bringing in money I guess means they’re keen to get their songs heard and clips watched online to build their brand…

I’ll leave you with a catchy number from Lorde. I’m sure she values the experience, contacts and influence Scott and his team provide.

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agilemarketing, Strategy

Digital Marketing Strategy and The Product Owner’s Vision

Last week I touched on brand storytelling for businesses. Conveying the ‘why’ you are in business – and how you got there – to your target audiences. This ‘why’ for many companies is core to their business internally as well. Not just in their outward facing sales/marketing/recruitment pitch.

Converting that ‘why’ into strategic digital marketing goals is paramount for an affective web presence. Knowing what success looks like enables you to define key metrics to validate success. It can in most cases influence tactical decisions as well. Guiding your design and execution.

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Today we sat in the castle grounds and I’m pretty sure from this shot, even blurred, you can tell it’s a castle. Understanding it’s a castle you know what is needed or entailed in the creation of a good castle. Turrets, fortified, gate, maybe a moat, and 9 times out of 10 made of brick or stone. You also know what you don’t need and potentially after building a few, know what works and what doesn’t.

Product owners and their clear vision

Your strategic goals should have a similar broad stroke definition. They should tell you it’s a castle, but not how to build the windows or the finer details of execution. If your site is about new business generation, it should be highly optimised and proportionately text rich. If it is about sharing images it will have a whole different shape. As a lead in digital marketing or product owner for digital, this story belongs to you.

The vision should be well articulated, regularly, to the team.

The clearer the vision, the easier it is for those working on the website to make decisions and proceed. This also extends to epics, and then individual stories or groupings of work.

The vision and prioritising the most important features to users (internal or end users) means that even for release one your website is providing value to users. Much like the journalists inverted pyramid.

From there the vision will dictate your next iterations and the success of the site.

Today’s podcast

A few extras on evaluating you tactical adjustments and refinements against your core goals.

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