tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/social Latest Social content from Econsultancy 2017-05-24T08:19:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69111 2017-05-24T08:19:00+01:00 2017-05-24T08:19:00+01:00 If you want to improve your marketing ROI, stop spending on social media James Hammersley <p>My agency did this because our experience with our clients suggested that social media traffic, specifically that from Facebook and Twitter, performed significantly worse in comparison to any other source. Indeed many of our clients found that stopping investment in such traffic improved conversion significantly and improved ROI for acquisition investment as a whole.</p> <p>[<strong>Editor's note:</strong> This post is written by a guest blogger and doesn't necessarily reflect Econsultancy's views, nor does it refer to Econsultancy's research team.]</p> <p>We publish a six-monthly update that covers <a href="http://goodgrowth.co.uk/publications-and-articles/?cat=6">the research published</a> over the period and despite our continuing search there is still no empirical link between money spent and commercial outcome gained that suggests performance levels to compete with other digital channels. </p> <p>In fact, the reports that have been published in the last nine months have if anything started to suggest that, rather like Hans Christian Andersen’s Emperor, we may well be spending on a carefully woven story stitched together by social media platforms looking to justify their valuations and agencies looking to retain their fees. Is it time we challenged ourselves to stop drinking the Kool-Aid?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6329/emperors_new_clothes.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="525"></p> <p><em>Emperor's new clothes</em></p> <p>Why do we think it’s time to stop and reflect? Just look at these outcomes from recent third party reports: </p> <ul> <li>76% of retailers are <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/09/29/why-76-retailers-are-boosting-their-social-media-budgets">spending more on social media marketing this year</a>, yet the same survey suggests that whilst they do this, the most cost effective channel is email marketing.</li> <li>89% of marketers <a href="https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2016.pdf">believe social media marketing increases exposure</a> and drives traffic but only 51% believe investing in social media improves sales.</li> <li>48% of marketers <a href="https://komarketing.com/industry-news/seo-social-media-effective-difficult-execute-3238/">say social media is the most difficult channel to get right</a>.</li> <li>90% of marketers believe <a href="https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2016.pdf">social media is important</a> but 92% do not know <a href="https://www.searchenginejournal.com/top-dos-donts-effective-social-media-management/169626/">which social media management tactics are effective</a>.</li> <li>60% of consumers have <a href="http://internetretailing.net/2017/02/omni-channel-sales-throttled-shoppers-wont-buy-sms-social-chat-despite-loving-mobile-apps-email/">concerns over social media channels</a> being at risk of phishing attempts or fraudulent profiles.</li> <li>43% of marketers <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/03/16/social-media-spend-failing-live-expectations/">questioned on their experience of investment in social media marketing</a> said they “haven’t been able to show impact yet”. 38% claim to have a “good qualitative sense of the impact, but not a quantitative impact” while just 18.4% have proved the impact quantitatively.</li> </ul> <p>That’s not to say that there haven’t been reports of a commercial impact:</p> <ul> <li>68% of respondents to one survey said <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/09/29/why-76-retailers-are-boosting-their-social-media-budgets">Facebook ads increased sales</a>. </li> <li>Sony <a href="http://www.josic.com/using-social-media-to-increase-sales-and-brand-awareness">announced in February</a> that through Twitter it had earned an extra £1m in sales and Dell announced in June last year that its presence on Twitter accounted for $3m dollars increase in sales.</li> <li>And <a href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/04/07/more-half-b2b-marketers-struggle-measure-value-social-media-0">one survey suggested</a> that investment in social by B2B marketers can drive sales upwards of £50,000 per month.</li> </ul> <p>The reports on B2C success are far fewer in number and both those quoted above fail to meet a core test about reliability in that they don’t benchmark this performance in terms of ROI. They also do not give a sense of scale. For example, the uplifts quoted for Sony and Dell would be lost in the rounding compared to their monthly sales, let alone their annual totals. </p> <p>Of all the B2C channels, Pinterest looks the most promising but <a href="https://www.clickz.com/how-pinterest-boosts-its-ecommerce-potential/102950/">the latest report</a> isn’t independently verified and there is no value data as opposed to activity data. So the jury is out, but the more direct link available between product and purchase suggests Pinterest could have a better ROI.</p> <p>B2B is much more interesting. There is an emerging argument for <a href="https://hbr.org/2016/11/84-of-b2b-sales-start-with-a-referral-not-a-salesperson">a commercial link in B2B activity</a> on LinkedIn and an opinion poll reported here <a href="http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/166003/file-25222284-pdf/docs/social_media_sales_quota.pdf">reinforces that story</a>, although doesn’t add to the evidence base. In my agency's own experience however, social advertising has a poor ROI and even sponsored posts, whilst garnering Likes, fail to deliver an acceptable ROI compared to other sales channels.  </p> <p>However using LinkedIn as a relationship sales channel (sometimes called linked selling) has proven a successful way to build an ‘opted in’ marketing database and generate leads. We have met a number of professional service firms who use this channel to drive their outbound new business activity but to date we can find no published research to quantify effectiveness. </p> <h3>Lies and stats</h3> <p>It was Disraeli who said there are lies, damned lies and statistics. In reality, both sets of numbers we have quoted here are unverifiable. They are either opinion or an incomplete ‘fact’ put into the public domain.  </p> <p>Many are placed into the market by an interested party (the channel or an agency) and for those of us who are driven by data this suggests that they all need to be covered by a health warning.  </p> <p>One of the consequences of this lack of transparency is that some in our industry are developing a narrative that undermines the claim of digital to be the ‘measurable’ marketing channel and introducing the concept of ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67529-the-rise-of-dark-social-everything-you-need-to-know/">dark social</a>’. We’ve come across some choice pieces of digital jargon over the years but this one should make us all worry – it's best defined as the digital equivalent of the ‘missing link’, providing a justification for continuing investment in social media on the basis of belief rather than transparently valid data.</p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>I admit it, we are obsessed by commercial value and there may well be ‘above the line’ marketing benefits of brand and product awareness that this type of investment generates. There is very little evidence however that can justify investment on the basis of an ROI that can compete with AdWords, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">email</a>, digital display or re-marketing.</p> <p>If your concern is ROI and optimising performance of your marketing funds then my advice is to put value over inputs. After all, more poor quality traffic reduces overall effectiveness and wastes scarce resources, no matter how many other marketers are walking around with no clothes on!</p> <p>[<strong>Editor's note:</strong> Just to reiterate, this post is written by a guest blogger and doesn't necessarily reflect Econsultancy's views, nor does it refer to Econsultancy's research team.]</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/social/"><em>Social Media Training Courses</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-best-practice-guide/"><em>Social Media Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69105 2017-05-23T12:30:00+01:00 2017-05-23T12:30:00+01:00 Three social media lessons from WWF’s Earth Hour Nikki Gilliland <p>So, how does one organisation bring together millions of people under a common goal?</p> <p>I recently heard Alice More O’Ferrall – WWF’s digital engagement manager – speak at Engage Prague on how the organisation uses social media to motivate users and help drive change. Alvaro Quesada from Tinkle – the digital media company which oversaw the campaign – also contributed to the talk. Here are a few key lessons.</p> <h3>1. Avoid vanity metrics</h3> <p>While Earth Hour is more of a symbolic event – designed to raise awareness and prompt wider change from governments and private sector companies – it aims to avoid vanity metrics (i.e. passive likes or followers on social media) and instead focus on real life, accessible and every day action.</p> <p>Using the hashtag #changeclimatechange, WWF set out to promote the easy things that people could do to get involved with Earth Hour, such as using candles instead of electricity or taking a break from technology for the evening.</p> <p>By engaging with social media users in this way, it has been able to create a sense of community around the event, encouraging people to flight against climate change throughout the year – not just during Earth Hour itself.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CZp4LX4AYnM?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>2. Harness the power of micro-influencers</h3> <p>The main way WWF encouraged participation in 2017 was to ask users to donate their social power. This involved setting up a microsite where people could login via Facebook and post localised and personalised content direct to their own news feed.</p> <p>Not only did this activity enable WWF to spread the word, but it also helped to build trust. By allowing users to add comments or opinions and post it to personal news feeds, it meant the message would come across as far more authentic and trustworthy to friends, family and fellow Facebook users than if it came from the WWF or Earth Hour official page.</p> <p>This is an example of a brand turning everyday consumers into micro-influencers, which was a topic that was referenced quite a lot during Engage Prague. WWF also regularly works with influencers in a more traditional and larger-scale sense, focusing on three areas of reach, relevance and resonance to ensure authenticity.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fearthhour%2Fposts%2F10154748402939436&amp;width=500" width="500" height="519"></iframe></p> <h3>3. Engage and interact with participants</h3> <p>In the space of 24 hours, Earth Hour 2017 generated 30m organic impressions and 19m overall engagements. According to Alvaro, whose community management team managed all content and reaction during the event – it is vital to take the opportunity to reach out and engage with users in real-time.</p> <p>The team replied to 95% of all messages received during Earth Hour (with the remaining 5% being spam) – as well as maintained a response time of two hours. In doing so, it was able to ensure that all participants felt valued and appreciated, which in turn increased the likelihood of social sharing as well as further participation once the event had ended.   </p> <p>What’s more, it also allowed WWF to gather valuable feedback based on what users enjoyed or found the most interesting, which will also inform future campaigns.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">This <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBT?src=hash">#TBT</a> is dedicated to all of you :) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EarthHour?src=hash">#EarthHour</a> is a reflection of the strength of people &amp; your power<a href="https://t.co/eSAGlXnwKT">https://t.co/eSAGlXnwKT</a></p> — Earth Hour (@earthhour) <a href="https://twitter.com/earthhour/status/865176414940782592">May 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Going beyond digital</h3> <p>So does digital engagement actually drive real life change?</p> <p>Alice cited a few examples as proof, such as an Earth Hour petition in Russia that lead to the protection of marine areas from oil pollution. Similarly, in Uganda, the creation of the first ever Earth Hour forest – which involved filling 2,700 hectares of degraded land with over 500,000 indigenous trees in order to fight against deforestation.</p> <p>WWF calls this ‘people powered legislative change’, and while the phrase is meant to deliberately sound impressive - the results are equally so. By harnessing the power of social media, it has shown that big things can arise from the smallest of changes.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66620-10-inspiring-content-marketing-examples-from-charities/" target="_blank">10 inspiring content marketing examples from charities</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67451-the-smartest-experiential-charity-marketing-campaign-you-ll-see-this-year/" target="_blank">The smartest experiential &amp; charity marketing campaign you'll see this year</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69096 2017-05-19T11:08:00+01:00 2017-05-19T11:08:00+01:00 Four reasons luxury brands are embracing influencers Nikki Gilliland <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-face-of-luxury-maintaining-exclusivity-in-the-world-of-social-influence/">‘New Face of Luxury’</a> report – published by <a href="http://www.fashionmonitor.com/#/">Fashion &amp; Beauty Monitor</a> in association with Econsultancy – delves into this topic, exploring why luxury is embracing this growing trend. To whet your appetite, here's just four reasons.</p> <h3>1. Social media makes luxury accessible</h3> <p>There’s no doubt that social media has made luxury more accessible and appealing to everyday consumers. Now, shoppers aren’t required to enter a store to browse, meaning they can interact with and experience high-end brands on an entirely new level. </p> <p>Of course, the open and large-scale nature of social means that brands runs the risk of appearing less exclusive – perhaps a reason why the industry has been reluctant to forge relationships with social influencers up until more recently.</p> <p>Despite almost two-thirds of luxury brands being active within influencer marketing, 46% admit their influencer programme is a year or less than a year-old. Meanwhile, a further 28% say they have only used influencer marketing for two years or so.</p> <p><strong><em>Do you currently use influencer marketing as part of your marketing strategy?</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6188/do_you_use_influencer_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="668"></p> <p>That being said, many luxury brands are recognising that, if they are able to find the right balance, channels like Instagram and YouTube can be used to create content that reflects the lifestyle and interests of the core consumer. Which in turn, is also promoted by influencers. </p> <h3>2. Mid-tier influencers offer authenticity</h3> <p>Alongside a growing cynicism over celebrity endorsements, there’s been the realisation that the biggest social influence does not yield the best results. In fact, <a href="http://markerly.com/blog/instagram-marketing-does-influencer-size-matter/" target="_blank">research</a> suggests that as an influencer’s follower count increases, the rate of engagement with their followers decreases.</p> <p>As a result, luxury brands have begun to embrace mid-tier or micro-influencers, with 40% of respondents saying that mid-tier influencers hold the most appeal.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6189/Mid-tier_influencers.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="432"></p> <p>This is because mid-tier influencers are dedicated to building active and engaged communities of followers who value their voice and trust their judgements on brands and products. In contrast, much like celebrities, top-tier influencers or those with mass audiences might have less control or come across as less authentic.</p> <h3>3. Enthusiasm for content-focused campaigns</h3> <p>So, how exactly are luxury brands collaborating with influencers?</p> <p>Interestingly, it appears that a growing focus on content promotion and distribution is informing campaigns – over and above product launches. While 74% of luxury brands say that influencers play a “critical” or “very important” role in product launches, 71% say the same for content creation and promotion.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6190/role_of_influencers.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="542"></p> <p>This shows that the real value of influencer marketing does not necessarily come in big brand campaigns – but subtle and original content. This tends to align with the opinions of influencers themselves, who typically feel that creative freedom and involvement is needed for the partnership to be worthwhile and successful for both parties.</p> <h3>4. Greater focus on ROI</h3> <p>With increasing investment, it’s naturally important for luxury brands to want to measure return. Unfortunately, this remains one of the biggest challenges, with the sheer amount of social and online data making it difficult to drill down to a single influencer, product or campaign.</p> <p>That being said, it is an area of growing focus. 62% of luxury brands say that revenue generation is an important measure of success, while just 44% of non-luxury brands place such value on conversion figures. 79% of luxury brands also measure the success of influencer collaborations through web traffic generated, closely followed by the number of times content was shared.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6191/ROI.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="479"></p> <p>Another positive is that social media channels are becoming increasingly trackable, with the use of affiliate programmes and conversion pixels, and with Instagram in particular introducing shoppable links.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>So, will luxury brands continue to invest in influencer marketing in future? With 66% of luxury brands saying that they expect their budget to increase "moderately" or "significantly" over the next 12 months, it appears so.</p> <p>Despite some existing reservations about retaining exclusivity and aspiration, the bravest brands are proving this is possible to uphold, providing the collaboration is a good fit.</p> <p><em><strong>For more, download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-face-of-luxury-maintaining-exclusivity-in-the-world-of-social-influence/">New Face of Luxury Report</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4485 2017-05-17T18:48:00+01:00 2017-05-17T18:48:00+01:00 The New Face of Luxury: Maintaining exclusivity in the world of social influence <p>For some time, the mass market appeal of social media seemed to be in contradiction to the privacy and exclusivity of the luxury industry, creating understandable caution among luxury brands. But with the influx of digital media platforms and the rise of social influencers, luxury brands have had to embrace (and brave) the new world of social influence.</p> <p><strong>The New face of Luxury</strong>, a report produced in association with <a title="Fashion and Beauty Monitor" href="http://www.fashionmonitor.com/">Fashion and Beauty Monitor</a>, offers valuable insight on how the luxury industry can collaborate successfully with influencers.</p> <p>The report outlines interesting trends to watch including rising budgets, increasing video content, commitment to resources, the rise of micro-influencers and experimental formats.</p> <h2>Key findings</h2> <ul> <li>73% of luxury brands are active within influencer marketing yet only half of luxury respondents admit that their influencer marketing programme is only a year or less than a year old.</li> <li>65% of respondents say that their approach to influencer marketing is effective and content collaborations are proving effective for 73% of luxury brands.</li> <li>73% say that maintaining exclusivity and aspiration on social media is their biggest challenge.</li> <li>Budget is proving to be the biggest factor holding luxury brands back from running an effective influencer marketing strategy.</li> </ul> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>An online survey was fielded in February and March 2017 and a highly targeted base of 322 professionals working across the fashion, beauty and luxury sectors took part. In addition, telephone interviews were carried out in March and April 2017 among senior-level marketers and global luxury fashion and beauty influencers and brands.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69077 2017-05-11T09:50:00+01:00 2017-05-11T09:50:00+01:00 Three reasons fast food brands use secret menus Nikki Gilliland <p>So, (sugar-aside) why are consumers such suckers for a secret menu? Here are just a few reasons why it tends to work.</p> <h3>1. Inherently shareable nature</h3> <p>It appears social media users cannot keep anything a secret these days. It’s been just a few weeks since <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67085-starbucks-new-london-digital-concept-store-puts-focus-on-customer-experience/" target="_blank">Starbucks</a> released its Unicorn Frappucino in the US, and there are now over 150,000 images using the related hashtag on Instagram.</p> <p>This was the aim, of course, with Starbucks deliberately creating a drink that they knew users would love. Regardless of whether or not it actually tasted nice (or could induce diabetes), consumers bought the item purely for the chance to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">post a selfie with it</a>. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5967/Unicorn_Frappucino.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="635"></p> <p>Other brands have also seen secret menu items go viral in this way – but it’s not always on purpose. </p> <p>Arby’s, the US fast-food chain, found that customers were requesting its ‘meat mountain’ special in restaurants – a stack of meat that was originally featured in a promotional image. The restaurant began making it for those who asked, leading to customers spreading the word on social and ultimately creating Arby’s first ever secret menu item. </p> <p>Unsurprisingly, as more and more brands have introduced secret items, consumers have also become extra savvy when it comes to sharing them. In fact, hashtags and websites, such as Hack the Menu, are dedicated to promoting the most recent items as well as offer reviews and opinions.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">About to conquer the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MeatMountain?src=hash">#MeatMountain</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/Arbys">@Arbys</a> <a href="https://t.co/cSzxPFuKMX">pic.twitter.com/cSzxPFuKMX</a></p> — Sigmon (@sigmonwrestling) <a href="https://twitter.com/sigmonwrestling/status/853774822878433280">April 17, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>2. Allows brands to experiment</h3> <p>While a secret menu is a great way for brands to generate buzz, it can also be used in a more functional capacity. </p> <p>This means that instead of adding a new item to the main menu - which comes with the risk of customers not liking it or bemoaning the loss of an item it could have replaced – brands can still introduce it without the pressure or commitment.</p> <p>With less investment on marketing spend to promote new items, consumer response can be gauged to establish whether or not it’s worth introducing long-term. Often, items will find their way onto the main menu eventually. Take Starbucks again, for instance, whose 'pink drink' (now known as the Strawberry Acai Refresher) first made the rounds on Instagram last year.</p> <p>Brands like Panera and In-N-Out Burger also do this on a regular basis, even creating a permanent ‘not-so-secret’ menu for items that prove continuously popular.</p> <p>So, why don’t they just create a bigger menu overall? Ultimately, the sort-of-hidden element is all about customer service, offering people increased flexibility and opportunities to customise orders, without overwhelming or saturating the main menu. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5968/In-N-Out.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="700"></p> <p><em>In-N-Out Burger's 'not-so-secret' menu</em></p> <h3>3. Builds customer loyalty </h3> <p>Lastly, one of the biggest reasons brands use secret menus is that it instills a sense of importance in customers. </p> <p>People feel like they are getting their hands on something rare, or as if they are part of an exclusive club. As a result, they are more likely to forge a memorable or more meaningful connection with the brand, meaning they are also more likely to return again in future. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/JuniperandIvy">@JuniperandIvy</a> slays the California classic <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/InNOut?src=hash">#InNOut</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/burger?src=hash">#burger</a>brioche and homemade animal fries <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/secretmenu?src=hash">#secretmenu</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/foodie?src=hash">#foodie</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cheeseburger?src=hash">#cheeseburger</a> <a href="https://t.co/ERysWppZ0u">pic.twitter.com/ERysWppZ0u</a></p> — Laura Taylor Namey (@LauraTNamey) <a href="https://twitter.com/LauraTNamey/status/858165997932470272">April 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Does it always work?</h3> <p>Of course, the strategy does not come without its downsides. As the Unicorn Frappucino demonstrates, brands run the risk of veering into gimmicky territory, resulting in the view that secret menus are purely a money-making scheme rather than something for the benefit or thrill of customers. </p> <p>Meanwhile, brands must also consider that staff will have to manage orders of customised items in stores and restaurants – as well as avoid potential waste.</p> <p>On the other hand, with huge opportunity for brand awareness and increased sales, it's little wonder so many restaurants can't wait for us to shout about their so-called 'secrets'. Consequently, it doesn’t look like the trend will disappear anytime soon. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67856-four-delicious-examples-of-food-drink-brands-on-instagram/">Four delicious examples of food &amp; drink brands on Instagram</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67856-four-delicious-examples-of-food-drink-brands-on-instagram/" target="_blank"><em>A day in the life of... a food &amp; drink startup entreprene</em>ur</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69074 2017-05-10T12:30:00+01:00 2017-05-10T12:30:00+01:00 Will Instagram's mobile web app help Facebook slay Snapchat? Patricio Robles <p>And the rapid growth that makes Instagram look like Facebook circa 2009 to 2013 could accelerate even more now that Instagram has updated its mobile website, giving it a number of features that were previously only available in its iOS and Android mobile apps. The most important new feature added, photo sharing, will let users of the mobile web app post photos to Instagram.</p> <p>As TechCrunch's Josh Constine <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/08/instagram-mobile-web/">explained</a>, "Until now, users could could only browse, Like, follow, search, and see notifications on the stripped-down mobile web site and desktop site." But now they'll be able to post photos and browse a lightweight version of the Instagram Explore tab.</p> <p>The new functionality could be especially important in international markets where high-speed mobile internet is not widely available, making it more difficult for users to download and use the full Instagram app. Roughly 80% of Instagram's users are based outside of the U.S. and the company is clearly making an effort to better serve its international user base.</p> <h3>The latest shot at Snapchat?</h3> <p>Facebook's embrace of Instagram's international users, including those in developing markets, stands in stark contrast to the stance of Instagram's chief competitor, Snapchat.</p> <p>Snapchat recently came under fire after <a href="http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/snapchat-evan-spiegel-only-for-rich-people-anthony-pompliano-1202028526/">it was reported</a> that the company's twenty-something CEO, Evan Spiegel, had stated in 2015 that "This app is only for rich people...I don't want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain." The claim was made in a lawsuit involving a former Snapchat executive, who had apparently offered suggestions to improve the company's performance outside countries like the U.S.</p> <p>Snapchat has denied the report, but it's worth noting that while Instagram has a web app that is now growing its functional footprint, Snapchat still doesn't have a mobile website, so even if Snapchat CEO Spiegel isn't anti-"poor countries" as claimed, it doesn't appear that Snapchat is willing to go to the same lengths as Instagram is to court new users in places where a mobile web app would help its adoption.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7738/Screen_Shot_2016-08-04_at_14.42.36.png" alt="insta stories" width="591" height="347"></p> <p>Meanwhile, even though Facebook has been criticised by some observers for copying features from Snapchat, the tactic doesn't seem to be bothering users. For example, since launching its Snapchat Stories clone, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68142-instagram-stories-what-do-marketers-need-to-know/">Instagram Stories</a> has now surpassed 200m daily users, well above the 160m daily users Snapchat Stories reported in Q4 2016.</p> <p>For brands active on Instagram and Snapchat, the divergent strategies are worth noting for a couple of reasons.</p> <p>First, Instagram's willingness to offer a mobile web app and bring it closer to parity with the features of its native mobile apps could increasingly have an impact on the companies' respective growth rates. In the past year, Snapchat <a href="https://www.recode.net/2017/2/2/14492182/snapchat-user-growth-slowing-ipo">appears to have hit a growth plateau</a> and if it doesn't find a way to get its growth engine fired up again in a big way, it could find that it has permanently lost ground to Instagram, which has gained 100m users in the past four months alone.</p> <p>Second, for brands looking for a platform through which they can reach a global audience, it increasingly appears that Instagram is eating Snapchat's lunch. While Snapchat could argue that its smaller, first-world-dominated userbase is more valuable, as Facebook brings Facebook-like self-serve advertising to Instagram, Instagram's massive reach coupled with granular targeting could make it a much more versatile and attractive ad platform.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69052 2017-05-09T10:00:00+01:00 2017-05-09T10:00:00+01:00 How VisitScotland is transforming the traditional tourist body Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a summary of what he said along with some further insight into the topic in general.</p> <h3>Promoting the bigger picture</h3> <p>VisitScotland’s aim is to become more than just a traditional tourism website. While it is still very much focused on attracting new people into the country, as well as providing sufficient information during their visit, its strategy is also to sell Scotland as part of the global marketplace.</p> <p>Its core aim is to build equity within the nation based on factors like heritage and history. Its second is to demonstrate other attributes – such as innovation or an inclusive society – that people outside of Scotland might not know about. </p> <p>Luckily, one facilitates the other, with Scotland’s biggest assets – i.e. its people and place – providing a natural halo effect for other sectors and products, such as academia or trade and investment.</p> <h3>Forging strategic partnerships</h3> <p>Alongside marketing via its own channels, a big part of VisitScotland's strategy is to increase visibility through strategic partnerships.</p> <p>It has recently signed a deal with TripAdvisor to work on a joint marketing campaign, designed to target potential travellers who aren’t necessarily considering Scotland as a destination. For example, if a user is researching other places associated with golf or hiking, they'll be served ads promoting similar activities in Scotland.</p> <p>By capitalising on TripAdvisor’s large and loyal customer-base – those who typically visit the site to seek advice – it will be able to reach a new and untapped audience. </p> <blockquote> <p>At this point, we're less concerned how people come across Scotland (in terms of channel) - only that at the point of research or booking they’re getting the very best experience possible. </p> </blockquote> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5849/TripAdvisor.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="492"></p> <h3>Getting social users to take action</h3> <p>While partnerships provide a platform, VisitScotland also heavily relies on word of mouth as the ultimate marketing tool. After all, 92% of consumers are said to trust a recommendation from a friend rather than an ad. When it comes to the inspiring nature of travel, nothing beats hearing about someone else’s first-hand experience.</p> <p>With the aim of nurturing the existing goodwill that exists for the country, VisitScotland increasingly invests in channels that enable people to spread the word. However, it also recognises that being active on social media is not enough. The key is in mastering the technical aspects of social that prompt people to take action.</p> <p>So what exactly turns a passive social user into an actual consumer?</p> <p>Charlie suggests that it is never one great campaign or a single viral video, but an accumulative experience people have over time. This also falls into the mind-set of the millennial audience – a traveller who is much more interested in experiencing a culture from a local's perspective than that of a holiday-maker or tourist. Channels like Instagram, where users can upload and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68604-why-ugc-is-the-future-of-social-media-in-travel-and-tourism-marketing/" target="_blank">share their own authentic experiences</a>, are highly effective for driving advocacy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5850/Instagram_VS.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="517"></p> <h3>Using the political climate to its advantage</h3> <p>So, what about marketing a country in the midst of political upheaval?</p> <p>Charlie says that, instead of being a negative, politics can actually make people more engaged in a country or the conversation that surrounds it. This is because modern travellers are also increasingly interested in finding out about socio-economic or political factors – e.g. a sense of fairness or opportunity – as an integral part of travel. To ignore this would result in a less authentic experience. </p> <blockquote> <p>Any negative sentiment that exists could provide the ideal opportunity for us to talk about Scotland and what is has to offer in a positive way. </p> </blockquote> <h3>Creating an emotional pull</h3> <p>When it comes to attracting consumers, the problem for most national tourism bodies is direct competition from travel providers such as Skyscanner or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68330-an-in-depth-analysis-of-how-expedia-converts-visitors-into-customers-part-one/" target="_blank">Expedia</a> and indeed sites like TripAdvisor. </p> <p>One reason people might naturally turn to these instead is likely to be a perceived lack of digital innovation. In the past year or so, VisitScotland has been working hard to dispel this notion, combining new technology with emotive or story-focused content to engage potential consumers. Its VR app, which allows users to explore iconic locations in 360-degrees, is just one example of this.</p> <p>Lastly, instead of fighting against the competition, the brand also recognises that greater opportunity arises from working together. By creating and providing quality content to consumers, regardless of where they come across it, VisitScotland ensures it is able to spread its message to as many people as possible.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Caught on camera, one of the sweetest moments <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/spring?src=hash">#spring</a> brings! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WildAboutArgyll?src=hash">#WildAboutArgyll</a> IG/jonathanwillb <a href="https://t.co/V8yYLqwncD">pic.twitter.com/V8yYLqwncD</a></p> — VisitScotland (@VisitScotland) <a href="https://twitter.com/VisitScotland/status/858243210384211969">April 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68849-three-reasons-to-appreciate-visitscotland-s-tourism-website/" target="_blank">Three reasons to appreciate VisitScotland’s tourism website</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67952-five-tourism-websites-guaranteed-to-give-you-wanderlust/" target="_blank">Five tourism websites guaranteed to give you wanderlust</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69045 2017-05-08T14:00:00+01:00 2017-05-08T14:00:00+01:00 A day in the life of… Digital Marketing Manager for Good Energy Nikki Gilliland <h4><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5786/Adam-Johnstone.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="518"></h4> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em>Adam Johnstone:</em> My role as digital marketing manager at Good Energy is pretty broad. I've been in the role for over seven years, during which time I've set up and maintained all digital channels. I've also overseen the development of three websites, an app and two online customer self-serve portals. </p> <p>As well as helping to shape our digital strategy, I love getting my hands dirty by diving in to our data to glean insight in to what is and what isn't working. This analysis allows me to improve conversion rates and ultimately user experience.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> I sit within the digital team, reporting in to the marketing director.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role and in energy/utilities?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> As well as maintaining an understanding of digital channels and how they're continually evolving, it's really important to never lose sight of the bigger picture – what is the company mission and what goals am I trying to achieve? </p> <p>For me, measuring performance and keeping on top of what competitors are doing are critical benchmarks for success. It's also essential to put the customer first, which is why I approach all UX updates to our website, app and online service by first mapping out our customer requirements. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5789/good_energy.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="421"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Tell us about a typical working day…</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> The first thing I'll do each day is to check in on our digital performance from the past 24 hours. This includes a quick dive in to Google Analytics and my custom reports in Data Studio. We'll then have a team stand-up to briefly cover all of the actions for the day. </p> <p>At the moment, a typical day for me is prioritising the functional upgrades to our website, app and online portal, as well as working on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">CRO projects</a> to help deliver a first-class customer experience. Good Energy is committed to a business-wide <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a>, so there's plenty of work to be done in order to achieve that.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> I love the fact that Good Energy is an ethical business and has strong values to which I'm aligned with. Good Energy was set up as a renewable energy solution to help tackle climate change. I feel a real sense of achievement every time I convert a user online; it really does go a long way towards helping our mission. </p> <p>In terms of what sucks, it has to be those times when I'm slogging through data to find that small nugget of insight that could prove valuable. Obviously it's all worth it when I do find it!</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> I have a number of goals across different areas of digital. From a website point of view, I need users to be showing interest, maybe signing up to the newsletter or getting an energy quote. Ultimately, the primary goal is to switch as many users as possible to Good Energy. </p> <p>In terms of the app and online portal, the goals here are more around customer retention and ensuring customers can self-serve with ease. I monitor various metrics and KPIs all the way through the funnel, whether that's social or PPC reach, email open and click-through rates and user interactions online such as device, location, demographic, pages viewed etc. All metrics feed in to goals and conversion rates. </p> <p>Keeping a close eye on conversions and CPA is essential for any digital progression and CRO next steps.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> I'll start with the classics, so Google Analytics for data and Moz for SEO. Other great tools include Optimizely and HotJar for A/B testing and CRO, Fresh Relevance for web drop off / retargeting, Affilinet for affiliate marketing and Socialbakers for complete social channel management. </p> <p>But for me, the most exciting new tool to the market has to be Google Data Studio. I went to see Google last year and this was something they mentioned was in the pipeline for release in 2017. Sure enough it's now readily available and is proving to be a fantastic way to collate digital data in to one place, whilst making it look pretty at the same time.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How did you get started in marketing, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> I'm completely self-taught, having fallen in to the world of marketing following my app development background. I've also been lucky enough to polish my digital skills with guidance from some of the best London agencies around. </p> <p>With my skill set I plan to steer Good Energy through this period of digital transformation, as well as continue to learn new skills through networking and events. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">You might not be aware of the investment we put into the communities close to our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/energy?src=hash">#energy</a> farms. Here's one of the projects we've supported <a href="https://t.co/NcCT3H8uba">pic.twitter.com/NcCT3H8uba</a></p> — Good Energy (@GoodEnergy) <a href="https://twitter.com/GoodEnergy/status/854334157597675520">April 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h4> <em>E:</em> Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> I'm a big fan of what Sky and Nationwide are doing at the moment. I often refer to both of them as great examples for best in class digital estate and customer experience.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Do you have any advice for people who want to work in marketing?</h4> <p><em>AJ:</em> Don't get complacent and never stop learning, particularly when it comes to digital. Everything moves so fast, so it's important to stay on top of trends and not get left behind.</p> <p>I find there are so many great resources and events out there which can help with staying in the loop. Just get involved!</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69053 2017-05-04T11:30:00+01:00 2017-05-04T11:30:00+01:00 How Maserati uses influencers to drive its Instagram strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>So, why the rolling strategy? Here’s a bit more on the campaign and how it makes a refreshing change from the Instagram feeds of other automotive brands.</p> <h3>Bespoke and refreshed content</h3> <p>Disclaimer: I’m not the biggest car fan. One aspect that fails to interest me (especially when it comes to the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67604-what-s-the-point-of-social-media-for-luxury-brands/" target="_blank">social media</a> activity of brands) is the repetitive nature of the content. </p> <p>How many different ways can you photograph a car? This is a deliberately shallow point of view, of course, but it perhaps demonstrates why Maserati has created a strategy that is based upon diversity and change.  </p> <p>Every month, the brand partners with an influencer from a different industry or profession. The list ranges from chef Francesco Mazzei to photographer Darryll Jones. The latest has been an ambassador for VisitScotland – landscape photographer Marc Pickering. It’s not just a case of the brand posting the occasional image either. The influencers are in total control of the Maserati account, with a new person taking over from the last at the start of each month. With a continual cycle of fresh content, the result is an incredibly varied and interesting feed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5857/Maserati_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="506"></p> <h3>Socially inclusive campaign</h3> <p>While Instagram is known for being a channel based on exclusivity, with some brands even <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68119-how-everlane-is-using-an-exclusive-instagram-account-to-strengthen-customer-loyalty/" target="_blank">creating private accounts</a> to build on this notion – Maserati aims to be socially inclusive instead.</p> <p>Of course, Maserati is a luxury brand with a price point to reflect this. However, the strategy is designed to attract people with a wide range of interests. So, whether potential consumers are into fashion, travel or sports – the idea is that there is bound to be an influencer that they can identify with. </p> <p>Meanwhile, this also allows the brand to showcase a wide range of cars and how they can thrive in specific contexts. For instance, while an influencer like the Dapper Chapper uses the GranCabrio MC for a trip around Chelsea, photographer Joshua Cowan uses the far more robust Maserati Ghibli to tackle the bendy roads of the Lake District.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5855/Lake_District.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="547"></p> <h3>Reaches a wider audience</h3> <p>As well as creating bespoke content, the takeover campaign has also allowed Maserati to increase its reach, capitalising on the existing audiences of the influencers themselves.</p> <p>Tallia Storm, for instance, has over 209,000 followers on her own Instagram channel. By promoting the partnership across all her social media, she is likely to have attracted users who would otherwise be unaware or unlikely to engage with a car brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5856/Tallia_Storm.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="322"></p> <p>Granted, not everyone involved has over 200,000 followers, however by choosing personalities with a smaller yet highly active and engaged audience, Maserati hopes to tap into high levels of authenticity and consumer trust.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67877-how-automotive-brands-are-blurring-the-lines-between-digital-reality/" target="_blank">How automotive brands are blurring the lines between digital &amp; reality</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66853-what-can-brands-learn-from-automotive-website-trends/" target="_blank">What can brands learn from automotive website trends?</a></em></li> </ul> <p><strong><em>For more on influencer marketing, download Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers" target="_blank">Rise of Influencers</a> report.</em></strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4148 2017-05-02T12:45:00+01:00 2017-05-02T12:45:00+01:00 Social Media Platforms Overview <p>Part of our <a title="Social Media Best Practice Guide" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-best-practice-guide/">Social Media Best Practice Guide bundle</a>,<strong> we've updated and refreshed this report for 2017</strong> to reflect on the latest trends and to provide <strong>a snapshot of the major social media platforms and the most pressing considerations for marketers looking to generate the most value from social media</strong>, as well as what to consider when making the business case for social media platforms.</p> <p>From Snapchat Lenses and Geofilters and authentic content such as Live Video to the opportunities of augemented reality and chatbots in social media, we've got the latest trends covered in this 2017 edition of Econsultancy's social platforms overview. </p> <p>The report provides a summary of the main features of social media platforms, and outlines some of the options available to marketers when developing a paid, owned and earned strategic approach to social media marketing and communications.</p> <p>Throughout the report, we bring you <strong>examples of how companies are using social media in different ways, as well as insights from companies interviewed</strong> specifically for this guide.</p> <p>For more details on <strong>best practice approaches, techniques, challenges and opportunities for creating your social media strategy</strong>, read the complementary <strong><a title="Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-strategy-best-practice-guide/">Social Media Strategy Best Practice Guide</a></strong>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_IhT9S2YEyY?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h2>Methodology</h2> <p>The methodology involved two main phases:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Phase 1:</strong> Desk research to identify relevant issues, examples and models.</li> <li> <strong>Phase 2:</strong> A series of in-depth interviews (20 interviews in total) with a range of senior digital and non-digital marketers, communications leads and social media strategists. Interviewees for the research covered sectors as diverse as aerospace, retail, hospitality, public sector (including government), SaaS, FMCG, non-profit, agency, financial services and media.</li> </ul> <h2>Lead author</h2> <p>The lead author for our social media best practice guides is <strong>Michelle Goodall</strong>, an experienced consultant. She has more than 17 years’ B2C and B2B experience client and agency-side, providing digital transformation and social media strategy advice and support.</p> <p>She has worked with a wide range of clients, including London2012, BBC, Direct Line Group, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Barclays Bank, Coca Cola, Unilever, US Embassy, and many others.</p> <p>Michelle is a trainer and consultant for Econsultancy and can generally be found curating things that smart people write / make / do and getting to grips with Peach and other peripheral / transformative / game-changing technologies for her clients.</p> <h2>Contributors</h2> <p>The author and Econsultancy wish to extend sincere thanks to the following respected professionals who have contributed to the report:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Vikki Chowney</strong> – Director of Content &amp; Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies</li> <li> <strong>Marisol Grandon</strong> – Head of Creative Content, The Department for International Development (DFID)</li> <li> <strong>Will McInnes</strong> – Chief Marketing Officer, Brandwatch</li> <li> <strong>Kerry Taylor</strong> – Senior Vice President Director of Television, MTV Networks</li> <li> <strong>Tom Barker</strong> – Head of Digital, National Trust</li> <li> <strong>Rachel Miller</strong> – CEO, IC Crowd</li> <li> <strong>Stephen Waddington</strong> – Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum</li> </ul>