[Report] Social Influencers Drive Consumer Engagement

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Information about [Report] Social Influencers Drive Consumer Engagement
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Published on April 5, 2014

Author: SocialSamosa

Source: slideshare.net


Tangerine Digital, India’s leading digital content creation and management company, has released a White paper on the impact of Blogging and Crowd Sourcing. The White paper details on how blogs and social media are playing an increasingly important role in driving tangible business performance.Blogmint, India’s first bloggers’ marketplace, is a part of Tangerine Digital which helps companies enhance brand reach by engaging social influencers in the designated space.

Harness the power of Blogs and Social Media to market your Product. Prepared by Tangerine Digital Entertainment.

Harness the power of Blogs and Social Media to market your Product Table of contents  Introduction: Digital media - redefining the marketing landscape  Going digital with content marketing and social media  Case for content and social media marketing  Blogs: The main content influencer on social media  Social media: The medium of choice for disseminating blog content  Social media content marketing best practices  Build your brand through blogs and social media  Generate ROI through blogs and social media  Conclusion Introduction: Digital media redefining the marketing landscape. The gap between business spending on digital and traditional forms of offline marketing is narrowing fast. - ‘The Emerging Trends In Digital Marketing’ - A study commissioned by Sitecore and conducted by First Point Research and Consulting in October 2013. Going digital with content marketing and social media Two of the biggest online mediums that have taken the marketing world by storm in recent years are content marketing and social media – trends that are intricately intertwined. The right approach to harnessing content and social media can enable brands to re-unify their fragmented audience and target potential customers, get an engagement level higher than traditional marketing channels, establish long-term brand relationships and generate demand for their products and services. More and more marketers are adopting content marketing strategies to improve ROI, generate leads and connect with prospects. 73% of B2B content marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago. Digital marketers are using social media more frequently to disseminate their content and generate leads. A January 2011 survey of marketers found that 57% of those surveyed had acquired new customers through LinkedIn; 48% through Facebook and 42% through Twitter. - ‘B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and 2014 Trends–North America’, A report by The Content Marketing Institute. ‘Offline marketing activities still claim the lion’s share of marketing budgets, companies across the globe are dramatically increasing their digital marketing spend.’

Findings from these reports show that companies can successfully harness the digital space through a two-pronged strategy: creating a central content repository and home community, usually anchored by blogs, and then integrate their content with their presence in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social networks. It is important for companies to adopt digital media and have a strategy in place that focusses on content creation and its dissemination through social media. Case for content and social media marketing The affirmative power of content and social media offers a transformational opportunity for companies making a significant impact in the way they conduct their business activities. From engaging directly with customers to collaborating with partners, content in the form of blogs with social media integration provide the kind of value proposition that companies can no longer afford to ignore. The power of blogs and social media can enable companies to fully tap the online potential which can help to expand their customer base, build customer loyalty and accelerate growth. This paper provides an insight into the best content and social media practices and how brands can exploit these mediums to build their brand, increase their sales, and improve customer satisfaction. Blogs: The main content influencer on social media As per a study released by LinkedIn, over three quarters of businesses using content marketing are publishing through blogs. With the rise in social media communities and networks across sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and many other networks, several analysts had sounded the death knell for the blog. However, the reality is that the blog is far from dead - figures from the LinkedIn report show that 76% of content marketers are using blogs. Findings from the LinkedIn report find support in several other studies which have attested to the fact that consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase. Blogs rank favourably with consumers for trust, popularity and influence. More and more consumers are exploring new blogs to seek reviews and advice on product information. Studies have shown that readers turn to blogs to make a sound decision before purchasing products like electronic gadgets, apparel and footwear and more as well as deciding on possible travel destinations or to go to a particular restaurant for dining. According to Technocrati’s findings, blogs are now the third most influential digital resource (31%) when making overall purchases, behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%).

ATTENTION! Attention is all about your marketing efforts and their effectiveness. It is no longer enough to have a large set of social media followers; they also have to be engaged with your brand. Social media: The medium of choice for disseminating blog content When it comes to digital marketing, content is king and social media is the kingmaker. Creating engaging content is not enough – the success of any digital marketing campaign also depends on ensuring that your content reaches your target audience. A recent report released by Forrester Research called ‘Put Distribution at the Heart of Your Content Marketing’ shows how important it is for brand marketers to implement a well- crafted distribution strategy employing social media. As the graph indicates, the growth in the number of websites within the 14-year time span is exponential and it shows no signs of slowing down. Along with that, the amount of content that is being posted online has also increased manifold. This means that it will be harder and harder for marketers to cut through the noise in order to get their content seen. Great content goes unread everyday on the Internet. To be heard above the clutter, brands need to reach their target audience – and their target audience is on social networks. The growth in use of online social networks has been phenomenal. However, in order to make the best use of this medium, companies first need to understand it. Different social networks cater to different kinds of audiences and it is paramount to understand how they differ from each other. For instance, Facebook is widely used to stay connected with family, friends, and acquaintances. Twitter, on the other hand, is a great medium for trending information about current events. Pinterest is the medium of choice for brands that have a visual story to tell while LinkedIn caters to professionals. Then there are other smaller, more specialized networks that aim at particular audiences and emphasize on sharing reviews, issues, problems, and solutions. Social media channels may vary but one fact remains constant – companies need to carry out in-depth research and subsequently align their content to target the relevant social media

network and their specific audience. You cannot look for employees on LinkedIn and consumers on Facebook. Instead you must use all the analytical tools you have to find your target audience in these social channels, wherever they are present, and then engage with them on your blog as well as other forms of content. Social media content marketing best practices Brands can leverage the power of their blogs and social media by cultivating an effective content generating and distribution strategy. The most common practice is to have a central content repository and home community (often anchored by a blog), and then share it in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social networks. With the tremendous growth and impact of social media, brands have been wrestling with how to capitalize on it in the best possible way. However, it is important for brands to understand that the normal rules of marketing do not apply on online social networks. In online world, the emphasis has to be on dialogue and a sense of community. The very nature of social networks is dynamic and communicative, and marketers need to recognize that they require active involvement and a willingness to take the good with the bad. Whatever the strategy, it needs to be in line with the overall brand strategy. Customers are vocal, sometimes passionate, about what they like and dislike about the brands, products and services they use. Social networks provide the perfect platform of expression for them owing to its accessibility and ease of use. More companies, whether B2B or B2C, start-up or enterprise, are integrating content marketing and social media into their overall marketing strategy and dedicating a part of their budgets for resources like monitoring tools and community managers. Their goal is to take advantage of the incredible opportunities available in the online space like leads, sales generation and real-time customers. In the world of digital media, your brand is driven by the sum of all social interactions about your company. Blogs and social media can be used to garner attention, build engagement, and reach new prospects. A 2010 survey of the members of the World Federation of Advertisers by Millward Brown showed that 96 percent of advertisers have been increasing their investments of time and money in content marketing and social media.

Build your brand through blogs and social media In just a few years, blogs have become a phenomenon. According to Technorati “Every day, an estimated 175,000 new blogs and more than 1.6 million blog updates go online”. Creating content and distributing it on social media allows companies to reach a wider audience present on different social networks. In fact, social media is a great equalizer in the way it provides small and mid-sized businesses as well as large corporates to present their brand and message on the virtual global arena. Building your brand using social media allows you to develop new (and strengthen existing) relationships, which often leads to everything from brand awareness, loyalty and word-of- mouth marketing. REACH How many people can you potentially interact with when you use, maintain and promote your blog on social media? If you have content that is getting noticed and interests people, your reach is likely to grow through social media as people want to hear more from you. ENGAGEMENT Engagement refers to both content engagement, or how engaged your audience is with your content, and brand engagement, which is what your audience is saying about your brand on your blog and on the social media. Content engagement can be measured by social media shares (i.e., retweets, likes). The level of your content engagement helps you understand how your audience is reacting to your blog content.

Here are #6 practices to get you on your way to building your brand and boosting your business through content marketing and social media. A blog is a no-cost, effective platform to engage with current and potential customers in a direct, informal, persuasive but no- pressure way. You can communicate the strengths of your offerings, build thought leaderships and showcase your company's experience in ways that traditional marketing and advertising don't allow. This can help present a better understanding of your company to your audience. Blogs are collaborative in nature and allow you to gain insight into your customers' needs and interests. You can then use this information to develop new products or services or fine-tune existing ones. A blog is like the human face of a company – it can make your company appear more "alive' and approachable. A website promoting your products or services is an essential marketing tool. But a blog, in effect, gives your company a personal voice, which can also help build and boost customer loyalty. 1. Create online destinations to showcase your brand Research has shown that successful companies have built their brands by consistently engaging with their audience through blogs and by surrounding consumers with online experiences on the social media that allow them to select how they interact with the brand. As a digital marketer, you can consider using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on to speak to your existing customers and prospects. For small-business owners without the manpower to effectively manage too many media, you should consider testing each of these to determine which social media service best serves your business interests. 2. Consistently publish meaningful content Regularly publish meaningful content that adds value to your end-user’s experience. Your goal should be to publish useful information on your blog, that people will want to talk about and then share with their own audiences. The more useful, engaging and informative blogs you publish and share on your social media destinations, the more qualified leads you will generate from your business. Besides, you will also achieve higher rankings from search engines like Google. Importance Of Blogs

Generate ROI through Blogs and Social Media 3. Be where your audience is Spend time where your audience is. Get started by conducting a search on Google for the keywords your consumers are likely to use to find your products and services. Trace and follow the path of your consumers to identify the social media destinations where you are most likely to find them. 4. Join relevant forums and communities The real value of online communities comes from sharing information and discussing ideas and not from the size of the community. Over half of consumers surveyed by Technorati said that they found smaller communities more influential on a particular subject than larger ones. While consumers understand the value of smaller communities, brands tend to focus on acquiring massive communities, even at the expense of user experience. In fact, many of them pursued A-list bloggers to advocate and spread the word on their behalf in the hope that their message would go viral. The strategy works to the extent that the message does go viral, however, it does not result in conversions. This is because the basic principle that drives blog is trust – and popularity does not automatically translate into trust. A genuine opinion touches a chord – an advertorial blog does not win hearts. 5. Connect with influencers While searching for your online audience, you should also identify online influencers who can help spread your message. Initiate conversation with them by leaving comments on their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and like their Facebook pages. You can also email them and introduce yourself. Make sure that your communications are relevant and add value to the online conversations. Any interactions with experts initiate you to their audience also. 6. Give so that you receive Success on the digital media is directly proportional to how successful you are in communicating information, being useful, and developing relationships. If you approach with the aim to promote yourself, people will turn away. Social media is different from traditional media channels – use it to engage, share and build relationships. Blogging and social media are long term strategies that can only deliver sustainable, organic growth through ongoing, consistent participation. On the social media, follow the 80-20 rule - spend 80 percent of your time on non-self-promotional activities and about 20 percent in self- promotional activities and conversations.

Develop user-friendly content and distribute on the right social media channel Once you know who to target, the path you take to reach your audience with your message. Will you choose Facebook, Twitter or may be YouTube. Or would you rather explore LinkedIn, Slideshare or Pinterest? The simple answer is that there is no one- size that fits all. Identify and target the right audience Before beginning your content marketing and social media campaigns, identify your end users. If your target audience is not identified, you stand the risk of following a fragmented approach that may dilute your message. It is important to think from your consumer’s perspective; who is the right fit for your products and services? Why do they buy and who buys the most? Are there any purchasing patterns that show that a particular online group would be a good target? Define your goals Establish tangible goals. For example, the aim of your blog and the accompanying social media strategy is to increase number of Facebook likes, encourage email sign ups through a promotional campaign and communicate the USPs of your offerings. Email sign ups and Facebook likes are a great way to retarget an audience with new content and a great way to engage with brand advocates. Once you build your own community, you don’t have to invest in acquiring a database of fan base to market your products and services.

Engage with your audience on social networks If you find your product or service mentioned on a social media page, make sure to acknowledge by engaging with that person who has made the mention. Take the opportunity to initiate conversation directly with the consumers – your reaching out to them will make a huge impact on their perception of your offering. The more you engage the more trust you build. Remember, followers, and fans feel connected to the brand because they can acknowledge that you exist and are worth engaging with for them. Turn product advocates into a marketing force As a business, your aim should be to create and amplify your brand advocates. Get your brand on customers’ pages in social media channels and have them share information with their networks about the product or service. This will help you achieve word of mouth marketing, the most reliable and effective kind of marketing. According to Neilson, 92% of consumers are more inclined to take a recommendation from a friend or family member than any other traditional media outlet. In an era of connected consumerism, advocacy puts the word in word of mouth. Allow your product and service to speak for itself The success of your content marketing and social media campaign can be measured in terms of the chain reaction it builds. Provide a product experience to allow your customers determine if it meets their needs. Track, monitor and analyze your campaign And finally, like with any other marketing activity, you need to monitor and analyze your social media campaign. Define and determine a technology solution to track important metrics. You must proactively gauge the impact of your strategy, so that in the end you have a tangible ROI that is defensible in front of any CMO or CEO.

A Case Study Blogmint The 5th Global Sports Summit, TURF 2013 @ FICCI Theme – Corporatization of Sports To understand how the combination of blogging and social media benefits both bloggers and brands, the brand here being FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), a non-government and not for profit apex business organization that is the voice of change and betterment in different industries and domains in India. As the Blogging partner, Blogmint roped in reputed bloggers to blog live for this event. Besides that, there were also many bloggers who blogged remotely. From understanding the fundamental reason behind what TURF is all about to covering all the major sessions that were an integral part of TURF 2013 and put the word out, was the aim of the Live Blogging exercise. Bloggers also got the opportunity to interact with reputed personalities from the sporting arena and understand their point of view about how the present state of different sports can improve in India. Blogs about FICCI TURF 2013 can be found at http://www.blogmint.in/ “We believe it is very essential to connect with the tech-savvy consumers at every step and are delighted to be associated with Blogmint as our blogging partner to cover Turf 2013 live. Blogmint’s expertise in the digital content arena and creative thinking will surely help making Turf 2013 a huge success and we are looking forward to a mutually enriching association.” -Mr. Rajpal Singh, Director and Head, Youth Affairs & Sports, Skills Development (International) & Postal Reforms, FICCI Some of the reputed bloggers to blog live for this event were – Arunava Chaudhari (Arunava About Football), Anuradha Goyal (Thoughts on Innovation), Prakash Gowda (Spark Plug Films), Juanita Kakoty (JuanitaKakoty Writes), Mercy Tetseo (Beneath still waters). Additionally, there were contributions from other bloggers as well who write regularly for sites like Sportskeeda and TechPluto. The bloggers had a combined social media reach of 20,000+ through channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus! Blogmint’s platform helped improve the audience reach of TURF 2013 to a wider audience through blogging and social media. Additionally, the SEO impact of blogging for the event also helped in better search results in search engines. The 5th Global Sports Summit TURF 2013 by FICCI got better user engagement and reach through effective leveraging of blogging and social media integration by Blogmint, India’s first and only online paid bloggers network. ResultsComments Putting Strategy intoAction Goalof the Study Event Case Study

Conclusion Blogging is a powerful and influential tool that empowers marketers to attract, engage and motivate action. Blogging is the currency for building relationships that can boost credibility, influence and initiate an action. This being said, it is important to note that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is being created every day. It is, therefore, a challenge for the digital marketers to stand out amongst the sheer volume of information vying for attention of a specific audience. The information overload also drives consumers to filter their choices to those few who are most trusted, credible and meaningful. Hence, it is important for businesses to establish their credibility and emerge as domain experts to wield influence on the search and social media. In an industry populated by consultants and strategists, the need of the hour is to have your own blog to engage with your audience and establish a voice and reputation through the dissemination of knowledge. When bloggers form relationships with their loyal readers and participate in ongoing conversations, they begin to exert real influence. Blogs provide a direct platform for brands, customers, and prospects to connect, engage and share a bond. Brands across the globe are waking up to the power of the blog and are harnessing the medium to reach out to their target audience with the hopes of building their brand affinity and loyalty, and with the end aim of influencing their buying decisions. However, by itself, a blog is an isolated voice. Integrate your blogs with social media and the result will be magical. The “magical” potential of an integrated, blog-centric approach to content marketing in social media is to find the right audience on the right social platform and bring these fragmented communities together and create one unified community that is genuinely interested in your products and services.

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