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Small Business Social Media Trends

4 Aug

Interested in seeing how small businesses use social media to generate sales? Curious about which social media platforms are working well for small firms?

For its seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner surveyed 3,720 marketers, business owners, and solopreneurs from the United States and overseas, to uncover various trends. Here are 12 of the most important trends:

  1. Social Media Critical for Small Business — “96% of survey participants use social media marketing, and 92% of those agree or strongly agree with the phrase, ‘Social media marketing is important for my business.'”
  2. Facebook Dominates Small Business Social Media Marketing — “The majority of respondents carry out social media marketing on Facebook. 93% use Facebook, ahead of Twitter at 79%.”
  3. B2B Small Businesses Use Social Differently Than B2C — “Breaking down Social Media Marketing Industry Report averages is useful. B2B respondents for this survey report that LinkedIn is their number-one choice for social networking.”
  4. Most Small Business Marketers Don’t Know if Facebook Efforts Are Working — “Despite the fact that 92% of small businesses agree that social media is important for their business AND that the majority use Facebook for their social media marketing, most also report that they don’t know whether their Facebook outreach is ‘working.’”
  5. Small Businesses Plan to Expand Facebook Activities This Year — “The Social Media Marketing Industry Report also found that, again, despite the cloudiness surrounding Facebook’s effectiveness, 62% plan to increase activities on it.”
  6. Most Small Businesses Spend 6 Hours or More Weekly on Social Media — “Because of the crush of responsibilities they have, small business owners worry about the time it takes to keep an audience engaged on social channels. Tools like Hootsuite and Post Planner cut down on time spent, but social media marketing still requires significant time.”
  7. Small Businesses Identify Increased Exposure as Social’s Top Benefit — “Even though ‘increased exposure’ is more difficult to measure than a metric like traffic or bounce rate, marketers and small business owners rank it the number-one benefit of marketing on social media.”
  8. Increased Traffic to Website Is Number-Two Benefit of Social Marketing — “77% of the survey respondents have appreciated the traffic that comes to their sites via social referral (clicking from Facebook or LinkedIn to the website for a blog post or landing page offer). Google Analytics and other tools make getting this data possible, even easy.”
  9. Social Media Cuts Marketing Expenses for Small Businesses — “Early on, social media developed the reputation of reaching audiences at a low price.”
  10. Small Business Direct Social Sales Rise Over Time — “More than half of marketers who have been using social media for more than 2 years report their channels helped them improve sales. Seventy percent of those with a 5-year social media marketing investment report it helps improve sales.”
  11. Facebook Dominates Social Media Paid Ads — “The low cost associated with social media ads is just one aspect that appeals to small businesses. The ability to target ads to a narrow geographic (down to the zip code) and demographic market provides another.”
  12. Types of Social Media Content — “Blogging and visual assets nearly tied at 70% and 71% respectively. The self-employed depend on blogging, with 79% of that faction reporting they blog. At this time, just 10% of marketers use podcasting, but some speculate that podcasting could be an opportunity. Requiring higher budgets and more technology, video content finishes third.”

 

Click the image to read more.

 

Analyzing Competitors’ Social Media Activities

14 Jul

How can we assess the social media activities of competitors? Although there are several perspectives we can take, Social Media Examiner has presented several excellent tips for monitoring competitors.

As reported by Megan Hannay:

“Researching your competitors on social media not only provides an overview of your industry, but it also gives you insight into the current habits of the audiences you’re targeting. By answering a few key questions, you’ll see what kinds of posts are effective for the people you want to reach.”

Here are just some of the questions raised by Hannay in her article:

#1: Analyze Facebook Pages — If you want to gain insight into a company’s Facebook page, here are some questions to consider: How many followers do they have? What are they posting about?Are their posts mostly internal (company-based) news, blog posts and articles; mostly external news, blog posts and articles; or a mix of both?”

#2: Look at Twitter Accounts — How many followers do they have? How many accounts are they following? A good rule of thumb: An account with 50,000 followers that’s following 500 users probably has more influence than an account with 50,000 followers that’s following 49,000 users, unless they bought followers.”

#3: Examine Instagram Accounts — How many followers do they have? How many accounts are they following? Are their posts mostly internal, external or a mix of both? How on-brand are their photos? Do they show the product or service in each shot, or do they follow a more lifestyle-oriented content strategy?”

#4: Review YouTube Channels — What’s their video content like, and how on-brand is it? Do they stick to product tutorials, or do they branch out to product non-specific tutorials? Do they show off company parties and happy hours? How many subscribers do they have?”

#5: Evaluate Pinterest Accounts — How many followers do they have, and how many users do they follow? How do they show off their product or service in pins? How do they organize their pins? What are their board names? Are their pins all brand-generated (product pins) or do they repin others?”

#6: Monitor Snapchat, Periscope, and Meerkat Accounts — Due to the nature of their content, it’s difficult to evaluate these channels in one go. But if your competitors use them, follow their accounts and check out their content when it goes live. Here are some questions to consider: What content are they posting? How many interactions (on Periscope and Meerkat) do they garner from their fans?”

 
Click the image to read all of Hannay’s suggestions.


 

Marketing Interfaces with IT Need to Get Better

10 Jul

Recently, we wrote about “Marketing and Sales: Better Cooperation Needed.” But, the same may also be said about about marketing and IT (information technology).
 
As reported by eMarketer:

“With technology now an integral part of marketing, it’s critical for marketing and IT teams to be on the same page. However, April 2015 research by Harvey Nash in association with KPMG found that IT’s relationship with marketing was the weakest among departments.”

 

“Marketing and IT departments will need to turn around their poor relationships, as further results highlighted an increase in collaboration. When asked which department owned the digital or E-commerce strategy at their company, nearly half of tech execs said it was shared by IT and marketing — the No. 1 response and up from 40% last year, when the percentage saying this had actually fallen. Among those who weren’t sharing the responsibility, marketers had lost a great share to IT and ‘other’ departments.”

 

Click the chart to read more from eMarketer.

 

 

Evans on Marketing’s Most Popular Posts for the First Half of 2015

3 Jul

Thank you for reading our evansonmarketing.com posts. :-)

Here are the most popular 12 posts thus far in 2015 (January 1-June 30). Take a look if you missed any of them:

  1. See How Well You Can Do on This Entertaining Marketing Quiz (Because this quiz is no longer available, here is another interesting one for you: 5 Things You Thought You Knew About Interactive Content)
  2. What Job Skills Will Be Most Important in 2020?
  3. Body Language Errors to Avoid During Interviews
  4. What Are the Toughest Languages to Translate?
  5. Looking to Generate Passion? Consider Using the Color Red
  6. Social Marketing Tips
  7. Do YOU Think Before You Tweet?
  8. Personalizing Marketing
  9. Ten Marketing-Oriented Business Trends to Consider: A Slideshow
  10. Does Rebranding Always Work?
  11. Video and Social Media Are Big in the Mobile Era
  12. Pay More Attention to Loyal Customers!

 

 

Marketing and Sales: Better Cooperation Needed

29 Jun

Even though, a company’s sales personnel are typically viewed as part of the marketing function, there are also differences of opinion and sometimes conflicts between marketing and sales. Instead, mutual respect and cooperation need to rule the day!

As Hadar Duek observes for HubSpot:

“In my job, I chat with marketers very often about what problems they’re facing. One of the most common issues I hear about is lead flow — a marketing department generates hundreds of leads per month, but many of them aren’t closing. Nobody knows where to turn. Sales points fingers at marketing. Marketing points fingers at sales. They both shrug, unsure of how to proceed. To get the partnership running effectively again, there are three things I recommend marketers start doing with their sales team.”

1) “Provide sales training on how inbound leads are different. Many sales reps are trained to aggressively go after leads who will close ASAP — and ignore the ones who won’t. When I was in sales, I did the same thing. If a prospect wasn’t ready to send in a purchase order in the next week, I was onto the next lead. With limited time and an endless universe of opportunities, I had to prioritize. This mentality needs to shift when your company is generating inbound leads. Just because someone became a lead by downloading an E-book doesn’t mean they are ready to buy something immediately. On the other hand, they may very well be a great fit for your company down the line.”

2) “Develop a feedback loop between marketing and sales. How often have you seen leads go sales, receive follow-up, and then fall into a black hole? In my work with HubSpot customers, I see it all the time. This is a huge missed opportunity. To prevent this lack of communication, set up a way for sales to pass leads back into the nurturing funnel based on what they learned in the initial qualifying conversation. They like pink? Put them into the all-pink text E-mail nurturing campaign. They like chocolate sandwiches? Put them into the E-mail nurturing campaigns with lots of chocolate sandwiches.”

3) Set up regular meetings between marketing and sales. Some marketers pass all leads directly to their sales team and others only pass over the ones that meet criteria they determine as ‘sales qualified.’ For the latter group, if sales is passing back a lot of leads, this indicates the criteria for transitioning a lead needs to be tweaked. Look at examples of leads that were passed back and what about their criteria missed the mark. Set up a meeting to review these examples.”

Click the image to read Duek’s full article.

 

 

A Provocative Take on the Future of Self-Driving Cars

26 Jun

Self-driving cars are in the late stages of testing in the United States. Besides safety issues, consumer skepticism, the regulatory environment will have a major impact on how quickly and widely that self-driving cars make it in the market.

Given that self-driving cars will/may be sold in the very near future, we need to better understand where the marketplace will be headed. Recently, McKinsey’s Michele Bertoncello and Dominik Weewe published a thought-provoking view of self-driving cars: “Ten Ways Autonomous Driving Could Redefine the Automotive World — The Development of Self-Driving, or Autonomous, Vehicles Is Accelerating. Here’s How They Could Affect Consumers and Companies.”

  1. “Industrial fleets lead the way.”
  2.  “Car OEMs [original equipment manufacturers face a decision. Automakers worldwide will likely define and communicate their strategic position on AVs in the next two to three years.”
  3.  “New mobility models emerge. While OEMs are developing autonomous vehicles, a variety of other transport-mobility innovations are already hitting the road.”
  4.  “The car-service landscape changes.”
  5.  “Car insurers might shift their business model. Car insurers have always provided consumer coverage in the event of accidents caused by human error. With driverless vehicles, auto insurers might shift the core of their business model, focusing mainly on insuring car manufacturers from liabilities from technical failure of their AVs, as opposed to protecting private customers from risks associated with human error in accidents.”
  6.  “Companies could reshape their supply chains.”
  7.  “Drivers have more time for everything. AVs could free as much as 50 minutes a day for users, who will be able to spend traveling time working, relaxing, or accessing entertainment.”
  8.  “Parking becomes easier. AVs could change the mobility behavior of consumers, potentially reducing the need for parking space in the United States by more than 5.7 billion square meters.”
  9.  “Accident rates drop. By mid-century, the penetration of AVs and other ADAS could ultimately cause vehicle crashes in the United States to fall from second to ninth place in terms of their lethality ranking among accident types.”
  10.  “AVs accelerate robotics development for consumer applications.”

 
Click the chart to read the full article.

McK1
 

Regulatory Issues In Europe for U.S. Tech Companies

24 Jun

For quite a while, the European Commission has been rather tough in regulating large  American companies doing business in Europe and penalizing them when their practices are deemed unacceptable — sometimes, billions of dollars in fines as well as changes in business activities.

As Kelly Couturier  recently noted for the New York Times: ” The biggest American tech companies face intensifying scrutiny by European regulators — pressure that could potentially curb their sizable profits in the region and affect how they operate around the world.”

Here are some examples from Couturier:

  • Amazon — Antitrust: “The European Commission opened an investigation in June 2015 into whether the company used its dominant position in the region’s E-books market to make it harder for rivals to offer lower prices.” Taxation: “The European Union released a preliminary finding in January 2015 that a tax deal between Amazon and Luxembourg appears to amount to unfair state aid that may have enabled the company to underpay its taxes.”
  • Apple Antitrust: “European competition officials confirmed in April 2015 that they had sent questionnaires to music labels and rival music streaming companies to gather evidence and decide whether to open an antitrust investigation into Apple’s new music service.” Taxation: “Officials opened an investigation in June 2014 into whether Ireland gave preferential tax treatment to Apple.
  • Facebook Data privacy: “French, Italian, and Spanish privacy officials announced in early April 2015 they had opened investigations into the social network’s privacy policies; similar inquiries have already been started by Dutch, Belgian, and German officials. The regulators are asking whether Facebook gained sufficient approval from users when the company gained access to their online data.”
  • Google Antitrust: “In April, the European Union’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, formally charged the company of abusing its dominance in Web searches, accusing it of diverting traffic from its rivals to favor its own products and services, particularly Web sites for shopping.” Right to Be Forgotten: “Europe’s highest court ruled in May 2014 that citizens have a so-called right to be forgotten, and that search engines, including Google, must honor some requests from users to delete links to personal information.”
  • Microsoft Antitrust: “In a long-running antitrust case involving Microsoft’s software and interoperability, the company paid almost €2 billion in European fines over a decade, including a penalty in 2013 for failing to adhere to an earlier settlement.”Right to Be Forgotten: Microsoft, which operates the Bing search service, signaled in July 2014 that it planned to follow the lead of Google, by creating an online form that lets individuals request removal of links to material they say violates their online privacy.”

 

 

Click the image to read Couturier’s full article.
 

Shown here: An Apple store in Berlin. Credit Adam Berry/Getty Images for Apple

 

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