Marketing

Employers: Social media is your friend

 

socialmedia
It’s the new year and I’ve been having some discussions lately about if companies should allow employees to build a brand on social media.
Should they be allowed to talk about products and services? Will this not take away from our spotlight?

My opinion remains clear. Not only should everyone have an online presence, everyone should also work on it and use it for networking. Companies who limit their employees’ use of social media are losing out on establishing brand ambassadors and creating an employee advocacy network. The greatest thing that can happen to your company (and your brand) is that your employees are enthusiastic to talk about it. According to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer
an employee advocate is two times more trusted than a CEO. Employers have an enormous opportunity to engage and capitalize on these powerful advocates, or risk missing out on an important group of supporters. Allow employees to spread your content – the effect can often be much greater than through your own distribution channels.

But what about drawing the line between private and professional (is the next question I am getting)?

If all you do is post about your company, everyone will think you do not have a life (or a personality). So do a bit of both. The nice thing about using social media as a person is that you have a human face. So write about your interests, post about your travels, your favorite food, your cat (well maybe limit the cat posts 🙂 Genuine posts are more important than marketing language.

Companies should not worry that lines will be blurred. Tell your employees that they should clearly brand their online posts as personal and their own (for instance, on their Twitter profile). And let them know (even though they probably already do) not to post confidential information, legal issues, strategies. For all this (and more) there are social media policies and guidelines (take a look at Dell or Adidas for inspiration).

And remember:

People build relationships with people, not companies.

 

Marketers to increase social media usage

According to emarketer, marketers are using and investing in social media more, and will continue to do so. A new report reveals that whilst Facebook and Twitter are still the preferred social networks used by US companies, Instagram is expected to gain significant traction due to its improved advertising capabilities. And I am sure European companies will soon be following suit. Either way, marketeers continue to be committed to using the social media space.

emarketer-using-social-

Gen Y and Gen Z – what’s the difference

As a marketer, understanding your audience has a big impact on customer loyalty. And so it is also important to understand the next generation of consumers: the Gen Y millenials as well as Gen Z.

A recent report from Refuel Agency shows that much like millenials, Gen Z also do nearly everything from their mobile devices. Both approximately spend an amazing 17 hours a day on some kind of mobile device. And interestingly enough they look more for content than social networking. When it comes to advertising, Gen Z more attention to online video ads and mobile banner ads is paid than Gen Y.  We may see these generation as “kids” but we always have to remember that they are the next consumers.

Gen-Z-Teens-Digital-Explorer_infographic

Infographic by Refuel Agency

Nielsen’s ‘Trust In Advertising’ survey results

Even with the advent of digital marketing and big data, we still struggle to see how effective some types of advertising are and how to best allocate our advertising spend. Nielsen has just released their Global Trust in Advertisement survey to see where trust lies when it comes to advertisement and which platforms fare the best.

Very interesting to see that the most credible advertisement still comes from the people we trust most.
8 out of 10 said that they completely or somewhat trusted recommendations made by friends and family. But also consumer opinions posted online were seen as trustworthy by two-thirds of those polled. Branded websites came in second as most-trusted format and millenials were the group that showed the highest trust in most advertisment formats and channels.

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Social Media requires integration

Social media has not only had a major influence on society, but also on business, disrupting organizations for the past 10 years. Today, more and more companies have integrated social media into their marketing communications as a means of customer engagement. Now that the basics have been mastered, it no longer is about scaling social engagement but rather about focussing on partnering inwards as well as outwards.

Social media requires leadership

A social media strategy needs to work across the organization, across silos, support the company’s digital vision and requires new levels of employee engagement and advocacy. To be able to do this, strong leadership is needed to move social media beyond marketing communication and to create a true social business vision.

Altimeter has released a new analysis on “The 2015 State of Social Business: Priorities Shift from Scaling to Integrating” based on interviews with thought leaders, brands, technology vendors and a survey of 113 strategists (social, digital and/or heads of social) at companies with more than 250 employees.

Here are the most important findings in one infographic:

infografik-social-business-2015

 

 

I is for Inspiration – Takeaways From Google’s Larry Page Letter to Staff

google

 

Big news from Google this week. Alphabet. Their new holding company. And a great name at that. Suggesting anything and everything and many new ideas and multitude of opportunties.

Larry Page letter to staff, announcing Alphabet, has some pretty good, quotable quotes.  Something any CEO or leader should take note of as they are relevant for any business that wants to be successful.

“We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about”

If you do not allow for genuine, contrarian ideas to be developed and heard in your company you are crushing innovation. Companies that have a true desire to keep innovating and investing in weird, amazing ideas are sure to be at the forefront of success.

“Over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes”

No one wants to end up being the next Blockbuster, Netscape or Kodak. Google is disrupting itself with Alphabet. And a clever move it is.

“Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable”

The restructuring allows Google to be agile (something the investors have been waiting for). Alphabet gives Google the flexibility to shift businesses. Not only under new umbrellas but also under new CEOs who may offer better leadership.

“Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence”


With each new business under Alphabet having separate management teams, more opportunities are freed up for career development. This in return is great
for attracting and retaining talent. And we must not forget it allows for strong employer branding. A smart move.

“Alphabet … means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations”

Google may be a tech giant but at the end of the day it is all about your clients and your employees.

And a little marketing side note:  Is it smart to re-organize one of the most recognizable brands on the planet? Sure. In creating Alphabet, Google is following powerful trend in corporate branding just like Apple or GE.  And having a complete house of  strong brands makes for a strong catalyst for innovation.

 

 

The growth continues

Summer is in full swing and we have crossed the first half year mark. Time to look at some digital stats (kindly provided by We Are Social).

Facebook is still the dominating social media platform with almost 1.5 billion users. They are adding more users every day or impressively put ‘6 new users per second’. What is interesting is that what follows Facebook are messenger platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat or Messenger. This is particular interesting development in the mobile social world. People seem to prefer chats to the conventional social networks. Ads on WhatsApp soon?

socialmedia
What also fascinated me is that the statistics show that 225 million people around the world used the internet for the first time in the past 12 months. According to telecommunications giant Ericsson, cellular subscriptions will continue to grow to almost 8 billion active subscribers over the next 5 years. That’ll be more than the world population. And remember: not every world citizen is connected yet!

mobile vs people

What does that mean? As I have written here in the past, as marketers we really need to place more effort on smart mobile devices. Not only are they part of our everyday life, for many people around the world is it their “first screen”, their only device. And they use it for everything from communicating, browsing the web, watching TV to shopping. This is the place where brands need to make an impression because it is becoming more than just a channel.

Speaking of marketing, mobile and social, I really like Talenti’s new ‘Flavorize Me’ campaign that uses social media profiles to create a personalized ice cream flavour. An algorithm analyzes the key words you have in your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profiles, breaks those down into tastes and then into ingredients that match those. I ended up with “Marmalade Green Chili Biscuit”. Sounds very interesting. Talenti is only available in the US so unless they decide to take my personalized flavor and use it for actual production (which btw according to their website they will let me know by September 15), you will find me eating gelati in Italy this month.

gealti

 

Time to get inspired again

It has been a busy few weeks for me with lots of travel and deadlines to meet. But now that things are finally returning back to normal  over the summer (hopefully!) it is time to get inspired again by all the great innovation going on the world – and not only from a marketer’s perspective!

New technologies are turning the financial world upside down. The WSJ recently wrote “In five years, the biggest banks in the world won’t be banks, they’ll be tech companies.” And right they are. Big tech players in the internet industry like Google, Facebook or Apple are already working on developing alternative payment systems and other innovations for the financial industry. So time for existing financial institutions to get on the wagon. Barclays is a great example of the few players who are taking this trend seriously. For instance, they recently launched “Code Playground”  a website to teaches young people about coding as part of ongoing plans to increase digital skills among its customers. Ticktock on the clock for those who are not yet looking at the disruptive forces in banking.

And of course the Apple Watch. We all know it will have a big impact on marketing and we are seeing many early brand adopters. Like publishers. The New York Times, CNN and The Economist are all making a run to offer us “wrist sized” content. And right they are – while some of us are still wondering why one needs an Apple watch, others are realizing where the web moves to so must your business.

Want to up your  “customer loyalty”? Then  take a look at Marriott’s Mobile App. They have just launched a new feature where guests can make specific requests (as far as 72 hours in advance). Anything from that additional pillow to make you sleep better to getting an extra bottle of shampoo. There’s even a two-way chat feature in case you have a very “specific” request.

Of course we should not snub tweeting potholes or Google’s fragrance emission’s device (yes it’s a wearable that can tell you when you start to smell a bit in the armpitty region) – so if you want to feel inspired as well, take a look at WeAreSocial “Curiosity Stop” for some new impulses. I really have to give them kudos for having formed an internal Innovation Team who scour the world to spot new disruptive forces and seek out the latest innovations and then put it all into this great, little report.

Drones, Messaging and More: Some Insights from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report

Screen-Shot-2015-05-27-at-11.30.33-AMIt’s that time of year again (or another year has flown by more like it).Last week Mary Meeker presented once again her deep dive into tech trends. A whooping 197 slides this year, here are my main takeaways about the state of the internet world in 2015:

  • 39% of the world population (or 2.8 billion people) are now on the internet. Getting the remaining 5 billion people connected is a huge business opportunity. We have seen Facebook (Internet.org) and Google (Project Loon) make inroads. Of course their hope is by giving people in developing countries access to the web, they will become loyal customers.
  • Not really new news: the top internet companies are actually platforms. Think Apple, Google, Alibaba, Facebook and Amazon.
  • Whereas we have already seen massive transformation in the consumer space, great potential for new business opportunities lie in healthcare, education and government.
  • If you live in the US and are an adult, then you spend over 5.6 hours a day on the internet and that mostly via your mobile device. In Europe we are seeing a similar trend. And of course as our attention span gets shorter, we prefer shorter, bite-sized content.
  • And very important for us marketers: while consumers spend most of their time on mobile, ad spend on this medium is not on par. Another huge revenue opening.
  • Video viewing is growing. 9.9 hours a day in the US. And interesting to see that more people watch video vertically than horizontally (think Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram…) – so for content creators this means rethinking how they shoot their videos.
  • Messaging is KING! 6 of the 10 top apps by usage are messaging apps. Another potential opportunity for businesses by offering additional services like taxi, payment or food delivery services (similar to what WeChat is already doing in China). New messaging apps will have a hard time penetrating the market as it will become hard convincing people to join a new network their friends and family are not on.
  • Generation Z is shifting from text to visual social media. Facebook and Twitter are being used less, Snapchat and Instagram more.
  • With technology we are moving more to “just in time” products and services. Think grocery or food delivery, driver services, package pickups. Traditional businesses will become more and more disrupted unless they can find a way to compete with convenience. But online market places as well as on demand services are creating “part time jobs”. AirBnB, Uber  or Etsy allow for supplemental incomes to people’s “regular” jobs. A trend that will continue to grow no doubt.
  • Drones are the new cameras. Fact: There has been 167% year-over year increase in consumer drone sales. But we also need to consider their commercial use. They have the ability to save money for businesses by replacing planes amongst others and worse case could replace human jobs.
  • And finally – millennials are starting to drive the economy. Not only are they an important consumer group that marketers need to consider in their strategies, but also employers. Millennials have grown up connected to the internet and expect their working experience to offer that same flexibility.

Of course working a lot with clients in the financial industry, what is missing for me is more insight into how the finance and banking sector is and will continue to be affected by the internet. Think peer to peer lending, crowdsourcing, Bitcoin or even just simply how millennials will want to bank in the future.

Maybe Mary Meeker will include a slide in next year’s report.