How to be the puck and dominate

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Wayne Gretzky was visionary
 

The ice hockey champion anticipated the next move. Some said he saw the future. Therein lied his greatness.

This ability to foresee, anticipate and ready for the the next move applies to effective business building. 

In the age of digital marketing, change is constant. Marketers who 'see where the puck is going' will build an advantage. 

What's new and next in marketing
 

To peek into the future of marketing, I interviewed interviewed Scott Mackenroth and Adel de Meyer.

Scott Mackenroth is the Director of Click Media Solutions and has helped hundreds of companies develop social media strategies to gain an edge on their competition.   Scott has a deep understanding of Facebook, having spent more than $500,000 on the platform’s advertising over the past three years.

Adel de Meyer is a social media and Hootsuite specialist, trainer, author and mentor. Listed as a top social media influencer in Australia, Adel is the founder of adeldemeyer.com, social media coach and social media blog.

Edward Crossin - Across the social media landscape in 2015, what new tools or apps grabbed your attention? 

Scott Mackenroth (SM) - new social media tools seem to pop up every day, it is hard to test all of them but we certainly try.  Examples that have made a huge difference to our productivity, client experience and end user experience include:  

  • MeetEdgar – MeetEdgar or Edgar is a social media scheduling tool with a never ending content list. It works best for companies that have a large amount of blog articles or content that is evergreen (reusable).  By loading all of your social media posts into categories then allocating posting schedules against those categories it will forever continue to populate your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with that content.  As only a small amount of your audience will organically see your posts this is a great way of keeping your important content and articles populating your follower’s newsfeeds.  http://meetedgar.com/
  • Schedugram – Schedugram is an application that provides scheduling of your Instagram posts via a computer. It has been a huge assistance for us managing multiple Instagram accounts. It is the only application (that we know of) that provides complete autonomous publishing to the Instagram platform. However, it should be noted that this does bend the rules of the Instagram terms of use. Although we have not heard of anyone being penalised for using the application, it is something to keep in mind. http://schedugr.am/
  • SproutSocial – SproutSocial is similar to HootSuite and is what we use to manage conversations and reporting across all of our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram accounts. It’s Smart Inbox allows you to keep on top of every conversation and message in one easy to use portal. The development team at SproutSocial is continually improving the platform and listen to their users and Social Community Managers about what features to develop next. http://sproutsocial.com/ 
  • Facebook Power Editor – this is not a new application but the workflow changes and new advertising features make it my most favourite social media tool by far.  The Introduction of Facebook Lead Generation advertising and Instagram advertising is very exciting for social media marketers. Lead Generation Advertising allows us to capture users information directly inside of Facebook without the need for a Landing page. We are seeing huge reductions in cost per conversion for lead generation advertising using this new method. Find our more -  


Adel de Meyer (AdM)live-streaming apps took 2015 by storm. The launch of Meerkat  in February 2015 was huge, being used at SXSW for influencers and startups ranging from Gary Vaynerchuck to Mashable to 500 Startups to broadcast interviews, footage from parties and private conversations. https://meerkatapp.co/

Shortly after, Twitter-owned Periscope was launched and now have over 10 million users.

A few months later Blab.im (similar to Google hangouts) was launched and although still in Beta mode the platform is growing fast in terms of users and popularity (https://blab.im/)

Facebook also introduced native live-streaming but is available to public figures only at this stage.

EC - What do you foresee as social media trends in 2016?  

SM - I don’t know if you can call it a trend but perhaps a prediction that I am most looking forward to is the direct purchasing of products and services via social media.  Facebook has been creeping more and more into an online shopping platform.

With the introduction of products with proper price tags on Facebook Group Pages and the new Peer to Peer money transfer within messenger, it only seems like a natural progression that they will become a fully-fledged online shopping platform.  This move would see them take on the likes of eBay and Gumtree as a dominant force in the community selling space but also create an avenue for businesses to sell their products natively inside of Facebook Business Pages.

Pinterest has also recently rolled out buyable pins to select retailers in the US and will continue to expand this offering as time goes on.  Direct product and services purchasing via social media is going to be a huge part of 2016 and something to keep a close eye on.

AdM - Social advertising – focus on making mobile and social commerce seamless. In-app innovation geared towards online shopping will likely be top of mind for anyone in tech, and will be exciting to watch.

Live-streaming - the ‘on the go’ and ‘in the moment’ demand for updates will continue to grow with the use of apps like Periscope and Blab. I also expect the apps like Snapchat and Instagram to grow.

Buy buttons - Facebook and Pinterest introduced it this year and I think most major social media brands will feature some kind of buy button naturally as an element of their advertising campaigns by the end of 2016

EC: What are two examples of best practice from social media in 2015?  

SM - Community engagement. Social media was built for businesses to connect and communicate with their clients on a social level.

As social media advertising continually chews into more advertising budgets, it is important to not forget that connecting with your audience and engaging in genuine conversations is still a huge factor in why we use these platforms. 

The other best practice we continually revisit ourselves and with our clients is the overall content strategy. If you don’t have a content strategy in place then you have planned to fail. Of course month to month the type of content you are posting is going to change but you need to have a guide of what to do and when. Inspire, educate, entertain and show the personality of your business.  

AdM - 

1. Post a variety of content and consistently. Social media posts should include a mix of content and photos, such as industry-specific posts, company news, media hits and community events. Starbucks, for example, includes information about new store openings, company contests, current events, recipes and more. http://www.starbucks.com.au/Home.ph

2. Respond and Engage. Reply to questions, complaints and brand mentions on social media. Responding to all comments (good or bad), will set an enterprise apart from the competition. Shout out to some top responding brands I’ve encountered this year including AppleBees, Windows Surface, Rode Microphones, Hootsuite, Hogs Breath Café, Zoomph, Pitney Bowes, Domino’s Pizza and Qantas to name a few.

 

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EC - Some businesses are great at generating social media buzz. But how do they convert that activity into transactions and customers?  

SM - Every business is different and as such the way we convert social media followers into paying customers is going to change as well.

A retail food outlet can easily inspire their audience with amazing photos whereas an accountant would likely need to produce educational articles for their blog and promote through social media.   

In a lot of situations the end goal is to drive traffic to your website for the users to consume further information and then enter them into a remarketing and conversion funnel.

I always tell clients an email is worth far more than a follow on your social media profiles, so if you are looking to increase transactions how are you going to get your social media follower’s email address.

AdM - Clear CTA’s, good landing pages, mobile optimised and personalisation is everything. Today’s buyer has more choices and options than years ago. So, listening to them, understanding their preferences and journey is vital. Generating buzz helps with brand awareness so that keeps your brand top of mind.

EC – What three tips can business use to enhance their online reputation from social media channels? 

SM - Social media is probably the only way you can genuinely increase your online reputation. We are in an era where everyone has access to creating amazing websites and the knowledge on how to make your business and product seem appealing. 

What you can’t hide is online reputation.  “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is - it is what consumers tell each other it is.”  I read this quote when I first started in social media and has never rung more true than today.  Here are three tips to help your online reputation. 

  1. Show the personality of your business through social media. Show off the people that make your company special and give the users a backstage pass into your operations. Make them feel like they know you before they have ever walked in the door or picked up the phone.
  2. Create Brand Ambassadors by engaging in genuine conversations with your audience.  Have your fans that love your product or service spread the word for you. Ask for online reviews and reward those that are most active with your brand.   
  3. Become the expert in your industry.   You may have the best product or service in the world but if you don’t share your knowledge with your potential audience you are just another choice of several companies on the internet.  Write blogs, create videos, and develop educational content. You do it to show the market your business is the leader in that industry and become natural choice when the customer is looking to buy.  

  AdM –

  1. Listen: if you want customers to listen to your sales pitch you had better listen to them in the first place. Use tools to monitor conversations customers are having about your industry and your brand like Hootsuite, Brandwatch, Unmetric and Zoomph. If you can address their pain points with content that delivers answers it will improve your reputation quickly.
  2. Engage: acknowledging users mentioning your brand or sharing a piece of user generated content on social channels goes a long way. People want to feel valued and appreciated for talking about you. You won’t ignore a customer inside your shop, so why ignore them on your social media profile? Don’t forget the ‘social’ part in social media.
  3. Provide value: Are you educating, informing and entertaining your fans online? I strongly believe brands using social media should have a mixture of these 3 elements consistently. How are you providing value to your fans and followers? With great value comes great reputation.

EC - What's your favourite social media channel right now and why?

SM - Facebook - yes that might seem like a boring answer when there are so many new social channels emerging and yes people might complain that no one ever sees their posts anymore and organic reach is declining but Facebook has really come up with the goods in 2015.  It is the largest, it is still the most used by far and is currently going through some major changes that will have a massive impact for businesses in 2016.  It is hard to keep up with the new features that are being released and they are all aimed at helping businesses sell more and find more customers. It is an exciting time to be in social media marketing and really looking forward to the changes in the year ahead.

AdM - I enjoy every social media channel I use at the moment because each one offers me a unique experience and connectivity with different audiences that use these platforms, but with that being said my favourite has to be Twitter.

Reasons why I enjoy Twitter so much:

  1. Instant updates and instant conversations with any brand or person globally.
  2. I’ve met some of the best business and personal connections globally taking part in Twitter chats in my industry. If you want to grow a strong personal brand, Twitter is a must have in my opinion.
  3. Twitter accepts gif’s, integrates easily with Vine and now has a new polls feature.
  4. Twitter is great for lead generation with Twitter cards and also a great tool for driving website traffic.

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