Showing posts with label Social Media – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Media – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature

Influencer marketing is booming—and it’s not hard to see why. Influencers lend authority and credibility to your brand and content, help connect you with new audiences, and typically deliver more ROI than traditional digital marketing tactics. As a result, brands large and small are forming both paid and unpaid partnerships with influencers—and using social platforms to spread their message.

For those brands and marketers engaging in paid partnerships with influencers on Instagram, a change is on the horizon. Last week, Instagram officially announced it would soon roll out its new “paid partnership with” tag for posts and stories.

“The relationships people form on Instagram are what makes our 700M+ community so unique,” Instagram said in its announcement. “It’s here where the world comes together to discover and connect to their passions. Because of this, creators (influencers & publishers) and businesses often join forces to tap into Instagram’s passionate communities with branded content. As more and more partnerships form on Instagram, it’s important to ensure the community is able to easily recognize when someone they follow is paid to post content.”

According to SocialMediaToday, Instagram began testing the partner tag feature—which is similar to what parent-company, Facebook, implemented last year—back in March. And while there’s no official deadline, Instagram said the rollout will be happening slowly over the next few weeks.

So, what do brands and marketers need to know about the new feature? Below are a few key takeaways from the announcement.

#1 – The new feature will enhance transparency—and credibility.

Enhancing influencer marketing transparency is at the core of Instagram’s decision to launch the new tagging option. Not only does the company want to ensure followers can easily recognize sponsored content, but they want to make it easy for influencers and businesses to provide that clarity. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Instagram’s Creative Programs Director Charles Porch said businesses are “looking for ways to be super transparent with their followers when they have a partnership.”

The good news is that brands can use this new level of transparency to their advantage. Simply put, influencers help brands make authentic and meaningful connections with their audience, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. And more transparency means more credibility and authenticity—something modern consumers crave and respect.

In addition, this enhanced transparency will help brands better comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosure policies. Back in April, the FTC reported that it had sent out more than 90 letters to marketers and influencers “reminding” them to clearly disclose their relationships to brands when promoting or endorsing products on social media.

#2 – You’ll get access to new data and insights.

Perhaps the most attractive perk brands and marketers will enjoy with the new tagging feature is access to data on influencers’ posts.

“When the partners use this tag, they will both have access to Insights to track exactly how their branded content posts and stories are performing,” Instagram explained. “Creators will continue to see metrics in their Instagram Insights, and business partners will see shared reach and engagement metrics in their Facebook Page Insights.”

As you can imagine, having this data will give you insight into the real impact of your influencer marketing efforts, and help you make informed decisions on where to go next.

#3 – Adding the tag will be quick and easy.

As you can see from the sample photo below, the tag will be prominently, yet simply, displayed at the top of each post. As far as the mechanics of tagging a partner go, an “Add Partner” option will reportedly be nested under the “Tag People” selection—making it incredibly easy to add to any post.

#4 – An official policy and enforcement procedure is in the works.

At this point, Instagram has not announced it’s official policy on tagging paid partnerships, nor how it plans to actually enforce it. But, according to last week’s announcements, it’s in the works and is expected to be announced in the next few months.

Are Paid Influencer Marketing Tactics Right for Your Brand?

As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden often says: “Everyone is influential about something.” As a result, nearly every brand could benefit from adding influencers into their marketing mix. Whether paid tactics are the right course, there’s no one-size-fits all answer. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to consider your industry, business objectives, budget, current marketing mix, target audience and types of influencers you want to work with to make an informed decision. (Of course, if you need help crafting a plan, we’d love to help!)

What’s your reaction to the new Instagram partner tag? Tell us in the comments section below.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | What Brands Need to Know About Instagram’s New ‘Paid Partnership’ Feature |

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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

7 Examples of eCommerce Brands Rocking Social Media Marketing

Today’s consumers are becoming increasingly self-directed in their buying habits, leveraging the internet to research products as well as make easy purchases without setting foot in a brick and mortar store. In fact, 96% of Americans have made an online purchase in their life, with 80% having made a purchase in the past month alone, according to Bigcommerce.

As a result, eCommerce has exploded, and countless online-only retailers and marketplaces such as Amazon, Wayfair and eBay have emerged to meet consumer demand—as well as give well-established brands a run for their money.

Of course, as digital entities, most eCommerce brands embrace several digital marketing tactics—especially social media marketing—to build their brand, engage with current and prospective customers, provide personalized customer service, and get the sales. And we can all learn a little something from what online-only brands are doing.

From creating a great user experience to personalization, below I highlight several eCommerce brands—both large and niche—that are rocking social media in a variety of awesome ways.

#1 – Etsy

Etsy considers itself more than a marketplace—but rather as a brand on a mission to reimagine commerce to “build a more fulfilling and lasting world.”

When it comes to social media marketing, Etsy has embraced Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter as its go-to platforms for sharing and engaging. Of course, each post includes an image or video, and the text and call to action are tailored to the audience.

But it was the Etsy Success Facebook page—which is dedicated to supporting shop owners—that really caught my eye. On its main Facebook page and other accounts, Etsy is marketing to the end shoppers. With its success page, Etsy is giving special attention to the makers, providing tips to better market their businesses, Q&As with shop owners, and more.

Etsy on Social Media

#2 – Gilt

For those who love high-end fashion, but hate the high-end price tags—Gilt is right up your alley. It’s a members-only shopping destination that gives fashion-lovers first-come-first-serve shopping at up to 70% off retail.

As for its social media marketing strategy, Gilt can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. While I’d say Gilt’s Twitter and Facebook pages are pretty run-of-the-mill, its Instagram is so well done.

Gilt on Instagram

Not only is there beautiful imagery and fun fashion tips, anything available for purchase is tagged with #LinkInBio—and that link takes you to a Like2Buy page that allows you to shop by Instagram photo. Not only is this incredibly convenient for their audience—but super smart marketing as I’d wager the investment in this platform is more cost-effective than click-to-shop ads. I’ve seen other marketplaces such as Wayfair use this tactic, too.

Gilt on Social Media

#3 – Love Your Melon

If you’re regular reader of my example-heavy social media blogs, you’re likely familiar with Love Your Melon. Love Your Melon was founded to improve the lives of children battling cancer by providing them with a special hat. With each hat purchased by the public, 50% of the net proceeds are donated to the organization’s nonprofit partners in the fight against childhood cancer.

Love Your Melon’s social media mix includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Across their channels, they’re using several best practices, but it really comes down to telling their story through captivating imagery—helping people see and feel the good being done. (Seriously. Tell me this photo doesn’t give you all the feels.)

Love Your Melon on Social Media

#4 – Airbnb

If you look at the social media accounts for most travel and accommodations sites, you’ll often find an image of a beautiful scene—along with a caption encouraging you to book now. But that’s not how Airbnb plays it. Their social media marketing strategy is all about showcasing the travel experience, often sharing photos and stories from real people who’ve used their service to travel the world. And each channel has a unique angle.

Twitter leans toward business travelers, aiming to show them what their temporary office could look like in a range of cities and engaging them to share.

Airbnb on Social Media

Instagram is more about engagement and storytelling, often asking followers to share their own memories or travel stories.

Airbnb on Instagram

Finally, Facebook encompasses a little bit of everything, as well as some brand-building content.

Airbnb on Facebook

#5 – Newegg

For gamers, tech-enthusiasts or the average online shopper, Newegg aims to be your go-to tech marketplace, featuring more than 10.5 million products.

Newegg’s social media marketing strategy encompasses all the major platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Generally speaking, much of the content you’ll see across the channels as of late is focused at gamers. But the one channel that stands out the most is YouTube.

Newegg has been creating and sharing YouTube video content since 2006, and the company boasts nearly 450,000 subscribers and its content has garnered more than 111.5 million views. The content shared there is a mix of exclusive unboxings, overviews, interviews and live event coverage, aiming to keep their followers in the loop on all things tech.

Newegg on YouTube

#6 – HauteLook

Owned by Nordstrom, HauteLook is a free members-only “event” shopping site. Essentially, each day the website curates limited-time, exclusive shopping events that feature prices at up to 75% off retail.

The brand’s social media strategy is pretty straight forward—show their followers the “hottest looks” in fashion right now. As a result, the majority of their posts across their channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube) aim to show their followers the whole look, from sunglasses to shoes.

In addition, one specific thing that stands out is their Pinterest channel, with nearly every board featuring a custom image that adds class and organization to their boards.

#7 – Redbubble

Redbubble is one of my favorite new-finds on social media. Redbubble is an Australia-based marketplace that features the creative and “uncommon” work of more than 400,000 independent artists from around the globe.

Like many others featured here, Redbubble’s social media mix includes all the big channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as Tumblr. And as a brand that’s all about originality, one of the hallmarks of their social media strategy is showing lots of personality in their posts—often with lots of cute humor. Below are a few of my favorite cheeky posts:

The Explainer

The Secret Agenda of Cats

Sir Corgi

What eCommerce brands do you look to for social media inspiration? Tell us in the comments section below.

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | 7 Examples of eCommerce Brands Rocking Social Media Marketing |

The post 7 Examples of eCommerce Brands Rocking Social Media Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Monday, 5 June 2017

Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International

Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson It’s no secret that social media has become an important and necessary digital marketing tactic, giving brands the opportunity to create meaningful connections with their desired audience. But as most brands have found, the secret to social success isn’t achieved with a simple click of the heels. Most often, the road to success is long and winding, requiring smarts, courage and heart to drive your message home to your audience. Of course, many marketers experience a few wicked hiccups along the way—all of witch require creative and holistic solutions. The good news is that you can always look north to find colorful and creative inspiration from talented marketing sorcerers—like the intelligent, witty and tenacious Beverly Jackson, Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International. As part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired Behind the Marketing Curtain interview series, today we’ll pull back the fabric and get to know more about how Ms. Jackson arrived in the wonderful world of marketing, and share insights that can help you navigate new lands, improve your social media strategy, and drive business value in the changing social landscape. Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Beverly is a child of the Midwest, growing up in Chicago. But while the rest of the neighborhood kids were outside playing and running around, Beverly was inside with her eyes glued to the television—watching the news. “That was my Kansas,” she said. “I was obsessed with wanting to know about everything that was happening in the world. That’s when I became a news and political junky.” With her passion for news and politics in tow, after high school Beverly headed to Washington D.C. to attend Howard University. “I thought I would become either a television journalist or a justice on the supreme court one day,” she recalled nostalgically. After completing her bachelor’s of science in marketing, Beverly launched her career. But not in marketing, but in environmental policy. “Most people pick up my career in the late-1990s when I got my first job in advertising, but I had a long career doing environmental work before that,” she said. After working for a handful of different environmental firms, Beverly went on to get her master’s degree in public administration. “I wanted to keep doing my environmental work and save the planet,” she said. So, after years of environmental work, how did Beverly become the marketer she is today? Keep reading.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

By the late-1990s, Beverly had built a successful career in the environmental space. But while working on a project in Alaska, a figurative twister rolled through. “I got so sick that they needed to send me home.” she recalled. “I had no idea what was happening to me, and spent about four months being poked and prodded by doctors.” “As it turned out, I have a rare blood condition, and being in the presence of harmful chemicals and contaminants took its toll,” she went on. “So, I couldn’t go back to that kind of work. At that point, I did what my parents always taught me to do: rely on education.” When Beverly recovered, she enrolled in a Women’s Extension Program, taking a series of personal interest and career assessments to learn where to go next. One of the assessments she took was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which revealed that she was an ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception) personality type—a category that only 2-5% of the population falls into. “I found out I was in the completely wrong career, which I already knew—but I had fought against it,” she said with a laugh. “I found out that I needed to be involved with innovation, technology, advertising and marketing.” “And that was my twister event,” she went on. “I stopped taking calls from recruiters about environmental positions, and put my energy into getting into advertising.” Her first advertising position was with J. Walter Thompson, where she played a role in developing interactive advertising tools in the early days of digital. Since then, she’s worked for Interactive Search, Octagon Worldwide, The Recording Academy and Yahoo!. Today, she’s based in Las Vegas heading up content and social media strategy for MGM Resorts International.

Her Scarecrow, Tinman & Cowardly Lion

Much like the companionship Dorothy found in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman, every marketer’s career journey is impacted by people who lend support and words of encouragement, and enable us to achieve our goals. For Beverly, her Scarecrow is Evan Greene, The Recording Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Evan was always there to be my and my team’s advocate. He trusted my intellect and skills, and he believed in me,” she said. Her Tinman, is John Reese, who was her boss and the president of Interactive Search. “John has a heart of gold, and he always talked about having heart. And he never put me down or chastised me for keeping my passions close,” she said. “When I was leaving the company to pursue another position, he gave me a heart-shaped paper weight as a parting gift, with a note that said: ‘Do everything you do with passion.’” Finally, her Cowardly Lion is Larry Vincent, who was her boss at Octagon Worldwide. “He’s my cowardly lion because he taught me to be brave,” she said. “He taught me that as a marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. You have to be willing to use your voice. And you have to be able to confidently raise your hand when you think things are going wrong. Because of him, I always feel comfortable and confident in my ideas.” [bctt tweet="As a #marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Beverly is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as a social media marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field. So without further ado, let’s dive into Beverly’s tips for better social media marketing. Good witch or bad witch? What’s one bad social media marketing habit marketers should drop? Too much self-promotion. I look around social media and there are so many people labeling themselves as marketing “ninjas” or “gurus”—and using the brand they work for to propel their own personal brand or fame. But for me, that’s just getting in the way of your brand’s story—and it can backfire. The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship. Let’s face it. Most brand marketers are not tasked with being a brand evangelist or ambassador. Usually, it’s their job to work behind the scenes to tell the brand’s story. So really, what you do on your own personal channels is what you do. And it’s OK to represent your brand there. But try taking yourself out of the equation. Try not to become a team of one. Otherwise, you won’t be impactful, and you won’t be able to scale marketing solutions. [bctt tweet="#Marketers should never get in the way of their brand's story. @BevJack" username="toprank"] Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for social media marketing success? I believe that everyone should have a robust toolkit that’s tailored to their unique business, marketing needs and budget. And that toolkit should have a few staples: No. 1 – A measurement tool. You need a tool to measure how effective your social communications are. My tools of choice are Sprinklr or Spredfast. They both function at scale, and the companies put a lot of time into research and development. Some other useful tools out there are SocialFlow and Hootsuite. No. 2 – An analytics tool. You need to be able to measure the impact your efforts are having on your business. I love TrackMaven for pulling out specific insights on how I’m doing against my competition, as well as how social efforts are stacking up against other marketing channels. Of course, Google Analytics or another preferred analytics tool are a must, too. No. 3 – A multi-channel publishing and management tool. When you’re spreading your message across different channels and their respective audiences, you need a tool that allows you to publish and customize content to each of your channels. Again, my favorite tools for this are Sprinklr and Spredfast. No. 4 – Image and video creation tools. Compelling visuals are so important from an engagement and a retention standpoint. Choose something that is scalable to your needs and budget—whether it’s a mobile app or an enterprise solution. One tool I love is Flixel—it creates moving pictures that are incredibly immersive and creative. No. 5 – A team communications tool. Communication between team members is crucial. And if you have team members who are always on the move, sometimes you can’t catch them by phone and email isn’t fast enough. We use Slack to stay in touch, and share things in small bursts. No. 6 – A “go-pack” with tools and resources to create content on the go. If you want to lead your followers on an experiential journey, you need to be able to grab stories in real-time and serve them up in snackable sizes. Everyone on our team has access to a variety of tools such as SLR cameras, tripods, mics and lighting kits so they can pick up what they need and get into the field quickly. All the stuff you’ve planned for is locked and loaded. But we all know that some of the best content is created in the moment. It’s the icing on the cake. No. 7 – A kill switch. Any well-run social media marketing program needs to have a protocol in place that allows you to stop what you’re doing. For example, we’re in the hospitality industry, in a hospitality city. Our brand and messaging is fun, aspirational and designed to showcase an experience—and the last thing you want to be is tone deaf when a tragedy happens. When the Paris attacks and the Orlando nightclub tragedy happened, we deployed our kill switch. We stopped talking. We stopped selling. It would have been inappropriate to be spreading our message, when so many people were in turmoil. [bctt tweet="Every well-run #socialmedia program needs a kill switch. @BevJack" username="toprank"] That’s a horse of a different color. What creative tactics can marketers use to create an engaging user experience on social platforms? Show don’t tell. In order to create an engaging user experience on social platforms, you need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. You need to be able to reach into their heart, put your fingers around it and feel the pulse beat. And video, when done right, can do just that. We do a lot of video here. We’ve done short and sweet, and big, long and epic. Our brand is all about positioning entertainment as a fundamental human need. But we can’t just tell people this, we need to show them—and you need to be authentic. [bctt tweet="You need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. @BevJack #socialmedia" username="toprank"] What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?) I would ask for more flexibility. And what I mean by that is: being more open to the possibilities of “what if?” When you’re more flexible, you’re more willing to take risks. You’re willing to stretch your budget. You’re willing to allocate more resources. And you’re willing to step outside the prescribed way of doing things and do the amazing. [bctt tweet="When you're more flexible you can step outside of the prescribed & do the amazing. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Beverly for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches social media and content strategy. Thank you, Beverly. Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts. Stay tuned for our next installment, my pretty! What's one thing you'd ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.

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