The Biggest Mistake Made On Social Media

social media, social media marketing, social media statistics, Uncatergorized

One of the biggest mistakes I see almost every company making on social media, especially Instagram and Facebook, is treating these networking platforms like they are a place to showcase their work without interacting with potential customers and clients.

Most brand managers and business owners will spend too much time worrying about what to post and too little time liking, commenting and sharing on other people’s posts. They treat social media like it’s a one way street and a platform to show off, rather than a place to genuinely connect with new clients and customers.

Think of it this way. If you were going to go to a cocktail party (think of Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. like a cocktail party), and you were going to talk about yourself the entire time (only posting), people would get completely turned off.

You must spend equal amounts of time posting and interacting with your followers and those that don’t follow you yet.   Spend an hour or so a day discovering new content and teach out to customers and clients that are like yours and start liking, commenting (in real full sentences) and sharing their posts. Then watch how fast you build a following.

How does this work? Everyone loves to see a new notification with a comment on their post. What is the first thing you do when you see that comment? You read it and find out who did the posting.  This act of “discovery” is a surefire way to building a real, true and authentic account.

Need help with your social media strategy? Reach out via email at hello@mj.works and follow me @madelinemariejohnson on Instagram.

6 Rules to Make Sure Your Marketing Messages Don’t Smell Like Spam

Email Marketing, marketing demographics, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, Marketing Strategy, Measureable Marketing, Uncatergorized
Nobody wants to spam their customers, but most do it anyway.  Spam isn’t just about the quantity of emails and marketing you do you. It’s also about the quality.

Rule 1

Make a promise to yourself to never underestimate the intelligence of your customer or client. People are much smarter than you give them credit for and every time you send them an email or lead them down a drip campaign that smells like spam, you lose any form of trust that you were hoping to get.
When you are building a business, trust is everything.

Follow these surefire ways to build trust with your future customers.

Rule 2

Marketing messages that over promise and under deliver and sound too good to be true not only smell like spam, they taste like it too.  Keep your claims and benefits realistic and believable.

Rule 3

So don’t use unnecessary words to describe your product or service. It’s better to describe what your offer is in a more clear and precise way than to add on adjectives that lose their meaning. Another benefit of writing concise copy – it can be read and understood faster and easier.

Rule 4

Speaking of wasting another’s time, that is exactly what spamming does. If your email or landing page copy takes more than a minute to read or watch you have wasted everyone’s time. Get to the point as soon as you can. People are smarter than you think and don’t enjoy being lead down a long, boring sales funnel.

Rule 5

Especially if you are trying to put a squeeze on their decision making. People are on to your tactics and they aren’t going to buy into your limited time only offer. Knock it off. If they are looking for what you are selling and you have a superior product, they’ll buy it. No need to put the squeeze play on. It’s a total turn off.

Rule 6

Please price your products competitively. The more time it takes to understand how much you want for that product or service you are selling the more frustrated your customer will become. Be upfront and make sure your price is sensitive to competitive pricing. If it’s higher, be prepared to explain why and if it’s too low, you risk looking like a cheaper and lower value offer.

Would you like me to review your marketing messages? Drop me a link at hello@mj.works  – I am happy to connect.

 

Best Practices for Consumer Engagement 2015

2015 trends, Brand Awareness, brand management, customer loyalty, Engaging Customer Service, Experiential Marketing, future of marketing

content-and-social-media

7 Things to Know Before Engaging with Your Customers

1. Customers are smart and they have a wealth of Google-able knowledge at their finger tips.

When engaging with them, give them crystal clear, honest and transparent feedback. 

2. Consumers are cynical, skeptical and have no fear posting or sharing their dissatisfaction.

Aim to educate, enlighten and inspire without spamming or turning them off with too much “marketing”. Try a tone that is humble, friendly yet confident about your unique value proposition.

3. They want answers quickly. In a fast-information world, we must respond quickly and swiftly to avoid a crisis, because information can be shared at the click of a mouse or press of a button.

In a 24/7 world of communication answer customer emails and Facebook questions everyday. Don’t make them wait.

4. Customers go to friends, family and other customers for information. It’s not easy to “interrupt” that conversation, especially when what they are sharing is misinformation.

According to Shoutlet, a social listening research firm claims 95% of millennials say that their friends are the most credible source of product information.

Do your best to gently bring them sources of information that they can trust. Building trust is the best thing you can do when connecting with your consumers. 

5. Consumers don’t trust branded content. Especially advertised branded content. Especially blatant “spammy” content.

As a brand you have to be very careful how you speak to consumers or you will turn them off. Review copy and messaging to make sure you aren’t just “selling” product but sparking a conversation and answering their questions.  

6. Consumers want to keep it simple. Your messages must be simple and easier to understand and important to them.

7. You also need to be exactly where they are, when they want you. On their phones, tablets and at every point-of-purchase. Preferably with a great offer. Convenience is everything. If you haven’t seen Dash from Amazon, check it out now.  https://fresh.amazon.com/dash/

device-amazon-dashAmazon Dash. Just brilliant.

How to Build a Trustworthy Brand

Brand Awareness, brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Experiential Marketing, experiential retail

I had the opportunity to study and interview one of my client’s product demonstrations this past Monday during a Whole Foods in-store event. Call it experiential marketing for the organic & natural seeking consumer.

My assignment – discover how we can make the program even stronger. What tools should we supply these brand ambassadors with? How can we help them inspire and sell more?

This client peddles chemical-free hair color. I do a lot for them – including the creation of a beautiful new website.

It was just pouring outside. Bad weather had me cautiously driving slick roads thinking – low turn out, it’s going to be a bust, the store will be dead. Wrong.

Whole Foods was jammed, a cart-to-cart race around the fresh organic avocados and shiitake mushrooms. Thought to self: It’s Monday at 11 am EST, don’t these people have jobs?

Armed with new surveys, email sign ups and a beautifully wrapped raffle giveaway to inspire shoppers to hand over their emails and opt in to our monthly marketing offers, I was ready to take these demonstrations to the next level of branding and sales success.

When Branding becomes a Blemish on your UVP

I watched the demonstrator set up her table and she just blew my mind when she whipped out a home-made before and after photo of her own hair with her new healthy color. This is her show and tell to help sell my client’s hair color?

Two amateur photos, printed at CVS and glued on a piece of faded and slightly torn sheet of construction paper with the words “before and after” scribbled underneath. I was stunned.

Now my first thought was – add that to our graphics needs list, but the demonstrator insisted that customers just loved it. They believed the before and after because it was her own photo. It was convincing, not some “branded bullsh$@!

I gather the notion of making every single marketing message polished, perfect and PhotoShop-ed – is just not always the way to play it. Customers are so incredibly skeptical. Ready to shoot you down.

While I really don’t like “studies” and know that most statistics fall prey to confirmation bias, there has been  recent research on just how skeptical consumers have become.

The true challenge of marketing is how to make your mark without burning your brand. How to get customers to trust and believe you before they layout their hard earned cash.

 

Marketing Secrets. A Look at Conversion.

advertising on smartphones, Brand Awareness, digital advertising, Email Marketing, Experiential Marketing, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, Marketing Metrics, marketing plans, marketing rituals, target marketing, web advertising, website design

brainBefore I begin, I must stress that the most effective marketing secret is in remaining “remarkable” @thisissethsblog Why remarkable? Because it really is about creating an amazingly valuable product or service that people just can’t live without. There may not even be a need for marketing. Well unless you have a really bad website. Than you need some help. But if your product is super wonderful, especially when people want to know – where’d you get that? Then you are #mydreamclient

For the rest of the world, marketing comes in handy and increasingly so on the internet.

Statistics vary from source-to-source, but the conversion rates to follow in this post are closer to the truth than what most digital agencies quote.  The purpose of this post is to relate what is most effective when it comes to spending your marketing dollars.

In 2016, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach 1.92 trillion US dollars. This year alone, 1.22 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online. (Conversioner.com)

While Gartner Research claims that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships with brands without ever talking to a human because of rapid growth of “marketing automation”, this post is a review of current conversation rates for some of the most popular methods of inbound marketing conducted by mere humans.

It’s important to understand the difference between a CTR (click through rate) which happens during the customer’s discovery and journey and which refers to the percentage of visitors clicking on your online ad or blog post/video link. Divide the number of impressions (people who saw your content) received by the number of clicks to get the CTR. For example if a blog post had 100 shares and two people clicked on something in it, the rate would be 2%.

For this post a conversion rate measures the percentage of your website visitors who actually purchase something from you. Conversion rate measures the number of sales you’ve received, just divide the number of sales by the number of visitors you have had to your website. Focusing on the ultimate user experience, while optimizing the conversion rate on your website is extremely important and an entirely different topic. For this post we were interested in learning which marketing activities attract the highest chances of conversion.

According to Forrester Research the average conversion rates across marketing activities are about 2.9%, while it’s also interesting to note that the average online order value in the first quarter of 2014 in the US was $78.00.

According to Conversioner.com 80% of the online population has purchased something using the internet and 50% have purchased more than once while 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media site for recommendations before shopping.

Email Marketing

Some interesting findings.

  • Personalized emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Aberdeen Group)
  • Using the word “Secret” in the subject line of your email has proven to get the most clicks. (Hubspot). While “Click Here” gets the highest percentage of clicks over “Go” and “Submit”.
  •  65% of consumers prefer emails that contain mostly images vs 35% who prefer mostly text. (Hubspot).
  •  According to Conversioner.com email marketing is the most converting traffic source with 3.3% conversion rate.

Social Media Marketing

So what does a Facebook business page or Instagram account really mean to your bottom line?

  • 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring the return on investment as their main source of frustration in social marketing. It really makes you wonder about all the work it took to get those 1K + likes on Instagram, doesn’t it?
  • In 2014 Conversioner.com reported an average conversion rate of 1.08% through social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.
  • According to a blog post by Marc Macdonald on Shopify.com Facebook dominates as a source of traffic and sales with a 1.85% conversion rate and an average of 85% of all orders from social media belong to Facebook. So less than two people out of 100 are actually going to buy anything from you.

You see Facebook and basically all social media are good tools for market research, customer service and customer feedback. Not sales.

Search Engine Optimization

  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (like direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (Search Engine Journal).
  • A search for a product had an average 2.27% conversion rate for online US Shoppers in 2014. By referrer, Google had a 1.71% conversion rate in 2013 according to Smartinsights.com

Content Marketing

  • Marketers who have prioritized content creation and curation (ie. a brand blog) are 13x more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
  • Content marketing generates 3 x as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less (Demand Metric)
  • The top three most widely adopted content marketing tactics are videos (87%), website articles (86%) and in person events.
  • 79% of companies that have a blog have reported a positive ROI for inbound marketing in 2013. (HubSpot State of Inbound 2013).
  • It’s interesting to note that 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video and videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click through than plain-text results. When optimizing for universal search, pay attention to keyword intent and be sure to use informational keywords vs transactional words.

Referral Marketing

The trust factor becomes important with referral marketing as consumers rely on recommendations from people they know. According to a Neilson Trust Study, word-of-mouth referrals are the most trusted form of “marketing”, while editorial content, a mention or feature story in a magazine or newspaper fell behind a great branded website and online reviews.

Make it easy for customers to refer your products and services and be sure to respond to online reviews for engagement. Shopify has a number of great app recommendations to help referrals including Referral Candy, Friendybuy, LoyaltyLion and Referrify.

Paid Search

It depends on what you read, but the average click-through rate for paid search in 2010 worldwide was 2% (Convario Jan 2011) and in 2014 about 3.58% for shopping, 6.12% for banking, insurance and finance, 1.45% for the travel industry, 2.21% for home and garden and 4.79% for computers and technology.

Mobile Advertising

While about 8% of purchases come from desktops with a tablet purchase close behind, only 4% of purchases are made from a smart phone. But don’t you worry, that is growing. Thousands of blog posts will tell you so. In the meantime, there is a lot of mobile frustration, as potential customers complain of difficulty viewing product information, a challenge comparing product features and costs to others and slow connection speed as just a few of the setbacks to purchasing on their phones.

Affiliate Marketing

Conversions by affiliates have the highest order value with an average of $445.00 per sales order according to Hubspot and online surveys demonstrate a 1-3% conversion rate for affiliate marketing.

While we continue to study what marketing activities are worthwhile and actually lead to sales and have a return on investment when it comes to building a business, we agree with Seth Godin. “Being the best in the world is seriously underrated.”

Microvideos: Get On Board or Get Lost at Sea

brand management, brand reputation, building brand trust, Micro Video Blogging, Microvideos, PR Agency, press liaison, social media marketing, Star Powered PR

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Microvideos are taking the social media helm and these bite-sized bits of entertaining videos are popping up everywhere. Sharing streamlined messages of hyper-edited audio-visuals to a growing number of viewers has become standard. What started with Vine (6-second looping videos) has ended with the growth of competitors; Instagram video (15 seconds), MixBit (16 seconds), Tumblr GIFs (short animated images) and a flood of imitators.

In a world where immediacy, convenience and short attention spans are omnipresent, its imminent to jump on the microvideo bandwagon and continue to story tell your brand.

smoke-vine1

How to get started?  Weave microvideos into your social media campaigns and embed them in emails. Embrace the power of the microvideo and make your social media come alive.

 1. Compelling Content – Whether its comedic, artistic or a fast sequence of DIY steps, make every second count. The concept in its entirety must persuade viewers. Create a video you yourself would re-post. Referencing the rise of the micro video, Forbes’ article, The Top 7 Social Media Marketing  Trends Dominating 2014,” explores the success of Saatchi’s anti-smoking campaign, reaping over 50,000 likes and  26,000 re-Vines within the ad’s first week. According to UK’s Marketing Magazine because these short films are at present, push mediums, the content must be entertaining, informative or intriguing.

 2. Homegrown VS. Outsourced  On a budget and feel you have the creative eye in-house? Use one  of Scientific American’s recommended 12 Microvideo Apps. From free apps like Viddy to Snapchat coupled with smart phone high quality technology, these short clips could be done in the luxury of your own workplace. If you want to leave it in the hands of the professionals, consult sites Behance or Le Book. At MJMPR, we recommend NYC-based film production companies Legs Media and Matte Projects to realize your microvideo dreams.

3. More Brand Reach – If users avoid ads like the plague on YouTube and Facebook than microvideos are the holy grail of marketing. They offer less commitment from the viewer than traditional online video. Microvideos are short and therefore, brands must select simple visual cues that make the brand transparent from the start. Short snips actually share more.

4. Need ideas on what to Film and Edit?- How about a quick how-to about your product or service or a series of product tutorials? Maybe a time-lapse video of your brand’s evolution. Launching a new product? We recommend a brief company announcement. Take your iPhone or Android for a fast video around company headquarters. From filming the manufacturing process of your best seller to video teasers for upcoming events, the possibilities are infinite. Mashable shares the top 4 hot apps for microvideo blogging; Keek, Tout, Klip and Viddy, while each varies, they all specialize in editing and sharing short videos.

5. Share, Share, Share – According to a recent Marketing Profs article, video integrated emails will massively increase user click-through rate. After its creation, the short clip can be  cross-promoted seamlessly through all social media platforms including emails. If it’s got the creative grit, who knows maybe it will go viral. Tweet it. Gram it. Facebook it. Vine it. Tumble it. 

Social Media Statistics 2014 – The Power of Pinterest

Facebook insight, instagram insight, pinterest insight, social media marketing, social media statistics

social-platformsUnderstanding how your top, most valuable, customers are using social media can help you understand how to promote your brand more effectively. These valuable customers, the top 15-20%,  are worth more than the bottom 50% of your customers collectively. Treat them well.

In March 2014 Experian Marketing reported that social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc) accounted for 7.72% of referrals to retail sites. This is up from 2013 and when it comes to sales conversions, Pinterest users are the most valuable. Research shows that 80% of Pinterest users are women and still active after four years of pinning their wish lists and dream vacations to their boards.

Instagram hosts the highest engagement level, with reports showing up to 15 times that of Facebook. Want even more shares? Studies show that photos with blue tones are shared most. Interesting.

Consumers use Twitter for speedy customer service, while expecting brands to act rapidly to complaints. How fast? Within the hour.

Looking for higher engagement on Facebook? Video posts on Friday will increase feedback and shares up to 25%.

Brands looking to reward loyal customers and lure in new fans must understand how consumers are tuning in to a multichannel social world.

Need help with your social media platforms? Send us a tweet @marketcouncil

The Customer is #1

brand reputation, building brand trust, PR Agency, social media marketing, Star Powered PR

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When building a brand, it’s vital to reflect what is in the best interest of your core existence; the customer. They are the fuel to your fire and without them let’s face it, you wouldn’t be here. The question often surfaces, how do you leverage your social media to have customer influence and therefore, maximize retention and purchases?

A good place to start is knowing your customer inside and out. Discover their likes, dislikes, behavior and why they chose to be loyal to you rather than others. Answer customer FAQs via Facebook and Twitter. Stimulate them with riveting visuals on Instagram and Pinterest. Avoid trying to use your social media platforms solely to push your product. Be an interactive exchange, champion their interests and cravings by discovering their outside wanderings independent of your brand.

With such an overwhelming presence of digital and physical advertising tailored in emails and creeping in every breathable space, customers are seeking authentic, conscious and engaging brands. At MJMPR, we place our client’s customers needs at the forefront of our initiatives. For our client Surya Brasil, we understand our customers are environmentally conscious, anti-animal cruelty with a need for natural, all-organic lifestyle products. In inspiring them, we share the best all-vegan restaurants in local cities and DIY at-home projects using renewable and recycle materials. Customers are like friends, act like one and you could be friends forever.  

How to Reign Supreme on Social Media

Brand Awareness, brand reputation, building brand trust, Cool Branding, future of marketing, online marketing, social media marketing, Star Powered PR, Successful Networking

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1. Curate Valuable Content  Content that inspires, amuses, (even a good laugh goes a long way) informs or assists people. If it doesn’t have an instrumental purpose, trash it. Remember it’s not how much you post but how good you post. 

2. Once a Day Just Isn’t Enough  Imagine NPR, CNN, ESPN or BBC only reported once a day – and failed to repeat and cross-promote reports? Post away – all day and night. Yes, you will piss some people off but that will happen anyway.

3. Get Creative – It can’t be said enough how generic and easily anticipated the caliber of Instagram and social media posts have become. The ability to stand out has become that of a science. Think of your social media as a gallery, curate effectively.

4. Let’s Get Visual – According to Citrix, nearly “half of all users have reposted a photo or video they have found online” while 63% of Social Media is composed of images. Targeting a youth culture with an appetite for pictures and distaste for traditional paragraph-styled articles may be a tricky one (Hence, the laundry list phenomenon pioneered by Buzzfeed). Think: images are bait and content is the catch. 

5. No Pushing – Your followers don’t want to feel they are being pushed products 24-7-365 (at least, not explicitly). A brand’s voice should remain authentic and ring true. Your followers can weed through the bull and certainly aren’t afraid to unfollow you or worse, tell you.

6. Give Credit Where Credit is Due – Feeling really inspired by a photo? Do your due diligence and source the photo, even shout-out to the artist’s work. Building relationships via social media increases followers and makes you less intimidating and more approachable.

7. Be Playful and Professional – It’s a balancing act, teetering between relaxed and corporate. You don’t want to come off as too casual or too bland. But don’t be afraid to tweet a #flashbackfriday of your brand’s first campaign or #ootd an intern’s brand-on outfit. Versatility and being relatable in social media always wins.

8. Surface the Unknown – Be curious. Think inside and outside the box. Consult what’s trending on Google News. Alternate news updates with stimulating tech articles like Wired Magazine’s discovery of a “Tool that Boosts Your Privacy by Opening Your WiFi to Strangers.

9. Be Thoughtful  Create a social media calendar. Avoid posting just for the sake of posting. Don’t be lazy and do your research. And specifically, don’t post anything you yourself wouldn’t personally read.

10. Know When to Weigh In – Nowadays, everyone’s a critic and a comedian. It’s important to know when to stand up or sit down. If it’s within your industry and valuable, consider it imminent. If you have to question it, don’t even think about posting it.

NY Public Relations

Start up 101 Public Relations. Do I need a PR Agency?

PR Agency, press liaison, Start up Success
NY Public Relations

Madeline Johnson Public Relations

Of course you need a public relations action plan, you already know it’s a necessary part of growing your business.  How else will anyone find you? The moment you decide to start up any business, you should be considering how you will communicate the benefits of your product and services and how  you are going to build buzz about your brand? From your package design to your Facebook cover to the key words in your Google Ad campaign. It’s all important.

Everything you decide to create, from a website to a tweet, to a marketing brochure, needs to be communicated to grow your new brand.  Whether you do it, or you hire a professional, either way, it’s a must.

Now, do you need a PR agency to do this for you? Check out this article on Forbes.com written by contributor Cheryl Conner for some industry insight about what PR agencies can do for you.   It’s not everything, but it’s a start.

The real question you need to ask yourself and your team is, “Are we ready to hire a PR agency?”

Many clients come to us with that question and this is what we tell them.

  1. Did you set aside a budget for marketing & PR in your business plan? – whether it’s a plan in your head, or a 125 page document.  Many businesses will allocate between 2-3 percent of projected growth gross revenues, but in the beginning stages of a business, that should be more like 20%. Read this article for more detail on how much you should expect to spend on getting the word out.
  1. Have you really created the greatest customer/client experience? You might have a great new idea, but have you really considered every detail of the user experience and compared what you have to offer to your competition?  We’re not just talking about the UX design of your website, but the entire life cycle of your product or service. There is no room in today’s overcrowded start up marketplace for a less than killer customer experience.

Some PR specialists can help you design campaigns that consider the customer first, like us. Wondering if your user experience is really top-notch? How to a create clear communications plan? Drop us a line,  we’d be happy to speak with you before you start building buzz.

  1. Will you be able to put in the time for PR? Just because you hire a communications consultant, specialist or agency, doesn’t mean you are going to be able to sit back and see your company on television, in magazines and reviewed on influential blogs. You will be busy doing interviews, offering tips and advice to journalists and creating new product and service launches to stay in the news and producing them six to nine months an advance. Be sure to carve out that time.

These are just a few of many questions you have to ask yourself before investing in a PR agency. We’d love to hear from you with yours.