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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

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Consumer Brand Manufacturing Spotlight: Millennials, Holiday Shoppers & Amazon Rankings

By | December 11, 2014

8163387744_0d26292e73_zThis week, we’ve got a grab bag of interesting notes for the harried holiday-season marketer of consumer-brand-manufactured items. The 3 major themes are millennial brand engagement on social media, online holiday shoppers and Amazon rankings.

Social media & millennials
First up, millennials on social media. Specifically, why they choose to engage with your brand on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The Center for Marketing Research tells us (via MarketingProfs) millennials reportedly like companies on Facebook in order to indicate brand loyalty (84%), receive updates (83%) and get coupons/discounts (66%).

On Twitter, millennials engage with companies to get coupons/discounts (85%) and show brand support (78%).

As for Pinterest, we see a twist:  Millennials (76%) say they primarily engage with brands there in order to share their interests/lifestyle with others.

Holiday e-commerce shoppers
Last year’s MarketingProfs data showed 92% of holiday shoppers will go online to either research gifts or make a purchase. Ariel Carron, content manager for Ve Interactive, puts forth some strategies in MarketingProfs for better engaging that peculiar brand of consumer seen at the holidays. Not your regular everyday shopper, the characteristics of this species include urgency, deal-hunting, confidence-seeking and a strong attraction to fast and free shipping. Catering to them should lower the average 75% retail abandonment rate seen in Q3 and strengthen annual bottom lines.

#1 Amazon rankings
We all know Amazon is a major artery for online retailer traffic—Compete has it accounting for 22% of consumer visits to all online retailers in September (up from 19% in Sept. ’13). What’s even more interesting is that Compete also recently reported that on average, 35% of consumers click the first Amazon shopping search result. 17% click the second (notice it drops in half), and 12% (about one-third of the #1 ranking) click the third product listed. A mere 3.5% make it all the way down to #10, which is usually at the bottom of the first page for Amazon desktop search.

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Photo courtesy of Sharon Hahn Darlin via Flickr.

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Social is Your New Best Friend

By | November 17, 2014

It’s pretty rare that a person can say they’ve had all good experiences with every brand or product they’ve tried. There’s usually a bad experience that sticks out in your mind like a sore thumb, one that enraged you so much you swore you’d never use that brand again. Believe it or not, that anger provides the perfect opportunity for a business to prove their customer service, and sometimes gain a brand advocate.

Disgruntled customer What if that was your brand or product and that customer is now spouting awful reviews about how much you suck? Much like showing up to prom wearing the same dress as another girl, you have two options; you can ignore it and hope it doesn’t make you look THAT bad, or you can embrace it.

Social media, as much as people think it’s just trending topics or annoying ads, is actually another form of damage control. While everyone loves to get “likes” and fantastic reviews or positive comments, sometimes the negative ones can have the most positive impact.

The companies who get complaints and try to cover them up or ignore them don’t understand the role or importance of social media. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people have the potential of seeing that complaint and forming a negative opinion because of it. But, the same people also have the potential of seeing the company’s apologetic response, if the company is brave enough to admit they messed up. For those companies who choose to respond, they give a customer a glimmer of hope that someone cares about their mishap.

As a customer, having to call a 1-800 number and wait while an automated voice tells you, “your call is important to us, please wait” only makes a bad situation worse. Social media allows companies to address a person instantly after they post a negative comment. And apologizing publicly makes the company look good, not just to that person, but everyone who sees the post.

Social Media

While it might cost a new product, a complimentary service or a check on behalf of the company, being able to change a disgruntled customer into a brand advocate is worth it! Sometimes a little social attention is all it takes to change one bad tweet to a loyal customer, spouting nothing but praises. Don’t overlook how important client relationships can be, even if your product is amazing. If people don’t think the company and customer service are amazing, your product loses value.

So wear that prom dress proud and post #twinning with your accidental pair! No one would ever know it wasn’t planned.

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How Hospitals Should Respond to Ebola on Social Media

By | October 22, 2014

With the current news and hype over reported cases of ebola in the U.S., healthcare providers have a great opportunity to serve their communities. By dispelling myths and instilling confidence that they are taking the appropriate measures to ensure their community will be safe, health systems can help calm a panicked public. A good communication tool to use for this purpose is social media.

Don’t ignore the situation like an ostrich. Post a statement. Communicating with your community and patients is critical at a time when they are looking to their healthcare provider for information on a crisis (or perceived crisis) that is relevant to them.

Make your statement meaningful and informative, potentially with links to further resources for more details. Try to include facts about the situation (in this case, ebola), and what actions the health system is doing to ensure its staff are trained and ready to handle it.

Don’t neglect your community and patients when they are already posting questions or comments on your Facebook page or through other social media channels. People are looking to the health system(s) in their communities to provide authoritative information and be responsive. Serve your patient community well by serving this role.

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Creative Student Recruitment: Getting Personal in EDU Marketing

By | October 9, 2014

creative student recruitmentIn higher education marketing, you probably try all the digital marketing tactics to achieve higher enrollment rates. Maybe that’s pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization. While I’m a proponent of both, I think college marketers can lose sight of the bigger picture. They get lost in the data. They stress under deadlines. They celebrate the wins of increased enrollments and feel the pangs of defeat when a program is underperforming.

Rarely do they stop to consider what their milestones and KPIs mean for each student. They focus on marketing the college, but do they really anticipate student needs? If they get personal (and creative) by addressing students’ concerns and desires ahead of time, the battle of getting students to click “Apply now” is already half-won.

Consider these common college “regrets,” “things I wish I knew,” and “wish-I-would-haves” from real college alumni. They probably sound familiar. They’re common experiences that can only be realized in hindsight. Keep them in mind when creating your marketing plans. They will help you think outside of the box – and reach the heart of what matters to your prospective students:

“I wish I would have experienced a broader community.”

Freshman year is the first time teens are faced with the opportunity to start fresh. They can develop themselves into the people they want to be. This is exciting, but it strikes fear in a large number of incoming undergraduates. Will they be liked? Will they fit in? How will they make friends?

Don’t ignore these concerns; find a way to market your university’s community-building opportunities. Maybe it’s a networking event for prospective students, an email that explains the roommate selection process, or a Facebook group for each dormitory. Get creative in how you ease the anxiety of your newest group of students. Here’s a cool example of a college promoting their community identity.

“I wish I would have balanced my time better.”

As students work on building community, they struggle with balancing their school and personal lives – particularly in the first year. It’s a major concern for most parents. Facing this pain point of the college experience head-on could win you credibility.

At high school recruitment days, spend a portion of your time discussing this balance (and round off the session with branded planners). Or build parent confidence by arming them with resources for addressing this topic. Simply adding a link to your academic or tutoring center in emails creates a sense of support. (Increased retention rate from addressing this struggle is a bonus!)

“I wish I would have majored in something that better aligns with my life goals.”

Knowing what they want to do with the rest of their lives isn’t something you should expect from your incoming students. Around 75% of them will change their majors before they graduate. Find a way to understand and embrace this indecision. Consider these techniques:

  • Rename your undeclared major to something more exciting.
  • Admit students into a particular “area of interest” as opposed to a specific degree.
  • Hold a faculty Q&A session as part of a guided tour.

Helping undecided students feel like they have a place on your campus will boost their confidence in what your university has to offer them.

“I wish I would have taken better advantage of on-campus resources and events.”

The decision to attend a college goes beyond location, program offering, and price point. It extends to the emotions and preferences of each student. Look for ways to include non-program related differentiators in your marketing campaigns. How about a Vine series of highlights from your nationally-ranked basketball team? Or an infographic of your tutoring and advising services? Try an instructo-graphic explaining how to use those complex machines at the gym, or a Tumblr micro-blog for your study abroad students.

The more you highlight what makes your university great, the more you’ll reach prospective students on an individual level. Take, for instance, this twitter account that celebrates “the best damn band in the land.”

By getting personal, higher education marketers can flip their strategies. Instead of simply marketing the college, focus on informing and empowering the student.Tweet: Instead of marketing your college, focus on informing and empowering the student. http://ctt.ec/BaINk+ #highered [Click to tweet]

What is your biggest college “regret”? What would you do differently if given the chance? Leave a comment below to inspire us all.

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Facebook Relaunches Atlas: What Does It Mean?

By | October 8, 2014

Last week, Facebook announced the relaunch of its Atlas advertising platform. Facebook described it as a tool that delivers “people-based marketing.” So, what’s the big deal?

We already know that both Facebook and Google use our data to target ads – when you search for a washing machine on Google, you will notice that advertisements on appliances will follow you for a few days/weeks on sites within the Google ad network. It is important to understand the tipping point we are potentially experiencing.

What’s new?

The first part of the announcement states the fact that the platform will not be based on cookies. This will give Atlas an advantage in cross-device compatibility and the edge on mobile. (More details on how they did it further below.)

Second, we know that all online ad platforms collect data on us and our behavior. The new situation is that Facebook knows who we are and has an absurdly vast amount of data on us.

Google and other platforms know that an anonymous individual is looking for a specific product and will direct relevant ads to that user. They can also sell the information to marketers, but our personal identities are still protected.

Facebook, on the other hand, identifies you specifically and aggregates all the data in your profile. This enables the company to sell the data in the context of your personal information.

To simplify the difference, here are two examples:

  1. Someone was looking for a washing machine on Google. Google doesn’t have much to do with it except list target ads.
  2. You were looking for a washing machine. You also posted on your Facebook profile that your old one just died and that you just bought a new house. These facts—along with your personal information, shopping history and contact information—may perhaps be passed to any interested party that is willing to pay for it.

How Facebook did it: The not-so-innocent like

Facebook is achieving a “cookie-less” solution by using its current scripts that exist on almost all websites in the world. Every time a website developer adds a ‘like’ button, a ‘share this’ icon or any other Facebook widget, a script allows Facebook to identify the visitors to the site. The only condition is that they are logged on to Facebook … and this behavior can now be collected and stored by Facebook under your profile.

This access to your activity gives it an advantage over Google in supporting identity across multiple devices. Furthermore, it provides supremacy in mobile and potentially an appealing dataset for marketers: A package of personal/behavioral information.

Bottom line

Even though Facebook, Google and other major sites have been collecting information on us for years, the thought that every advertiser can buy our information is not what we signed up for. At this moment, Facebook is collecting and storing accumulative data and trends, but promises it will not be sharing our personal information with advertisers.

I wonder how this will develop: Will we see the migration of advertisers from Google’s DoubleClick to Atlas? What will Google do in response?

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For more details, check out the WSJ’s “What Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s Atlas.”

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