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A slightly different conjecture this week, I have been looking back, you see we are coming up to a year of being full time in Avviso media, I also celebrated a birthday, the next one is a milestone so with some nostalgia I have been looking back at how quickly things have moved and not just in the last year., Looking back to the late 80’a as a 12 year old technology amazed me, the spectrum ZX was at the cutting edge, then the sega master system and megadrive took things up a notch until we then got the playstation. From the eve of the millennium to today how far has technology come, it's incredible really.
It made me think about some of the tech that has been around and not quite broken through, VR and Augmented reality have been on the cusp for a while, but we are yet to reach that point where it's integrated into everyday life, will it happen, what does the next decade look like, what will we look back on and not quite believe the progress and speed of development.
The continued development of the electric car, space travel and hyperloops all progressing, I smile slightly when I look at the pace of change and still see some sectors stuck, It still amazes me that moving house and the legal process seems stuck in the dark ages with solicitors choosing to write to each other (not all granted) don’t get me started on red tape and some legislation.
This also led me to ponder, despite the rapid rise in technology has it clouded some of our approaches, have we gained pace in areas but lost creativity in others, for example, I love music, I love digital music and the ability to stream (legally :-0) but when used to buy vinyl, CD’s and Cassettes, you would go to the shop meet like minded people, that connection for me cannot be replicated online, we also lost singles, and while in the main it's not something I crave, but B - sides were something to behold, often a chance for artists to express themselves away from the “labels” commercial brief. Did we sacrifice some creativity?
Is It true in other areas, particularly marketing, demand for instant results, has that killed some of the more creative ways to connect and engage with audiences, anyone remember the yo yos you used to get in the 90’s with certain brands of fizzy drinks, and walkers crisps instant wins in the packets.
In marketing the reliance of user generated content, which is unedited has created an environment where we now have to much noise. Technology has given us the power of data, and lots of it, but it has also given us the speed to produce content that such a pace that so much of it becomes, how to put this “bland” and “samey”
Within my own business, when coming up with ideas for campaigns we create an environment free from distraction, focused on the client, but more often than not the best ideas come while i’m having a soak in the bathtub, I have not done any research but I’ll bet the house that because i am not plugged into a device and my mind is free to wonder that contributes to the bath being such a creative hotbed of ideas.
Do you think Tech is killing creativity, or enhancing it? Would love to get your views!
Following on from the the last few episodes of conjecture I want to pick up a little on audience, we looked at targeting in episode 2, but what about understanding your audience for me it simply not discussed enough.
Working in media over the years especially as a publisher it was critical that you understood your audience, I don’t believe you can properly engage let alone sell to an audience without first understanding them.
I think this becomes more important the bigger the inbound marketing industry becomes, not just for brands and business, for agencies also. You would expect business and brand to understand their audience, however it's not always true, marketers move around, rarely do individuals stay in a job very long, and why should they, loyalty is not always rewarded and for most money is the driver for moving job. Now think about that, in an environment where staff move from industry to industry do you really understand your audience? You may employ and external agency, are they a specialist in your field, do the agency staff understand your audience?
The point I want to make is that you may understand a market at top level, but unless you are involved in the conversation, you cannot understand your audience.
As businesses we outsource social media, or bring in staff to manage it on our behalves, we get caught up in the bits we don’t know, the paid social, the content, getting a return. Often dazzled by case studies and portfolios we put in front of you, do you look beyond this and check the relevance? Is may even be the cost that is a drive for you? Should it though? Should understanding your audience not be more important.
Are you asking “how will you understand our customers?” as part of the onboarding or are you focused on the output, it may tick your branding criteria but could it go further? Should you be checking that everyone involved with your campaigns is taking the time to understand and learn from the behaviour of your target audience.
Good news is, it’s very simple to understand these humans you are targeting, you just need to spend some time talking to them. This could be engaging online, you may even pick up the phone or meet them face to face.
Here are my top 3 ways of doing this.
- For large audiences and being short on time, how about a survey, this can be incentivised with a prize draw to make your audience take note.
- At trade events, rather than using it as a data collection exercise use it to collect anecdotal data, find out what the issues are for your market. Don’t simply make assumptions,
- My Favorite, call your existing customers, it helps you build a better relationship and they may be more open to giving you the feedback as they already are doing business with you.
As a sales director and publisher, when working on a new publication in a market that was new to me, I would grab the circulation database and spend a couple of days putting calls in to people receiving our magazines, in the main the feedback was great, we were able to adjust content for the publication and brief the sales team about the real issues we were picking up. This then resulted in a more educated sell to the advertisers. It’s something we still do today when planning and preparing our events, pointless putting on a programme if it does not interest those you want to attend.
In a world where marketing is increasingly more inbound, don’t forget to be outbound in your quest to understand your audience.
Understanding your audience will only increase your ability to create good content, brief third party's better and target your campaigns more clearly. They say knowledge is power and in marketing that hold true, while data and statistics play a huge role don't forget the human aspect, the anecdotal data you collect probably carried more weight, and it's often far easier to use and feed back into your own content.
Chatbots and messenger bots have become fantastic tools for customer service teams to respond swiftly across social media networks and websites. Can they be used for more than this, in this article we look at how we can creatively use chatbots and the rationale behind doing so. A chatbot used with Facebook can give you:
- Engagement, which through the comments helps expand your organic reach
- Build up a subscription list through the Facebook messenger
- Drive messages through your subscription list (this will in turn trigger a notification which will help to increase open rates).
What is a chatbot?
So let's kick off with what is a messenger bot. I’ll assume most people know but for those who don't it is an automated messaging service that can be used on your pages across Social Media, Facebook being the most popular platform to execute the strategy. A series of words tigger the bot into responding with a set of messages that are predetermined and you can give users options to steer them to a particular outcome.
Messenger bots and chatbots are a great way to ensure you are getting quick responses to those enquires on your facebook page, they can help you steer customers and complaints to a quicker resolution or outcome. They also can be used creatively to drive better engagement for your content and to build lead generation through social media that your target market will open.
We have tested several versions, our most successful to date was for a launch strategy.
For SocialDay we decided to use a chatbot as part of the launch strategy, we were doing a livestream and wanted to develop
- Organic reach
- Build a subscription list
- Distribute a report
- Give our marketing character a personality
- Put our own marketing at the cutting edge
For the launch we used software to flow in an animation we had created, this animation featured our main character that the marketing is centered around. “Tiny” our resident punk host was used to introduce a promo video we had pulled together from this years event, this in part was used to launch the 2018 event.
“Tiny” was then used to introduce Lucy who was fronting the traditional aspect of the livestream, however using the software we were able to add logos and green screen animation live. You can see the livestream below:
Part of the Livestream and launch was to distribute the research we had conducted with over 300 social media marketers (report can be found here) and to do this we gave “tiny” a personality through the chatbot.
We asked viewers of the livestream to comment with “tiny” in the comments section, this triggered the chatbot to send an automated message
This brought Tiny to life for our audience and gave us an effective way to distribute our report rather than sending out a series of posts, it created a sense of occasion.
- We used a programme called ManyChat which is straightforward to use and has loads of support materials with it, it's also has a free version for you to test this out.
Let's talk about reach!
The Facebook algorithm already looks favourably on livestream, although it can be hard to get visibility doing it from your page. We opted to do this from our Socialday page, we promoted the livestream as an event starting a week out from the date. We felt this was about the right time, not to far away and enough time to create some buzz.
Once the livestream begins encouraging the audience to engage naturally helps with the reach, putting in a call to action (downloading the report) further boosted the engagement as those who usually just watch decided to test out what we were doing and get a copy of the report. It does not just stop at the livestream, once the live was over we continued to get engagement and comments on the catch up which made the content far more sticky and have a much longer shelf life than most posts.
Does this work for lead generation?
Totally, the other aspect of using a messenger bot is that you can build a list of subscribers, the advantage being you get far less competition from other marketing within someone's messenger space either on a desktop and clearly the advantage is that on mobile you will receive a push notification. (although we do recommend that you ask people to subscribe and that they have an option to unsubscribe)
We were in a few days able to build a quality list of highly targeted subscribers, this in large was down to the high value content we were offering, in truth we did not need a list as we already have a good reach into this particular market, however if we did not then doing this exercise over a few weeks could build an extremely powerful marketing list in a very short space of time with fantastic open rates.
Points to think about:
- It’s still early days for general use of bots, we can see that some users clearly feel it's a human response just from the nature of the replies.
- This a great opportunity for some businesses beyond just customer service, it's a great way to get people engaging with your content and leaving comments on your posts, videos and livestreams.
- Bots can be used across most platforms, be creative with your execution and have fun with it.
What did we learn?
- Start with something basic, and test it works! Although setting up a bot is relatively simple you need to ensure the flow of the text conversion works, it can take a while to get it right, so get someone to test it for you.
- Try and add some personality into the messages, ok it's automated but that does not mean that the copy should be dull, after all this is still an extension of your brand and you will be judged on it.
- If you're building a list make sure people know they are being added to the list, you still need to get them to opt in (good practice and keeps you GDPR compliant)
- Think about content that is being pushed out if you are using a bot to build a list, for many this will feel like an intrusion, although no one likes spam generally we are more accepting of email as it's been around for longer, most people only receive messages from friends via facebook, be mindful of this.
If you want to have a go at creating your own messenger bot for Facebook then you will find this step by step tutorial from SocialDay useful - get free tutorial here
If you want to talk to us about setting up a bot or about lead generation through Social Media, drop me a line at email@example.com
Welcome back, to conjecture
This week I want to follow on slightly from the last chat about content, today I am going to talk a little about targeting.
Why Targeting? For a start many business operate a campaign style approach to social media and on some channels that may be fine and may work for them, however if you want to operate a campaign surely you are better off just advertising and using a programmatic approach to purchase display advertising. This approach does not work for when we start to introduce high value content.
We also need to look at vanity metrics, which are still rife, do not obsess about the likes these do not always equate to pounds and pence. Instead focus on getting the content right and aimed at the correct person.
Targeting is not just about hitting your audience it is about getting the right message out to your audience and understanding that within B2B you will have different factors influencing a purchase decision.
If we look at sales software as an example, the head of sales, IT manager, MD and FD are likely to all be key stakeholders in this decision, but are they all looking at the purchase from the same perspective?
All too often it's easy to create one piece of content that tries to hit all decision makers, going back to last weeks show we need to strip this back and look at the individual challenges and who drives the decision.
Let's assume the sales team here are the key driver, if the software increases sales and productivity then the business wins, so our content needs to address the generic issues of sales teams. Pipeline management, productivity, following up, reporting, integration. If we hit the core issues engagement is likely to be higher and we are able to drive prospects into the sales funnel.
However this only works if the content is high value, many B2B businesses do need to build relationships to gain sales and through Social Media the only way to do this is to be continually engaging.
Targeting can go too far, and their are plenty early examples of businesses trying to become super personal. I guess for me the point here is really to avoid sending a generic sales message out, try breaking down who you are targeting into smaller chunks and look for common issues that you are then able to address.
Make sure you think about who you are trying to reach, and adjust your content accordingly.