Why it pays to monitor and listen to your audience on social media

Social media has become such an essential tool for businesses to interact with their customers. And while you might like to think you’re engaging with audiences on a human level – what you’re really doing is trying to bump up those sales numbers. So how can you use social media better? By social listening! Here’s how.

What is social media listening?

No longer is social media only about staying in touch with friends, family and long-lost school mates. It’s a place where businesses and consumers interact on a daily basis. So as a business owner, how do you leverage those interactions for increased profits?

The solution: by listening to what people (whether they are your customers or not) are reallysaying about your brand. That’s not just what you thinkthey are saying, but how they truly perceive your brand by their actions online.

In a nutshell, social media listening is a way to identify and then analyse what people are saying about your brand. And when you combine the right social media listening strategywith the right social media monitoring tools, you could very well see your sales skyrocket.

4 reasons why it’s so important

Ask any social media expert why it’s essential that you have a social media listening plan and you’ll likely get dozens of reasons why it’s so important. And they’d be right – if you’re using social platforms, you need to know what people are saying.

But as a business owner, there are a few hard-hitting benefits that make social listening so worthwhile:

  • Measure your campaign’s performance: Social media listening allows you to measure how your short-term campaigns are performing online. This gives you the ability to analyse certain metrics (such as the volume and sentiment of conversations), which can influence whether your paid investment is worthwhile.
  • Tweak your strategy in real-time: Whereas previously you’d deploy a set-and-forget strategy, now you can listen to what people are saying about your brand and tweak different elements accordingly. This saves you time and – potentially – valuable clients.
  • Jump on problems before they get out of hand: Social media listening can help you uncover major pain points. This means you can tackle any issues that are in the burgeoning phase, and therefore prevent additional backlash against your brand.
  • Discover influencers: Want to know who reallyloves your brand? Now you can. Listen to who is advocating for your brand and discover influencers you can potentially partner with.

Brands that are really listening to their customers

Some brands are simply brilliant at managing their social accounts. Take, for example, QantasDelta and Porsche on Twitter.

But social listening goes beyond just responding to customers in real-time. It’s about taking actionable steps from what you learn. Jeff Bullas compiled a pretty insightful write-upon how some brands have created entire products based on what they heard people saying on social. These include:

  • Netflix creating smart socks to pause your show when you fall asleep.
  • Fitbit creating ‘reminder to move’ push notifications.
  • L’Oreal revamping their entire product strategy based on social interactions.

If nothing else, social media listening is the great equaliser in marketing – you don’t need to have a corporate budget to do it right.

Quick and dirty tips to listen on social media

  1. Select a few social platforms to listen on – just one or two to start with!
  2. Get the right social media listening tool. Some are free, some are paid. If you’re inexperienced, play around with some free trials until you find an interface that matches your abilities.
  3. Set up real-time alerts so you can stay abreast of any important conversations.
  4. Keep in contact with customers, responding to their requests as quickly as possible.
  5. Use the data to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to make major changes if that’s what the people want.

Want to know what people are saying about your brand on social but don’t have the time to manage your own social media listening strategy? Contact usto find out how we can help.

You can also read more about content, social media and all things marketing at The Beat.

4 Instagram Features You Need to Know About for Your Business

Do you freak out when you hear the words “Instagram update” and “algorithm” in the same sentence? You’re not alone. Changes to how people use Instagram often leave brands and marketers a little left in the dark and scrambling to adapt their strategy. So rather than work harder to be seen by the same amount of people, what can you, as a brand or business do to utilise the changes and make them work in your favour?

Replay Privacy Controls

Instagram is hoping to increase the focus on direct with changes to replay privacy controls. Now when you send a photo or video from the Instagram Direct camera, you can decide how long recipients can view it for. Controls include:

  • Allowing recipients to only view it once
  • Replay it temporarily
  • View a permanent thumbnail of it in the chat log

This greater control over viewing can give you new ways to engage with your audience. For example, you could send out one-off coupon codes, or flash sale information for limited viewing to create a sense of urgency. The goal here is to target impulse actions from your audience and turn your viewers into customers!

API Scheduling

The ability to now schedule posts is a huge step forward for the recognition of brands and business on Instagram. While most brands and businesses have either used other third-party apps or planners to schedule their content in the past, Instagram has now opened it’s API to partner applications like Hootsuite or SproutSocial. For brands and marketers, this means they can schedule and manage their Instagram presence and reporting from one platform, saving time with a more integrated approach.

TIP: If you haven’t already, start planning your posts to be published at optimum times for engagement! Collate data from Iconosquare and Facebook Insights to determine when you audience is online.

New Features for Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are now more versatile than ever. Before, users had to post vertical photos, but now there is an option to use landscape photos – no more weird crops and zoom-ins! In addition, text-only Stories mean you don’t have to include a photo at all! This is perfect if you want to create content like polls or send out messages to your audience. Do some A/B testing and monitor the performance of Stories with images vs text-only Stories to figure out which types of content resonates the best with your audience.

Now there are new ways to get creative with Instagram Stories!

The Algorithm

While it has been confirmed that Instagram will not be bringing back the chronological feed, the app announced that they will be testing a “New Posts” button. By tapping the button, a user will be taken to the top of their Instagram feed where they will see the most recent posts from their network.

For the most part, Instagram sorts user’s feeds based on the interactions the user has with various accounts. This means the posts that appear on a user’s feed are ordered by levels of interaction (through likes, comments, shares, saves etc). In most cases, posts from business pages are often way down the list, only reaching an estimated 10% of their audience.

So how can you use this knowledge to your advantage?

One thing you can and should be doing is interacting with your audience as much as possible – this includes direct messages, too! Reward users for commenting, liking and tagging their friends in your pictures. Respond immediately to comments with additional questions and create discussion wherever possible!

A/B test different types of content to figure out which content is most popular with your audience. Mix it up with a range of video, static images, galleries and more. Use the copy to ask questions or provide tips—anything that your audience will find helpful and can engage with.

With the Algorithm Causing an Ongoing Stir, is Vero Becoming a Real Contender?

If you’re in the social bubble it’s hard to ignore the ongoing complaints about Instagram’s algorithm and so it’s no surprise that another social media app has emerged. Yes, Vero is still on our horizons.

It has a chronological feed, for starters. You don’t have to pay for ads. Oh, and there’s no algorithm. Win, win, and win. If Instagram doesn’t start taking care of its users Vero and other competitors could see some real growth in their user bases.

Read next: 3 Fast Rules for Marketing on Instagram

Tracy Fitzgerald Named One of Australia’s Most Influential Women in Native Advertising!

Our MD Tracy Fitzgerald has been named one of the top 100 Most Significant Women in Native Advertising in Australia for 2018! Read below to find out more about women who are raising the bar for native advertising.

This blog was produced by The Native Advertising Institute.

“It excites me that the industry include so many savvy and influential women.”

One of the perks of being ‘the Co-Captainess’ of the Native Advertising Institute (NAI) is that I get to (e)meet and connect with so many amazing native advertising professionals from all over the world. Not only is the discipline on the rise, but so is the pool of talented professionals that we can look to for inspiration and guidance. This genuinely excites me. A lot.

It also excites me that the industry include so many savvy and influential women.

That excitement, combined with my general love for networking, has now resulted in a somewhat extensive list of 100 women who are raising the bar for native advertising.

Since today is International Women’s Day, it seems very appropriate to share this list of ‘badass’ women out into the digital stratosphere.

“You may find names on the list that you already know, but I bet that you’ll also stumble upon new exceptional women that you ought to know and/or learn from.”

I believe that the list could be as valuable and inspirational to you as it has been to me, whether you are looking to extend your native advertising network, find relevant people to follow on social media, or you are curating speakers for conferences with native advertising on the agenda

The ladies included on the list are all true, beacons of light. Some are accomplished and seasoned marketers, and some are rising stars. What they all have in common though is, that they collectively make the global native advertising industry sparkle.

You may find names on the list that you already know, but I bet that you’ll also stumble upon new exceptional women that you ought to know and/or learn from.

I hope you’ll see this list for what it is: a first draft of a most relevant industry list, with plenty of room to acknowledge more amazing female native advertising professionals for their work. If you would like to shine light on a top native advertising professional that also happens to be female, please reach out, drop a comment or tag that person.

Important Note: The list is sorted alphabetically (thanks to the a-z function in excel) and is NOT listed in any particular order that suggests rankings or seniority.

From the new to the known, these 100 women are all true pioneers.

6 Steps to a Successful Community Management Strategy

Being a great community manager is more than simply dealing with customer complaints and responding to customers with templated responses. Being a community manager is about creating engagement, responding to the fans of your pages in a friendly and timely manner and creating communities around your brand. To that end, here are six ways to help you successfully manage and grow your online community.

Be Warm

This is the first and most important rule of community management. Above all, be friendly and be honest. Both are qualities that will be greatly appreciated by your audience. Layer your brand’s unique personality on top of that, and it’s an excellent first step.

More than just friendliness, though, it’s important that you keep your audience engaged.

The good news is, that’s easy to do. Whether you’re posting regular polls on your brand’s Instagram Story or asking follower questions on Facebook, you just need to keep giving your audiences chances to engage with your brand.

Throwing in the occasional competition or follower deal or giveaway won’t hurt, either!

Be Knowledgeable

An important part of community management is being a thought leader and an oracle of sorts. Your community will look to you for answers and you’ll need to be able to provide them for your community!

Not only do you have to keep your finger on the pulse of the needs, wants and questions of your community, but also the broader industry as a whole. The first step to doing this is to sign up to industry newsletters and participate in LinkedIn groups. The second step is to use tools to make it easier to stay on top of industry updates.

Keep abreast of what your competitors are doing by using private Twitter lists and regularly checking what they’re posting. You can also set up Google Alerts for any keywords that are particularly relevant to your industry or use listening software like Mention or Synthesio to monitor key alerts.

Amassing this kind of broader information will ensure you can add value for your followers.

How can social media listening add value to your brand?

Be Present

Great community management requires an ‘always-on’ approach. Not only do you have to be present, but you have to be engaged.

No one can be online 24/7 responding to the needs of their brand community, so grid your time to ensure you’re online when your community is most active. Often you can preempt this – for example – if you’re launching a new product or releasing tickets to an event, ensure you’re online for this to be able to quickly respond to consumer questions.

TIP: During holidays and out of office hours, set an automated response that will be sent to anyone who contacts your page. This ensures your customers feel like they’re being heard. You can often set these messages to go straight to your inbox so you’re on top of who you need to reply to when you get back to the office.

Streamline the Process

If you’re looking for ways to make the community management process easier, invest in scheduling and community management tools to automate the process.

Here are some of our favourites:

Not only can you schedule posts ahead of time, but tools like Sprout Social allow you to respond to your Facebook and Instagram comments from within the platform, streamlining the amplification and management process.

Have an Escalation Process for Managing Negative Comments

Negative comments are always going to pop up from time to time, so while you can’t avoid them, you can implement an escalation process to better manage them and avoid surprises.

Here are a few quick tips to ensure negative comments don’t spiral out of control:

  • Set your profanity filter on Facebook to automatically hide comments that contain offensive language
  • Update the ‘About’ section of your Facebook profile with a terms of use policy. This policy should warn users that you will not accept trolling or offensive comments and notify them they may be banned should they breach the terms of use policy. 
  • Stay on top of Facebook’s guidelines and know when it’s appropriate to hide a comment or ban a user from your page. Remember that you can’t just ban users for posting complaints about your brand. If a user does post a complaint, always try to resolve it offline. Only if they use offensive language or troll you do you have grounds to ban them from your page.

The key to managing negative comments is to keep on top of them before they blow out. Ensure you’re regularly checking the comments on your page, particularly around new product launches and other events that could attract extra attention.

Tip: Map our your escalation process and circulate it throughout your business so everyone is aware of the procedure! Image source: Digital Marketer

Foster a community

In the end, community management is all about creating a community! 

The key to social media is to be social. Share user-generated-content, respond to all reviews and testimonials and use Instagram to cultivate one-on-one conversations with your followers.

If fostered correctly, people will build a network around their shared love of your brand, and that’s when you know you’ve got a real community.

Read next: 10 Social Media Tips for Small Business

Podcast: Tracy Fitzgerald Talks Entrepreneurship on “Future of Australia”

Want to learn more about the back story behind Brandalism? Our MD Tracy Fitzgerald shares her insight on “Entrepreneurship & Maximising Your Marketing Dollars” in the latest podcast by Future of Australia! Check it out!

Easy-Peasy Ways Video Can Educate Your Audience

A recent article from eMarketer Retail revealed that of all media, video is the likeliest to sway a consumer towards buying a product. In fact, 86% of consumers are influenced by video when it comes to purchasing.

On top of that, four in ten YouTube users will regularly head to the platform and consume content about a product before buying it. When asked why, they almost all responded that they wanted to see the product in action. Reading a blog, article, or review isn’t the same as seeing the product in use: both as a how-to and to see its results.

Here we chat through easy ways you can use video to educate consumers about your product.

Have a sense of humour

The key to creating a video that performs is to engage your audience, and one of the best ways to engage is via humour. Humour allows you to create a narrative around your product or service and is key for telling a story about a product that might not be overly glamourous or aspirational.

One of our all-time favourite examples is from Squatty Potty. There’s something about a prince eating Unicorn “poop” that makes us want to buy this toilet stool.

Don’t be afraid to use humour, but use it wisely. Successful humour finds that sweet spot- being funny for a reason- rather than being funny for the sake of being funny. Remember to play to your audience and never lose sight of the fact that you’re telling a story, not just a joke.

Video testimonials

70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions so integrating influencers into your video marketing strategy is key building your brand authority by association.

Influencers can lend a voice of authority to your product offering via video reviews about your product. Tips for enhancing authenticity include:

  • Keep it natural. Rather than going for a high-level production, shorter Instagram videos are more genuine and realistic. These videos are more akin to behind-the-scenes content which is more relatable and enticing for viewers.
  • Create a sense of immediacy. Experiment with Live videos reviews. You can create hype around the Live video by giving your audience hints about the date of the video review with “coming soon” and “watch this space” posts.
  • Use tools to add flavour to your video. Video editing tools like iMovie, Quik and Splice are easy iPhone tools that allow you to edit videos and add graphics, enabling you to cut and chop your video in multiple ways to make the most of your content.

The key takeaway is that educational video doesn’t have to be complex – they can be short, snappy and snackable but still add value to your audience when done well.

Read next: New Metrics of Success: Video Completion Rate & Watch Time

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