Using Live Video and Stories

Two strong trends have emerged in the social media space recently.  Live video streaming, that allows users to react and comment while watching a live video and Stories, that allow users to create a collection of videos and images which disappear after 24 hours.

Live Video and Stories can be great tools for activation and real-time storytelling or news-jacking.

Both are unique in their functionality, audience and potential uses. Once we’ve explored the mechanics involved let’s see how you  can best use these mediums to reach connections and enhance your brand.

Understanding Live Streaming

With Facebook live being made available to every user in April, the world’s largest social network joined Twitter’s Periscope and gave users the ability to live stream from their phones.

Compared to the separate app and clunky functionality of Twitter, streaming your activities live on Facebook is a relatively seamless process. If you combine the ease of adoption with the much larger user base, and connections – Facebook live becomes a compelling tool to communicate with your friends and followers.

Facebook Prioritising Video And Live Streaming

On top of the larger user base, Facebook’s algorithm (prioritisation) for displaying content to other users, favours live video over and above all other content. They even have a separate priority push notification that you will receive if a friend or brand you follow goes live.

What And Why Would I Live Stream? 

Live stream by nature suits to reaching your audience immediately. Here are a few ways to leverage the medium.

Local event – Streaming the bustling activity of a local fare or fundraising activity could be a great way to get more folks down and participating.  Turn the camera to the scenery around you and let them soak in the action. Of course remembering to value their time, when the action’s over.

Thought leadership – As a business owner you could leverage the channel to highlight your expertise. When legislation changes or something significant happens in the market, live streaming could be a great way to bring your followers up to speed.

Being of service to your customers or followers should always be your first thought when sharing – even on live video. Think would I find this interesting or useful?

Another way to portray thought leadership and be of service to your client could simply be to bring a friend/colleague/expert into the conversation. For example if there was a current forest fire risk in your neighbourhood – bring on a fireman to advise clients on protecting their property.

Team Updates –  As a business owner, an unconventional way to keep your team up to date might be live streaming to a closed Facebook group, you could give insights on the go and your team could catch up later if they missed you live.

Ask me anything or behind the scenes – Two final uses for live streaming could be answering questions from followers or providing a peek into your craft. I would use these sparingly and only when something unique or extraordinary is happening in your career.Remember this is Facebook not ‘bring a colleague to work day’.

A great example is Carlos Burle Brazilian pro surfer, who takes us behind the scenes at Waimea.

For more tips check out Facebook’s own ideas.

Try out personal live streaming

From your home screen there is a simple live button that allows you to:

  1. set up an enticing title, select your audience (Public, friends or a custom group you’ve created.  If you launch the live stream from within a closed group it will also protect those privacy setting as well.)
  2. before clicking go live, select a spot where wind and background noise are at a minimum
  3. clicking the blue go live button commences a three second countdown that you can use to frame yourself or your subjects correctly and to start smiling.

Stream from your Facebook Business Page

By downloading the Facebook Pages Manager app it is also possible to stream you can access the functionality by selecting:

  1. the page you wish to manage
  2. post
  3. choose a title and select which geography and demographics to target
  4. and then clicking go live, which again initiates a three second countdown.

As with all videos once uploaded they feature in your timeline and can be found by others. Remember to remove any videos that are only of relevance for a short time.

 

Instagram Stories

Originating in Snapchat, the ephemeral or short lived stories collections run in contradiction to the rest of the web and dissapear after 24 hours. Historically as marketers and salespeople our web and social media content was created to be of service to our clients, the more content we create, the more they answers a client could find and build affinity with our brand. Now, with Snapchat and Instagram stories, brands can create content in the moment, in a more playful, throw away form.

With almost double the user base or Snapchat, at 400 million (source) Instagram recently added their version of the functionality to its platform.  Instagram has a more mature user base when compared to Snapchat. So if you’re looking long term to build a relationship with millennials then try Snapchat. For a more active group of higher net worth customers – try using Instagram Stories.

Creating your first Story item

From the home screen of your app the add to story icon is top left.

  1. Tapping  the circle icon for an instant snaps a picture onto which you can draw or write (should your picture not speak the right 1000 words). Your drawing or words can then be moved around the screen and positioned.
  2. Holding the circle icon with record video for as long as you hold the icon, release the icon and the upload arrow is ready to add the recorded video to your story.

 How to leverage Stories? 

Stories could allow you to give insights into what it would be like for a client to work with you. Take the story beyond you just doing your job but the extra mile you go to ensure excellence. Be of service to your clients with a handy tip.

You could also use it to alert your followers of other longer format content – a new blog post or longer video, maybe even a live streaming event on Facebook.

@garyvee Owner and instigator of Winelibrary.tv and the social media agency Vaynermedia uses his Stories to alert followers of his latest motivational videos – linking to his DailyVee updates in his bio.

Showcase your customers and celebrate their wins and if there’s something topical in the new relevant to your client’s give them a quick update.

I’m sure there’s a whole lot more useful techniques for brands on Instagram Stories but for a few more ideas check out this article from buffer, with a list of inspirational users to follow.
My top pick for instant work stories jealousy –  @chrisburkard who shows behind the scenes footage of his landscape photography.

Stop The Nontent – Create Epic Content

turn your nontent into great content - Value your tribe

You, as a member of my tribe intimidate me. I’m scared into not posting, through fear of as my friend AJ puts it – posting NONTENT. You know, that: meh, blah, filler, “like or share if you agree” type content. I need our connection and the learning I get from consuming your content. I want to share value to get value.

But it struck me. That is the exact message I want to give this week.

Create Epic Value And Give It Away

As many will know by now the rationale behind inbound or content marketing is to create content that answers questions that potential customers may have. In essence you are aiming to be the subject matter expert for your product, industry and niche. The main aim being to subscribe them to a content journey that ultimately converts them to purchase or partner with your brand.

The byproduct of creating answers to questions your customers may have is a bank of SEO rich pages for Google to index. If you are checking the terms people use to find your website, and using Google’s keyword planner (or other optimisation tools), over time this bank of content should ultimately help push you up the SERPs. Getting you closer to number one in Google.

The trouble now, more than ever, is that we are all creating content and competing for eyeballs. Facebook and Twitter are overloaded, YouTube is flooded, even the TV has far too many channels for us to watch. We need to go beyond just answering problems to actively adding value with our content.

One answer is to create unique audience specific content – go niche.

One great example of giving away useful content is the website www.backofanapkin.co.nz created by Sacha Judd of the law firm Buddle Findlay.

Back of a napkin - a startup tool

The website, aimed at start-ups, provides a boilerplate company document. It outlines the main points of a company’s structure to ensure its is documented – covering things like: the parties involved, who gets what share of ownership, who gets what profits and how decisions are made.

Lightly branded with a Buddle Findlay letterhead, it’s a valuable tool for startups and connects them with a community.

I also made a little form last year to help people conduct a Digital and Social Media audit. It is designed to help small businesses check that they are on the right path and to develop a short roadmap to getting their digital presence right. I hope it has some value for a small business looking to get their online profile right.

Even though it is in essence the exact same strategy I would use with a multinational company or personal brand – it’s ingredients. It’s not the mix, nor the exact methods i’d use to bake my online cake. Hopefully it entices a few more people to check me out as a potential chef. Digital marketing chef that is.

Although that epic piece of valuable content can be related to your core business it could equally be about a unique technique, skills or knowledge you have developed. Brett Kelly was an avid user of Evernote – so much so that he decided to create Evernote Essentials a book that sold 16000 copies. This ultimately led to him being employed by Evernote.

Here are a few others that have already gotten in on the game:

  • John Deer with their Furrow Magazine
  • Adobe with CMO.com
  • Lego with The Lego Club Magazine
  • Copyblogger.com
  • American Express Open Forum
  • Entrepreneur on fire

So my challenge to you is to take what you think is IP – Intellectual Property and turn it into something VIP – Valuable Interesting and Popular.

6 Awesome Ways to Rejuvenate Old Content on Your Blog

Ways to repurpose your old blog content

There is one thing that Google and its assorted trawling bots love, and that is fresh content. If that fresh content is also linked from established websites, then Google has every reason to believe the content is quite good, assumes it has some kudos, and will rank it higher.

This, of course, is brilliant good for the content creator, and the website where the content is housed. Fresh content is the key to this process – the oil that keeps the engine running if you like – and is critical in a healthy inbound marketing strategy.

But often, creating bespoke singular content is an expensive process. So how do you get the most out of new content?  Hopefully this blog will go some way to identifying new content opportunities from old or existing content:

 

1. Switch the format up

As an example – if you’ve run surveys of your clients or market then reformat them. Oh and tweak for SEO as you go. Here’s some options:

  • Video summary of the findings to YouTube
  • Press release
  • Segment the full report – show industry cuts
  • Social media sharing of research nuggets. Social Media B2B do this very well embedding tweetable nuggets into an article. Like this article on content marketing stats.
  • Create an infographic from the summary
  • More social media sharing and discussion
  • Micro poll your users as to if the results still stand true
  • Publish results from the micro poll

2. The Friday roundup / in depth piece

Give followers a lean-back post to digest on Saturday or Sunday. Branding Magazine sends out a summary listing of their hot posts of the previous five days. Good for those relaxing on a Saturday morning with bacon and coffee. In contrast to a round up – the economist has a lean back section for a more in depth read on existing topics and themes.

3. Get all analytical

Find out which of your posts were the most popular in terms of traffic from various search terms. Promote them on social media.  Rework those that are off target.

Use Topsy to compare trending hashtags, or trending phrases and really target your next article.

4. Think of your old posts

Continuing the analytics theme – give your old posts will little traffic a tweet or a share if there’s something relevant in the news related to that post. Use this one sparingly though as it could annoy your close followers. And tailor it to each audience!

If your blog is on WordPress, you may even want to consider the plugin Tweet Old Post which will automate it for you.

5. Newsjack

Your products or services might not be famous yet but helping out someone in a broadcasted bad situation can be powerful content. Oakley sent a new model of sunglasses to those leaving the Chilean mines a few years back – it was global news and everybody saw it. It gave others the chance to create loads of content around them.

It could also be a way to reassure your clients that this won’t happen to them – like password protection. A great example of newsjackking was Lastpass providing a tool to check if your LinkedIn password was stolen. They re-purpose this piece each and every time a new website is hacked or comes to the limelight for security breaches.

 

6. Croudsource an article from your comments area

I love when people point out an idea you’ve missed on a comments section from another article or blog. Use those ideas and expand on them in another post.

Your Turn

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments section. I’d love to create another post!

Driveway moments – how podcasts capture listeners in a content-laden world

With so much digital content competing for our attention in multiple social networks how do brands connect with their audience. What is the key?

In this era of disposable content, memes, vines, snaps, whispers, secrets and now ‘YO‘s, many brands are swinging to the polar extreme to keep users attention and to keep them interested. Thankfully there’s light at the end of the tunnel, in fact it’s an illuminated journey.

White shelters / \ #convergence

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There is a resurgence of long format content and a lot of it is supported by rich media like interactive graphics, videos and podcasts.

With a relatively short bus commute as part of my morning journey I have been consuming a lot of podcasts. Although not as rich as video, the format means I can tune in with a single sense and still go about my morning/evening commute and not feel too guiltily about mobile data charges. It’s a format that thanks to Soundcloud is simple to do with your phone, laptop or iPad.

A number of the podcasts I subscribe to really bring a rich narrative to their existing blog posts and or a closer look at a topic. Often, hearing about something is also a lot easier to digest than reading about it.

The luxury of a podcast is that you can compile segments as and when you get time. You have time to form a holistic narrative and unlike with video you don’t have to worry too much about matching sections, cutting intros and outros etc. There’s no other conflicting posts. Scheduled news, announcements and down time messages don’t interrupt it – you can focus on a singular message, or two.
The art is in creating enough value and keeping users entertained, hopefully creating a driveway moment.

What’s a Driveway Moment?

Hopefully I’ve encouraged you, if only just a little, to think about podcasts and consider them in your digital mix. If not, then maybe this list and their inspiring long standing podcasts will help.

Here are 5 exemplary podcasts that I find really interesting. Their topics challenge and I think improve my digital marketing knowledge, and help me grow. I’m on a journey too.

99percentinvisible.org
I have a lot of time for @romanmars and the crew at 99percent. Their mixture of informative and eclectic topics has me hooked and I get excited when their latest release appears in my soundcloud feed. Covering everything from walled cities to shoe design and the Chrysler vs Empire State building feud.

thewebpsychologist.com
Nathalie Nahai is the Nigella Lawson of the web theory, UX and UI design space. Her sultry voice and the amazing guests she has talking all things digital come psychology are awesome.

cc-chapman.com
C C picks me up and motivates me. He’s all about doing the right work and valuing connections. He’s also the source of my favourite content marketing quote. The miniskirt philosophy for content: Long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep it interesting.

forimmediaterelease.biz
Although a long listen The Hobson & Holtz report is digital from a PR perspective. Two very smart minds from either side of the Atlantic cover the latest developments in the digital and online space. Seeing a UK and USA perspective in one is insightful.

newrainmaker.com
Brian Clark of @copyblogger fame also talks of the Hero’s Journey and explains well why we should not be social sharecropping – building your digital home base on land you don’t own.

I’d love to hear what podcasts you like or your Soundcloud / iTunes address so we can connect!

Three pillars to a great online presence

Western Architecture Principles

Yesterday I visited New Zealand’s first 6 Green Star Office – Geyser, in Auckland.

Visited Patterson Architects' Geyser user green building. Nice courtyard!

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Geyser is created as 6 separate parts with courtyards to let natural light into each area. It has a thermal chimney façade that heats and cools the building. It does this by circulating fresh air through an outer layer that can open and close in response to the ambient temperature. It has a rainwater collection system and an automated “stacker” car park that make use of the limited space underneath the building. In all an impressive building and in my eyes – it looks wonderful.

The building and its architect think of a wider audience than just tenants, addressing how it fits and improves the lives of the community around it.

What does this have to do with digital and online marketing – or social networks for that matter?

Last night I watched the architect Andrew Patterson talk a little bit more about the project as part of his TEDx presentation. He talked of the origins of Western Architecture Principles and how his buildings embody them.

These principles form a tripod that supports great architecture and I would argue serve well as points for a good online presence.
Western Architecture Principles

Attitude – Utilitas – fit for purpose

Use the right tools for the right job.

  • Customers or clients should immediately see how your website brings them value and meets their needs. Make it all about them.
  • When creating a new website have clear goals around the user experience and what you ultimately want to accomplish. Strip out distractions and ambiguity in user journeys.
  • If you want to blog, install a blogging platform. Don’t hack your content management system (CMS) or retrofit a forum as a workaround. If you want to sell things online implement a fully fledged eCommerce platform or leverage one run by experts in that area.
  • Use a CMS that befits the scale of your website and ensure you support it with adequate hardware. WordPress is fine for blogging but not for running Amazon or eBay. End users are the main focus of a website, but a good architect and web build thinks of longevity and maintenance as well.
  • Know your audience on each social network you use. Covering live events is Twitter’s space and photography looks fantastic on Google plus for example.

Concept – Firmitas – permanency

  • Single page websites or empty websites don’t instil confidence. Show that your website is robust and in for the long haul.
  • Ensure you have depth of content, products and services on your website and a stream of future content ready for the first few months. Content that addresses as many buyer personas and stages of the purchase cycle as possible.
  • If you’re building a community consider renting a crowd or launching in beta. Yelp, before launching in a new country, hire people to rate and recommend local businesses. That way the first real users see value from day one in being part of the community.

Communication – Venustas – as beautiful as the natural world

  • The concept for a building is that it should delight more than the natural world it is taking away. This isn’t a push to Skeuomorph design, rather that your website should be a delight to use.
  • If you can purchase online it should be super simple, far less stressful than standing at a counter waiting.
  • Time spent in your networks should delight more than competing TV channels and offline experiences.
  • Your audience should be excited to see your next alert, push notification or email in their inbox because it’s providing value they don’t get elsewhere. That value may be insights or knowledge to make their lives better but could equally be entertainment.

The combination of these three pillars should always support the end goal of delighting your audiences. Be they clients, employees or the community.

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

Tried,tired and true a dangerous combination?

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.

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.

Kaizen. Ganbatte!

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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!


Are you listening brands? Really listening?

Customers are communicating. are we listening?

As marketing makes a slow progression from campaign based messaging to constant engagement in social media via mobile devices – we need to revisit our communication techniques.

Social is bringing us back to one-to-one communcation. People can now talk to people as faces of a brand. We can get resolution and great customer service from a mere tweet. Heck even two years ago Four Season Palo Alto set the bar for customer service on social media and (some) brands have kicked it up a level from there already.

And maybe they are being selective – responding to customers based on their status/connections/influence – but they’re listening and responding.

Monitor you brand mentions for free, at least!

Google alerts are a great first step for any brand to monitor brand mentions and what people are saying. socialmention.com lets you take it a little further and can also give you sentiment analysis. Get Agile! These alerts can give you a window on potentially sensitive news, disgruntled clients and maybe opportunities to take advantage of in your sector. News jacking when done right is highly effective.

Yet anyone who has featured on Interbrands top brands list or has thousands of engaged fans on Facebook MUST start thinking about Radian 6, Brandwatch, SM2 (more info on social media monitoring) or Sysomos. Tools that index and record every mention and can filter share of voice on topics and rank influencers. With these tools you can also build out a picture and backlog of issues, pain points, problems and hopefully delights your customers are mentioning. Understanding and prioritising these for action in terms of research and development is the goal of many big data buffs.

For us as marketers

  • we have feedback on our messages
  • we have topics for blogging
  • we can mitigate issues and educate the confused
  • we have data to support our strategy and formulate tactics

Listening to comments online ensures content marketing resonates.

Providing content, entertainment, news, information and services that have percieved value to our customers will keep them engaged and build their afinity with our brands. We’re becoming their favorite TV show or news source but instead of just broadcasting we can listen and make an informed response.

Bloomberg thinks ‘Jeff Bezos Can Make Newspapers Profitable’ – http://bloom.bg/197BN1Y
My take is that this is an aquire-hire. He’s gearing up for the future and brand journalism. Jeff knows we want more from our brands than their product or service.

Content marketing can also build a valuable resource of information on getting the most out of our products and services. Amassing a wealth of valuable information on a variety of topics means potential clients will find you first on Google. It promotes self service and lowers the dreaded reliance on automated phone customer services. “Press one, if you’re already more irate hearing this message”. Although they’re ‘recorded for training purposes’ I CAN’T GOOGLE THEM!

But getting back to listening, we need to find the correct balance between one-to-one responses and providing value to as many customers as possible.

We can prioritise a backlog and calendar of maketing communications. One that addresses them at each stage of the customer journey and their hottest topics. Continuous communication that ultimately adds value to our customers, stakeholders, partners and community.


5 sources of innovation for your digital marketing

Now as a digital marketer or online marketing specialist, there’s a lot of innovations I need to keep up with.

There are technical updates in the various fields of the role: SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, PR, email marketing and mobile marketing that I need to monitor so that I’m optimising and measuring efforts correctly.

But beyond that, how can you keep a competitive advantage in the online space?

Can we look at different perspectives, emulating competitors, extrapolating on someone else’s technique? Here’s some options you might wish to explore.

Reflecting. Still Sunday in NZ

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  1. I’m starting to think more seriously about my photography and one method I use to create new shots is to emulate a technique that someone has used on a totally different subject. Maybe there’s methods that you use in web development that could help your content marketing?
  2. Attend a conference but look outside your industry when choosing break out sessions. If you market to consumers throw a B2B presentation into your mix. Very rarely will a competitor share the big secret to their online marketing, but someone in a different industry might.
  3. Learn a language or switch continent. I google a topic in Spanish and Portuguese to see if there’s experts there that are doing things differently. Sure, most of the SEO and PPC innovation comes from the US, but there’s quite a few Chilean and Brazilian startups doing innovative stuff in the Mobile and location (checking into locations) space.
  4. Think about external sources for your content like your supplier or resellers. Ozone Coffee Roasters tell their suppliers back story very well. Discussing suppliers can often lead to great long tail SEO.
  5. In your A/B testing, do something counterintuitive occasionally. OK, I’m not saying do something that will alienate your customers completely, but try sending out a new article at 8pm instead of 8am, just to see…

These are some of the ways I innovate. What do you do to keep ahead?


Some thoughts on different perspectives and using tactics from other specialities or industries to spice things up.

Getting personal with Buyer Personas

Big data and understanding customer sentiment has been a buzzword for the last few years. Garnering insights and adapting your proposition to suit has been taken to a new levels as we learn to crunch big data sets.

Conversely, running qualitative surveys with clients (enough to be statistically valid) can give valuable, actionable insights.

The trick is conveying these insights in a format that is accessible across the organisation.
Buyer personas are a fantastic tool for combining these qualitative insights, social data, CRM records and basic demographics, into a high level summary.

Having a clear idea of your average customer, you can then move on to the best ways to align your product or service to them.

Typically they will define

  1. Priorities
  2. Success and what it looks like to them
  3. Barriers or things stopping them going with your solution or product
  4. Buying process
  5. Decision criteria.

These personas can then be put to great use when working on marketing user stories and creating solutions to their pain points. They’re fantastic for defining content marketing themes and priorities, allocating expenditure on marketing content and the focus across paid, earned and owned media.

They can also help product owners prioritise backlogs and support their prioritisation – when confronting conflicting interests with internal stakeholders.

In fact, the Buyer Persona Institute (yes it even has it’s own movement) marks – internal preconceptions and guesstimates of what the typical client is – as the biggest hinderance to creating successful buyer personas. Basing the personas on concrete factual input from actual client surveys and interviews is key.

For those daunted by the task of creating these very user centric profiles and negotiating internal stakeholders, remember – we do it every day. I noted on Sunday that we all subconsciously create immensely detailed buyer personas. When we make new friends, go on dates or get to know new colleagues, banking what makes them tick and the best approach to resonate.

Social CRM
Moving beyond the buyer persona, I can’t help but feel that social CRM will allow us to have highly detailed buyer profiles. Not just personas, but detailed dashboards of each buyer or customers interaction with our brand, their sentiment for our industry and peripheral products on social networks and even their purchases, buying habits and triggers.

At a macro level – aggregating these could provide a realtime singular buyer persona or multiple profiles. A daily dashboard to drive strategy and the direction of the company.

At a micro level – the trick will be up-skilling as an organisation to know how best to use this data. Finding the balance with your customers between stalky big brother-ish and delighting interactions and touch points.