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By Thomas Glare.

Description: Despite the constant traffic in social media, some businesses still think they are better off not using this amazing and largely low-cost resource for advertisement. We have a few reasons why they might want to reconsider that opinion.

Introduction: Social media platforms are everywhere. If you have a smartphone and Wi-Fi, you have access to everyone you know and everyone they know every second of the day. And, while using it to reconnect with old friends is a pretty solid way to utilize such a versatile medium, it can also be a great resource for marketing.

These days, it seems like everyone has social media accounts. From toddlers to grandparents, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have kept us connected, for better or worse, and allowed us to know everything about everyone. It is even possible to win real money by clicking on an ad or doing a social media quiz.

Marketing in the Age of Social Media

In the past, ad traffic was expensive and could only come from television, radio, and newspapers. Promos run maybe once an hour to as little as once a week, and the target audience was only listeners, watchers, or subscribers. And advertisers hoped their target market was tuned at just the right time, but it was essentially a gamble.

These days, social media advertising has almost overtaken all other forms of marketing. As a matter of fact, when a marketing firm lists their services, if the phrase “social media campaign” isn’t mentioned, a lot of businesses will move on. It isn’t the niche market of ten years ago, but a living, breathing animal of its own.

Your Next Marketing Strategy

White pages do work, and emails are still a heavy hitter in the marketing game. But if you want to get the most eyes on your product or service, you can’t beat the endless traffic of the big three. These social media networks have made a killing based on this knowledge. So, why shouldn’t you?

Here’s how:

1.    Ready and Waiting

Your customers are on social media. You want to connect with them. So, like AT&T used to say, “Reach out and touch someone.” They are waiting for you to tell them what you have to offer. Don’t leave them in suspense.

2.    Branding

You aren’t just a business but a brand. And your brand is the face of your company. People recognize big brands because they stand out, and there is something special about them. Get your brand out there and introduce yourself!

3.    Improving Relationships

Online reviews have replaced comment cards, and access to business owners has become commonplace. Using social media to stay connected with your customers is the best way to know whether your business is doing well, and what to do to fix it if something is wrong. Instantly.

4.    A Wider Net

Any social media manager will tell you not to aim at small but launch a large campaign to draw big attention. As far as social media plans go, this is a valid idea. You may inspire new business just because you took a chance on an untapped market for your niche.

5.    Low Money Down

Let’s say you are a casino. Your business is to bring in people with money to spend. But how? Free coupons! You put a free coupon for slots free spins on Twitter, and the traffic flows into your site. And you paid next to nothing for it. Social media marketing is the most cost-effective medium for product promotion.

img alt: social media marketing

6.    Competition

Everyone has a business out in the world that is trying to take your customers and your dollars. And guess what? They already have a website and tons of followers, subscribers, and valued customers. They aren’t taking your business; you are giving it to them by not having a social media strategy.

7.    Loyalty

People like to know who they are buying from. A bad social media brand can kill a business, just because of the owner’s improprieties. But if your customers are aware of your story, and it garners trust and makes you seem like a quality human-being, they instinctively want to support you.

8.    Drawing a Bullseye

While you can throw out a huge campaign that blankets the entirety of social media, you can also target specific people, catering to your most fervent customer base only. It is similar to fishing with a bait that only certain fish like. Sure, you will get some outsider nibbles, but you will hook what you came for.

9.    Up the Ladder

Along with knowledge of SEO, traffic algorithms have a hand in search engine rankings. The more people visit you, the higher you are on the list when customers search for your business. Typically, the average web surfer will pick one of the top five links when looking for just about anything.

10.Reaching and Grasping

Just like the Internet is global, so is social media. And that means you can now advertise all over the world from one or more platforms with ease and speed. Customers in Estonia can buy your product, receive it, and give you feedback in a matter of days, not months like in the past. It has connected the commerce of the world.

Conclusion

Social media management may seem a little odd to those with old school marketing ideas, and that makes sense. So many advertising fads have come and gone, it can be puzzling if getting an account for your business might just end up as a waste of time. But the upshot is that advertising on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are so quick and easy that you’re actually wasting more time trying to come up with reasons not to.  Do you advertise your business on social media? Has it helped your bottom line and customer traffic?

By Thomas Glare

Thomas Glare runs a marketing firm and believes in the power of advertising through social media platforms. He recognizes it as a vital tool in promotional mediums and uses it on a regular basis for his clients to promote his own business interests.

Kirim.Email filters out spam, bots, and other drags on your marketing bill.

Online marketing can seem pretty impersonal; everyone has a social media branding plan, but it’s disheartening hoping for even a quick glance from potential customers amid the flood of memes and clickbait.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to maintain the fundamentals of email marketing. Email addresses are like gold to up-and-coming businesses, and those newsletters and messages you send are read on customers’ home turf—making them a lot more likely to respond. Of course, email marketing isn’t without its own hazards. To deal with them, you need a service like Kirim.Email to streamline your plan and weed out any wasted (and potentially harmful) contacts.

The all-in-one tool lets users build a list of subscribers and send an unlimited amount of emails from one central dashboard. Schedule them weekly, daily, or multiple times a day for no extra cost. More importantly, Kirim.Email automatically validates all your addresses, and can detect and delete “zombie” accounts or those that are simply a front to send spam or malware. Not only are these fake addresses potentially harmful, they’re an added drag on the cost of your marketing campaign.

That’s hardly all the service does, though. Build your own landing page directly through Kirim.Email, with full functionality and access to thousands of graphics, photos, and other assets; set up surveys through Google Forms or Google Sheets and incorporate them directly into the list with a third-party add-on. And do it all with no coding required. Kirim.Email integrates seamlessly with popular web platforms like WordPress and Facebook, allowing users to focus on what’s really important: the message you want to send to and the connection you want to make with customers.

By StackCommerce Team.

Sourced from PC

By Alex Bider.

Building a CBD business in 2020 and beyond is a challenge that more and more entrepreneurs are answering. CBD marketing is tricky because of the laws and restrictions put in place by both the government and marketing platforms such as Facebook and Google.

CBD branding is equally as delicate — it’s important to differentiate your company from others, but you must do so without creating brand assets that could violate guidelines, laws or regulations (both state and federal).

Those are just a few of the complications that come with putting a CBD business together. If you think you’re up for the challenge (or better yet, if you’ve already answered the call), this guide will help you navigate the basics of CBD branding and marketing.

I’m passionate about helping CBD brands succeed. In leading a marketing agency, I’m always ready to help CBD brands navigate the mess of restrictions when it comes to marketing and selling CBD products. Based on my experience here are the basics that CBD brands should consider.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main parts or components of the marijuana plant. However, unlike its psychoactive and hallucinogenic cousin THC, CBD does not cause any kind of “high.” There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD could have a myriad of health benefits, which we seem to still be skimming the surface of as more scientific research is needed. Although it is early days in terms of CBD for medical use, many people find it beneficial for treating many different ailments.

Current Laws And Regulations

The legality of selling and marketing CBD products is difficult to nail down. The official word from the Food and Drug Administration is that legality depends on how the product is packaged, branded and marketed. For example, CBD cannot be packaged or branded in a way that could be construed as appealing to minors, and cannot be sold as part of food products.

When it comes to platform-specific regulations, most of the big players like Facebook and Google simply do not currently allow CBD advertisements.

The Difference Between CBD Marketing And CBD Branding

Marketing is the art and science of telling a company’s story to the right audience in the most effective way possible. Branding is the practice of building that story along with the company’s assets, such as logos, business cards, webpages and so on. When broken down into those simple terms, it seems fairly clear that this isn’t a chicken-and-egg situation. It’s important to have strong branding for your CBD company before you put a lot of effort into marketing.

Questions To Ask Before Getting Started

Before getting into either branding or marketing, it’s important to know the answers to a number of questions. These include:

• Who will be your main target audience (i.e., age, geographic location, etc.)?

• What main problems does your audience hope to resolve with CBD?

• Will you target existing CBD users or those who may be interested in CBD?

• Where will you sell your products, and what are the laws and regulations there?

Answering these questions is important to your success because without the answers you’d essentially be shooting in the dark. Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal customers are, why they’ll be interested in your products and any relevant regulations, you’ll be ready to start building your brand.

CBD Branding

Modern CBD brands would be wise to move away from the association with cannabis and “getting high.” For one thing, CBD has nothing to do with getting high; for another, that notion may turn off some people who would otherwise use CBD products. In my experience, CBD branding is done best when it appears soft, accepting and comfortable.

This makes a lot of sense; after all, many people have turned to CBD to soothe pain and anxiety. So, how can you use your branding to share your company’s unique message with the world?

CBD Marketing Basics

Once you have your brand assets figured out, it will be time to find ways to share them with your ideal customers. Your branding may need to include:

• Brand positioning (who you are and what you do and why)

• Brand promises (what you’ll deliver to your customers)

• Brand assets (e.g., colours and fonts, stationery and business cards, designs or images, and internal templates and standard operating procedures)

An easy and free way to start marketing your brand is by creating your social media accounts. Make sure they use the same name (or if that’s not possible, similar/linked names) and employ your brand assets to their fullest potential. You can market CBD organically on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, so picking two out of those three may be a good way to begin.

Focus On Branding First

While CBD marketing and branding are both important, building a strong brand will ensure that you get the most out of the money you put into marketing.

Feature Image Credit: GETTY

By Alex Bider.

Alex Bider is the CEO and Senior Internet Marketing Consultant at 2Marketing.com. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Sourced from Forbes

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Farrow & Ball’s sales have grown “exponentially” this year thanks to a home improvement boom. The Drum catches up with the 75-year-old posh paint purveyor’s chief exec to find out how it has been fine-tuning its digital capabilities and baking luxury into its online experiences as it looks to appeal to DIYers and professionals alike.

Paint and wallpaper company Farrow & Ball is famous for its muted colour charts, on which you‘ll find shades with names such as ‘Downpipe’, ‘Elephant’s Breath‘ and ‘Hague Blue’. Its intensely pigmented paints have earned it a reputation among interior designers and influencers alike, with the aspirational brand selling not only distinctive tins but a lifestyle that goes with them.

This year, the business has seen the best financial results in its 75-year history, powered by a lockdown decorating boom that has pushed digital sales through the roof as people seek to reinvent the spaces they are spending more time in. In the year to August, sales were up 4.1% for the British brand, reaching £87m. Online sales were up 14% over the same period, representing over 10% of group sales versus 9% in the prior year.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in our digital demand,” explains chief executive officer Anthony Davey, the ex-P&G marketer who also sat in the top spot at GHD. “At one stage, our demand had gone up 15-fold online,” he explains, saying that “almost overnight” the business went from selling 90% of its stock through third parties to a 50:50 split between retail and direct-to-consumer (DTC).

This shift was aided by the brand’s small-batch production methods, which see all of its manufacturing based out of Dorset. “It’s quasi-handcrafted, we go through the process twice to ensure that the quality and consistency of our paint is exceptionally strong. So we were able to ‘pick and pack’ for individual customers. Lots of [bigger] companies that are highly scaled with a mass manufacturing approach weren’t able to offer that individual ordering service.”

Its marketing strategy has shifted too. Farrow & Ball has upped its investment in PPC and Google Shopping to capture the demand from buyers. For people who are in the discovery and exploration stage, the company is investing in social media content for its 2 million followers across the “obvious” channels like Instagram and Pinterest.

Its commitment to quality has been evident not only in the assembly of its products, but also in the way it has shifted the services it offers to customers online.

Bringing the Farrow & Ball experience online

When showrooms shut at the start of March, the paint company brought a live-chat function to its website. It has also started allowing customers to book virtual appointments with its specialist colour consultants – seasoned interior specialists who help people pick out the perfect swatches and themes for their homes.

The brand has also run live sessions with some of its more high-profile colourists and designers (the same ones who painstakingly curated a fresh colour pallette for the recently redesigned Museum of Modern Art in New York), giving people the chance to ask questions and receive tips.

“In lockdown, we brought our designers into our social media channels to give customers a ‘daily dose of colour’, which in the past is something we haven’t done much of.

“We want to make sure we‘ve got sufficiently engaging and relevant content, and people want to see us as a source of inspiration and advice. That‘s very much a strategy of the whole business. If you were to go into our showrooms or on to any of our channels, you‘ll find people who‘ve got many years’ experience in interior design or fabrics or all different aspects of design. They‘re much more than just someone managing a store. They have passion for the industry and passion for the category.”

Having recently appointed BMB as its lead creative agency, the company isn’t just focusing on digital – in fact, it has just invested in its first series of TV ads, which gently poke fun at Farrow & Ball’s serious image.

Featuring a cast of neurotic decorators doing everything they can to keep their paint pristine and protect their freshly decorated walls and woodwork from the threats of muddy dogs, messy children and careless wine drinkers, the self-aware ‘Modern Emulsion’ campaign will be stacked against a variety of KPIs.

Davey points to two kinds of metrics – growth and brand awareness, but also engagement and attribution on the digital and VOD side.

He says his firm wasn’t inspired to make its TV debut owing to Covid-19. “It is more just about continuing the evolution of the brand.”

Feature Image Credit: Paint and paper company Farrow & Ball is perhaps best known for its muted colour charts

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Sourced from The Drum

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Avon is honing in on its ability to transform women’s lives, with a global campaign asking people to reconsider the 135-year-old beauty business. Its chief brand and beauty officer explain why now is the right time to “blow the dust off.”

When you think of Avon, you most likely conjure up images a of handbag-sized catalogue filled with scented pages and pictures of Senses bubble bath and Skin So Soft spritz. And possibly a neighbour armed with a bag full of miniature lipsticks and nail polishes who would regularly ding the doorbell.

However, over the past 12 months the brand has been looking to carve out its own place in the global $532bn beauty and personal care market, heavily investing in digital tools for its army of direct sellers. It now allows its five million representatives in 50 markets to run a business from their phone, create and share marketing content and personalise recommendations for regular customers.

Since the pandemic kicked off, the beauty brand has seen a 200% uptick to digital transactions. In the first half of this year, the number of Avon reps has also grown twofold as social selling becomes more relevant to people looking to embrace a more remote and flexible way of working.

Avon sells three lipsticks every second, seven bottles of fragrance every second (which it claims is more than any other brand) and two bottles of its Anew skincare products every second.

In a world of Glossiers, Beauty Pies and Drunk Elephants, however, Avon has an image problem. It’s failing to keep up with these ‘cool-girl’ brands and engage a younger generation of women. Even its chief brand and beauty officer, James Thompson, concedes that over the past few years Avon has been “underestimated” from a brand perspective.

As a result, its launching ’Watch Me Now’ a significant global campaign that will run in more than 70 markets globally calling on people to reconsider their views of the company.

The premise behind the push is that Avon has been transforming women’s lives by “doing beauty differently” for 135 years. The ads – which will run across OOH, digital and press – nod at Avon’s heritage as a purpose-driven business that gave women the power to make an independent income in the US before they even had the right to vote.

‘Watch Me Now’ underscores the power of beauty to create opportunities for people to earn on their own terms, and highlight’s Avon’s own support for causes including domestic abuse and breast cancer – with the business fundraising £20m for charities relating to the latter cause and teaming up with Coppafeel to encourage women to check their breasts regularly.

The hero ad celebrates the success of the underdog and highlights the unexpected and underestimated aspects of the Avon brand, its people, activism, and products – for which Avon has been granted more than 750 patents and 300 awards.

For Thompson, it’s less a campaign and more a “fundamental repositioning”.

“There’s a parallel with how Avon as a brand has been underestimated over the past few years,” he says pointing to the fact that the brand has 98% awareness but a “much lower” consideration among customers.

“We need to blow the dust off and reinvent ourselves for another generation.”

‘Watch Me Now’ was created in collaboration with Wunderman Thompson but restrictions from the pandemic mean the work itself was produced in-house. The ads are also being supported by an extensive identity refresh.

Avon’s network of reps will also be central to spreading the message. Influencers in their own right, Thompson says the brand’s sellers are its “first media channel”.

“We’ve equipped them with much better technology,” he explains, pointing to the Avon On app which allows them to do everything from invoice customers to built assets for Facebook or Instagram from their phone.

“In the first months of this campaign we’ll be sending them content on a regular basis that they’ll be encouraged to share with customers. Over time, we’ll be giving them tools and education on how to make their own content too within the framework of this campaign. It’s effectively the world’s most democratic marketing programme ever.”

All that said, the brand isn’t planning to ‘do an Argos’ any time soon and ditch its hallmark physical brochure.

“It’s still a really important part of our business. It’ll be updated to reflect our new positioning and we’ll be improving the quality but we’re an omni-channel business – we have stores in some countries, we’re online elsewhere. We need to be where our customers can find us.”

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Sourced from The Drum

By Goldie Chan.

How has influencer marketing radically changed in 2020?

In my continuing series of “State of Marketing 2020,” I run interviews on the changing landscape of 2020 with key leaders in different business and leadership areas. For influencer marketing, I tap Lindsay Fultz, SVP of Partnerships at Whalar and influencer marketing expert for over a decade.

Goldie Chan: You’ve been in influencer marketing for nearly a decade. You’re considered a veteran in the industry. After all this time, what gets you excited?

Lindsay Fultz: This industry is fast moving. So much has changed. From types of creators and redefining what the word “influence” actually means, platforms, features, how cultural trends are intertwined and what makes them go viral, ways content can be repurposed, algorithms, to accessible data and now influencer marketing during a global pandemic and influencer and brand activism during a long overdue social justice movement.

Some things that get me excited:

  • Shoppable features that enable us to create strategies that tie ROI to particular influencers and activations. My company, Whalar is the only global partner to five social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok which not only means rich first party data but also access to all the cool private beta features like TikTok’s creator shopping program — The ability to tie video views from a specific influencer to actual purchases — that’s huge and something we’re very excited to pilot with a brand for a case study.
  • Interactive survey features that can double as consumer surveys and coordinating influencer focus groups for brands. Since the pandemic, we’ve been doing a lot of this at Whalar.
  • Live-streamed shopping which for 2020 is projected to be a $129B revenue stream in China. Instagram quietly rolled out their Live Shopping Feature in private beta a few weeks ago which I’m very excited to pilot with a brand. Whoever gets this right in the U.S will unlock a gold mine in Influencer Marketing for both creators and brands.
  • Virtual events! Marc Jacobs recently leveraged Zoom for their new product launch and Fenty VR and livestreams for their virtual house party. Both were super interactive and attendees left with keepsakes and an incredible, unforgettable experience. And we’ve only just scratched the surface on the possible integrations.
  • Leveraging influencers as your in-house production arm. Since the pandemic we’ve been getting a lot of briefs about partnering with creators behind the lens to create a library of branded assets from still and dynamic images to short and long form video content. This is quite exciting.
  • Even though it’s all P2P, partnering with creators that hit a B2B audience. Keynote speakers, marketers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders — because they are practitioners and educators, they attract an audience composed of C-suite executives, decision makers, people that control large marketing budgets and people that aspire to be in those positions. They are regularly in front of large super targeted audiences that people pay to gain access to — albeit now virtually.
  • Influencer and Brand Activism. This has been exciting to watch unfold and I think it’s a good thing! It’s been incredible seeing brands take a stance, and influencers unafraid to lose brand deals by taking a stance. It adds an extra layer to the influencer vetting process but it’s a very important layer when partnering influencers with brands — to make sure both brand and influencer viewpoints are aligned.

 

Feature Image Credit: GETTY

By Goldie Chan.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

 

Sourced from Forbes

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Cleanup in aisle five! Has there ever been a more disruptive time in retail? To get a better handle on what businesses should be doing to fix this messy situation, The Drum called up long-admired retail trends spotter and PSFK founder Piers Fawkes. Here are the three top actions he recommends:

1. Own the experience. Customers are anxious to return to their everyday retail and lifestyle routines, but stores and physical marketplaces are having difficulty offering any creature comforts as they reopen with limited services. Consumers are looking for brands to step in and streamline the purchase path or even reduce the frustrations of today’s in-store visits ‑ all to make the total shopping experience feel just a little bit more manageable. At Best Buy for example, after scheduling an in-store appointment, customers preparing for a visit receive a call from a store employee ahead of their visit to review store procedures and offer more information about their shopping purpose.

2. Reenergize the relationship. Regular store visits were an anchor for customer/brand relationships. As customers are forced to spend more time on apps, websites, and digital spaces, use this moment to re-establish and reenergize relationships with shoppers by focusing social engagements around community building and amplifying the voices of your most loyal customers. For example, Vans has done wonderful job celebrating, supporting and promoting the subculture of LBGTQ+ skaters called The Skate Witches with a series of online photo, video, and writing workshops. Vans have found the right way to say welcome to this culture in a way that is authentic.

3. Redesign the infrastructure. The retail industry as a whole is realizing a new level of nimbleness and flexibility necessary to survive constant consumer trends, marketplace evolutions, and global economic shifts. In doing so, retailers and brands are learning to navigate and thrive in environments that are less certain and consistent. Part of this evolution involves brands allowing customers to shape your brand’s long-term operational strategy and product direction. Enact this change by inviting customers into the design process, while reconfiguring retail infrastructure to respond to their real-time trends and behaviors. For example. makeup and skincare company Arfa promises 5% of its profit to the customers who participate in creating, testing, and marketing the products.

Piers Fawkes is founder of PSFK. Fawkes has inspiring leading brands, retailers and their partners on trends and innovation since 2004.

Feature Image Credit: PSFK founder Fawkes. / Randee St. Nicholas

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Sourced from The Drum

By Chris Christoff.

Your social influence, if used properly, is one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal.

Internet shopping has fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with businesses across all industries. Until this time, people were primarily influenced by what friends and family said about a company or their personal experiences.

Now, social influence is on the rise, and business owners are finding more unique ways to engage and build trust with their audience with the power of the internet. Another name for social influence is social proof. It all boils down to taking actions to show users that you’re reputable, trustworthy, and offer top-notch products and services.

There are plenty of exciting ways to show consumers that your brand is worth their time by creating unique content.

In an effort to help online businesses thrive, we want to examine several low-cost ways you can build social influence and grow your business.

Create a testimonials page

Testimonials are effective tools you can use to grow your business. If a high-profile client or reputable news source makes a statement about your products, ask if you can use their feedback on your testimonials page.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to make sure that the testimonial is honest and represents a typical experience with your brand. Create a page dedicated to showing prospects why you’re the best in the business.

You can break down your testimonials based on the product, customer case use, and more. If someone leaves you positive feedback and say that shopping with your business helped them accomplish a specific goal, or addressed a common pain point, don’t forget to highlight that feature on your sales page.

Congruency between what you’re selling and what the testimonials say is vital for building trust and helping prospects come to the right conclusion about your brand.

Allow on-site product reviews

The next way you can use content to build social influence with your audience is through individual reviews on each product. Believe it or not, 70% of consumers look for reviews before making a purchase. This statistic means that people don’t just rely on friends and family for feedback. Instead, the opinions of people with real experiences play a dominant role in purchasing behaviour.

You’re likely familiar with the effectiveness of this strategy if you’ve ever used Amazon. Under every single product on Amazon is a list of reviews for the product on display — providing users have left feedback.

Consumers are free to browse through the good and bad reviews and make a decision for themselves. There’s evidence that shows the effectiveness of product reviews. Specific products with a list of real reviews see a 270% boost in sales compared to pages without reviews.

Mention company milestones

Company milestones are often mentioned during internal meetings, but are you using this information to improve social influence? Consumers want to hear about how your company is performing in a way that makes sense to them.

For example, a SaaS company might include the number of downloads on their homepage. When someone stumbles across the brand website for the first time and sees that thousands of people have invested in this product or service, they are experiencing social proof.

Here’s a quick example to show you what we mean.

If you had to choose between two companies that offer a similar product, but one states that they have over 1,000,000 installs and features awards from reputable news organizations, and the other is a basic landing page, who would you trust more? It’s a safe bet that you would go with the company with awards and over one million customers.

A little transparency goes a long way. The next time you’re thinking about updating your homepage, start thinking about ways you can display these tidbits clearly for new visitors.

Share customer feedback on social media

Customer feedback is useful on your website, but it can provide more value when you share it on social media. You’re going to see people mentioning your brand and telling you how much they enjoyed their experience with your company. Use this as an opportunity to share their thoughts with the rest of your audience so people who are not committed can see how other people feel about your business.

Let’s say you’re interested in a new coffee company. You’ve browsed their website, checked out on-site reviews, but you’re still not ready to make a purchase. One day, you’re browsing Twitter and find the company, so you decide to give them a follow.

Weeks go by, and you start seeing more and more posts from real users complimenting the coffee company for their exceptional product and service. You would probably feel justified to go back to the site and have another look. This situation we just described is social influence in practice.

If you’re not getting much feedback on your social media page, you can create a feedback form and use it on your website and email. Reach out to current customers and ask them to leave their thoughts. Make a note saying that their opinions may be shared on social media. If the user agrees and fills out their form, you can create the perfect piece of social proof content.

Compile the best reviews and make a collage that shows off your company’s strengths. Sharing this image on social media is a sure-fire way to get more people engaged in your brand. What makes this tip more compelling is the fact that 43% of consumers check social media when they’re thinking about buying a product.

Work with partner brands and influencers

It’s possible to create content that builds social influence by working with partner brands and influencers. Regardless of your industry, plenty of other companies would happily promote your brand on their website if you’re willing to return the favour.

Partner brands are especially helpful at building social influence because it’s a safe bet that the brand you’re writing for has a similar target audience— the difference pivots on the type of product, and the pain point it solves. Look for companies that operate in your industry with an audience that could also benefit from the products or services you offer.

The reason this qualifies as social influence is because the brands promoting your product have a dedicated audience. So the opinion of this company can have a significant impact on how consumers perceive your brand. Think about your favorite company. Now imagine that the company promoted a product from a different brand. You would go in assuming that the other company is a good fit because you value the opinion of the brand sharing their content.

A whopping 60% of bloggers write between one and five guest posts every month for other publications. Their goal, in this case, is to spread brand awareness while bolstering social proof.

On the same note, social media influencers are an excellent choice for building influence. The same rule to other businesses applies here. Consumers trust influencers on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to promote helpful products with actual value. If someone’s favourite influencer is sharing your product, the person seeing the ad will instantly trust you more than if they found your company elsewhere.

There’s no doubt that adding a social influence strategy to your business can help you dramatically improve consumer confidence and sales. You have to take the time to gather valuable feedback from customers, which can include sending feedback forms via email, making it easy for users to leave product reviews, and by forging partnerships with other companies.

All of these steps lead to a more transparent and trustworthy business. At the end of the day, your goal is to provide a great product to your customers. But for people to see the value of your brand, you have to find ways to put your company on display.

By Chris Christoff

Co-Founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.

Sourced from business.com

By .

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has interviewed 344 of its members to discover their priorities as lockdown eases. Brands treaded carefully during the pandemic and, it appears will continue to do so, with brand reputation being the priority for most.

The survey ran between July and August. With brand equity the focus over recent months, sales figures are a side-concern for the majority of marketers.

The Drum explores the research here.

Findings

  • Brand reputation remained the number one priority for six in 10 respondents, while sales-based activities were sidelined.
  • The communication of employee and public safety messages came in at number two.
  • Online sales were the highest-ranked of sales promotional strategies, emerging as a top priority for 15% of marketers.
  • Discounts and promotions to increase product sales and footfall was a “very low priority“ for the vast majority of marketers (73%). Only 2% said it was their top priority. Generating in store footfall was only a top priority for 3% of marketers.
  • Things have been tough. One in 10 (9%) of the respondents said that they had been made redundant; a fifth took a pay cut (20%) and that they had (17.5%) taken an enforced holiday. One in six (17%) said they had been placed on furlough during the period of the pandemic.

Analysis

  • Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said it is reassuring to see reputation ranked first despite the very clear commercial difficulties right now.
  • “It is clear that the UK marketing community is not prepared to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term pain,“ he added.
  • He was concerned at a lack of confidence in promotional activity however: “Marketers have worked hard to maintain customer engagement during lockdown. As restrictions now ease it is key they make the most of this opportunity to help drive the recovery we are all hoping for.”
  • What state will the industry be in once the furlough period ends? The survey included estimates of the size of the UK marketing industry. It is estimated to employ 415,000 staff, 37,000 redundancies are expected and 83,000 are taking pay cuts.
  • However, good news may be around the corner. 87% of marketers felt confident or very confident that the marketing sector would bounce back after Covid-19.

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Sourced from The Drum

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The somber, early pandemic ads with lilting pianos became something of a running joke. But they did raise the question of whether brands can successfully sell while focusing on negative topics. Mars’ consumer insights lead Sorin Patilinet says extensive neuroscience studies show that leaning into negativity often leads to bad results.

Many people have a negative enough reaction to seeing a video advertisement, period. So layering on a narrative that involves negative emotions is only making matters worse, right? Probably, according to Sorin Patilinet, global consumer marketing insights director, Mars, Inc.

The Mars team has been running one of the largest neuromarketing studies in the world these past five years. It has studied more than 700 ads in an effort to determine which evoke emotions that, in turn, build memory structures that are recalled at the point of purchase. Throughout this study, Patilinet has found that eliciting negative emotions is a tricky proposition. Here, he tells us why:

The negativity must be brief

“If there is a negative emotion, it has to be resolved very quickly or be a set up for something to laugh at,“ says Patilinet. “If not, you’re going to lose a lot of people along the way.”

He cites Cesar ’Love them back’ as an example of an ad that performed poorly because the negativity didn’t resolve fast enough.

The brand cannot be associated with down moment

“If negativity is used in a story arc, you want to show the brand at the moment of highest, positive emotion. You don’t want to showcase a brand during the downturn, but instead bring it in as a hero at the end.”

M&M’s ’Eating in bed’ scored well in this scenario.

Short ad formats are tricky for story arcs

“The challenge is that consumers prefer shorter formats where is it is difficult, but not impossible, to build emotional content.

“You have six seconds on YouTube, so there’s basically no time to create a story. We tried continuing a story by retargeting the same person with the next episode. The idea was great, but the execution at scale didn’t live up to the promise.”

You risk damaging your brand

“The worst thing that could happen is you make a negative imprint. Then, the consumer ends up correlating the brand with something negative, which you don’t want.”

Attention for the sake of attention doesn’t work

“We are looking for ‘polite attention’. We aren’t turning your screen yellow and bumping up our logo against you just to grab that attention, because we know that doesn’t help for the long-term.”

Creating ads for the Covid-19 moment is short sighted

“It’s difficult to try and nail creative for the moment. We believe in running executions for a long time rather than jumping on the Covid-19 ad bandwagon. The general truths and the humour we have used for our brands still resonate today. It takes years for a good ad to decay.”

Overall, Patilinet says the reality is that ads are becoming more practical because of the restrictions of the ad duration. “In shorter ads, the level of emotion declines, which is a challenge because we know that emotions that create memories can lead to sales. Creating a three-second Facebook execution is just your logo and a headline. That doesn’t elicit too much emotion, unfortunately. Those are the ads that are actually seen by consumers, not the ones that are featured in the advertising trades.”

Feature Image Credit: M&M’s “Eating in bed” scored well because it resolved a negative situation quickly.

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Sourced from The Drum