Category Archives: MKTG 1552

Top three ways how agencies should blog

Nobody reads agency blogs, and there are so many out there it’s impossible for people to keep up anyway

                    – Sam Weston, Director of Communications at digital agency Huge

Jack Marshall wrote a very interesting entry, “Agencies Ditch Blogs,” discussing more and more agencies stop blogging and start utilizing social media such as Twitter and Facebook to market themselves.

So is it true nobody reads agency blogs? Well, the answer is simple.

No one reads blogs if content is not worth reading. Period. It’s not about who blogs, but what the blog is about.

Look at blogs from Mullen and 6S Marketing, for example. Their blog posts are not only about their business, but also about trends, industry news…something they’re interested in and passionate about. I personally like reading agency blogs from time to time because their blogs are great resources to keep up with marketing trends and learn about how to engage with audience. I’m not saying that agencies who don’t blog are behind trends or not interested in interacting with their audience, but it’s much clearer to visitors including current and future clients or nerds including me that your agency knows how to build engagement and a relationship with their audience.

Then the questions is, how should agencies blog? Here are top three ways of how to do it.

1. Attract current and new clients (plus nerds like me!)

Who are most likely to read your blog? Clients, of course! Don’t just talk about awards and company news as Marshall points out in his entry. These topics will probably bore your audience easily. Tell your clients what you are passionate about, what you are interested in, what you are currently working on, or what your team is like. Let them know what your agency can bring to them. Use your knowledge and skills you’re always using for your clients for your blog. Think how you would blog for your clients and blog that way. You should know how to market yourself if you know how to market your clients.

2. Make your post simple and useful

Titles are the most important element of your entries. They should tell your audience what they’re going to read about. Make titles eye-catching but simple as well. Your content also needs to be not only simple, but also useful. Nobody wants to read long-written, complicated entries. Your clients want to read something which they can utilize for their business. Using numbers and how-to’s (like what I’m doing for this entry) are two of the most popular ways to optimize your blog.

3. Create engagement

Blogging is not about talking to yourself, but offering something valuable to your audience, and they might give something valuable back to you in return. Ask a question at the end of every post. Include your personal experience and ask your audience to share theirs too. Talk to your audience, not at them.

OK, only three ways are not enough, aren’t they? Do you have any other suggestions on how to blog for agencies? Or are you against agency blogs? If so, why? Please share your opinion in the comment box below!



Filed under Blog, MKTG 1552, Social Media

What’s all the hype about Instagram video?

On June 20, 2013, Instagram introduced a video-sharing feature which lets you record 15-second videos and add 13 different kinds of filter effects to them. As a BlackBerry user, I was (and am still) not sure how exciting this new addition is and was wondering what all the hype is about it, so I decided to look into what everyone is saying about it on social media.

I used Topsy, one of my favorite analytics tools I’ve been using for quite a while, to investigate conversations about Instagram video.

First, I typed the URL of Instagram’s blog entry on the video feature and found out that the link has been shared 16K times so far as of June 22, 2013 and 548 influencers have tweeted the link so far. When you type the URL of an article or a press release, you’ll find that most people tweet the title of the page with the link, which is not a good way to gather people’s opinions on something.

Screenshot of Twitter Trackbacks for Introducing Video on Instagram on Topsy

So, to find out what everyone thinks about the video feature, I typed two keywords, “Instagram” and “video.” When you type a keyword(s) on Topsy, you’ll see a different page than the one you see when searching for a URL. The below image is the result page of tweets for the past two hours when I did research. On the left column, you can see how many times the keywords have been tweeted for a variety of time periods and other metrics.

Screenshot of the result page of Instagram and video on Topsy

The first thing I noticed is that many people have mentioned Justin Bieber. It seems that he uploaded a video onto his Instagram account a couple of days ago.

*prayer circle for justin to do an Instagram video on stage tonight*

[tweet 348553415820967936 hide_media=’true’]

And it looks like one of his videos is the first Instagram video to reach 1 million views.

First Instagram Video To Reach 1 Million Likes Stars Shirtless Justin Bieber

[tweet 348583435268403201 hide_media=’true’]

OK, these are not what I am looking for. Move on.

Someone has already made a slideshow about how to use Instagram video for business. Will check it later. Various media have tweeted articles regarding this new feature. So this is a big change in Instagram.

Instagram Video: 5 things brands should know:  via @marshallwright

I also found one tweet saying a good thing about Instagram video and another making a suggestion about the timeline. I agree that having a tab for videos and pictures would be nice. Let’s see what Instagram will do about the interface.

Loving the Instagram video feature .. It keeps the vid in your photo library 15 seconds you can delete a section if it didnt turn out right

Instagram should make a Video and pictures tab so we don’t have to look at them both on one timeline.

Then I realized that a number of people compare Instagram with Vine.
(* To those who are not very familiar with Vine, Vine is also a popular video-recording app.)

Vine has better video quality but instagram has longer videos. Hmmmm.

I refuse to update my Instagram app. I hate the Instagram video. Long live vine.

One of my biggest pet peeves with Vine and Instagram Video apps: inability to mute and film silently.

While reading the tweets about Instagram vs. Vine, I began wondering what the difference is between them, so I searched for “Instagram” and “Vine.”

CNET has a great article regarding the comparison between the two. So basically, as the title of the article says, they’re apples and oranges. The features of each tool are very different and appeal to different types of people.

Why Instagram video and Vine are apples and oranges

[tweet 348416504150249472 hide_media=’true’]

Instagram just started the video-recording feature, so there’s still a long way to go. Instagram differentiates itself from Vine in some ways but hasn’t attracted Vine users or long-time Instagram users yet. It seems that many Instagram users are wondering if the overall quality of content will be dropped, as a ton of video selfies have been uploaded for the first few days since the feature was added. Instagram users love a number of filter effects which can change the look of photos in various ways. But the content of videos cannot be changed by the filters. Let’s see how Instagram will improve this new service.

This research tells me that you can find a variety of different perspectives on something by utilizing analytics tools, which can help to improve your company’s marketing activities. You can search for trends regarding your product/service, customers’ voices, complaints, suggestions, valuable content published by media, etc. Analyzing, measuring and evaluating your marketing activities are the key to a successful campaign.

Are you an Instagram user, Vine user, or both? Which one do you prefer and why? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

I’ll finish my Instagram video tweet hunt entry with a joke I found during my research.

#Vine: “Instagram you ok?”
#Instagram: “Im Vine”
Vine: “What did you say?”
Instagram: “I said I’m fine!”

Thanks for reading. Until the next time!


Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media, Twitter

Make your social media monitoring easier with HootSuite

* If you cannot play the video above, watch it on Vimeo.

In March 2013 HootSuite launched HootSuite Assignments, a new browser extension for Google Chrome which lets HootSuite Pro and HootSuite Enterprise users assign tasks to team members directly from Twitter and Facebook with the ability to add notes to each task. If you’re not a Pro user, you can utilize the same tool on the HootSuite dashboard which has been available to all the users but you can assign tasks and add notes only on HootSuite.

Are you wondering why you need this now because HootSuite already has the same function you can use on the HootSuite dashboard? If you’re at the office and in front of your computer when something happens to your account, you can of course easily deal with it on your HootSuite dashboard. However, everything including crises and opportunities is happening in real-time on social media. There are times when you’re not using HootSuite whether in or out of the office. Also, how long do you think you have your customer wait for when you find s/he asks you something you have to ask someone to take care of on or websites but you need to go to your HootSuite account to assign tasks to an appropriate team member? This new tool expands your monitoring abilities so that you can respond to and engage with your customers more efficiently, quickly and accurately. Moreover, you can also see the progress of tasks assigned to your team members.

You can learn more about what the HootSuite Assignments can do in their press release and blog entry.

Monitoring keywords, @replies, mentions and DM’s is important when running social media. Especially because many companies are now marketing across various online channels and running their accounts with more than one person or even across multiple departments,  it’s crucial to respond to their customers quickly and consistently. Understanding who is taking care of what and how they are taking care of it is key to giving current and potential customers satisfactory experience to build a strong relationship with them.

What do you think of this new tool? If you’re a HootSuite user, do you have anything you hope HootSuite will improve in the future?


Filed under Facebook, MKTG 1552, Social Media, Twitter

[Slideshow] 3 challenges for social media marketers

Today I’d like to talk about three challenges you’re most likely to encounter when running social media accounts for business.

Social Fish asked the attendees of its workshop what the biggest challenge they’ve ever encountered for using social media and categorizes their challenges into three groups: individual, internal process, and structure and culture challenges. I’ll pick one challenge from each category and discuss them.

* If the video won’t play, watch it on YouTube.

1. Individual Challenge: Time Management

Personally this was the number one biggest challenge when I was running a Twitter account for my client. Because everything is happening in real time and you need to react in real time too, it is hard to predict what your schedule will be like when you start a day. In the morning, your day starts as an easy one but in the afternoon it may suddenly get busy. Also, if you’re in charge of other tasks besides social media management, you must be very good at multitasking and getting things done quickly. Very quickly without errors. And it would be the worst if you’re the only one running social media while handling other projects like me… Managing your time well is key for doing social media marketing.

2. Internal Process Challenge: Competition about Message and Time

Have you ever had an experience of being asked different things by different clients from the same company/department? Say, you’re asked to create a flyer for TV. Because the space is limited, you can feature one topic and need to list others in bullet points only. Client A wants you to create a flyer featuring image quality, while Client B wants you to create one focusing on design. Would you imagine how hard it is if you’re in the same situation when you create a tweet within 140 letters and ask your clients to make a decision as soon as possible?

In addition, don’t expect everyone at your agency or client’s company knows how social media works. One day, one of our followers asked us a very technical question which neither of my client or me could answer. My client asked a technician working in a different department to answer the follower’s question. Because the technician was working in a different department than my client and (I think) didn’t know well how quickly people on Twitter usually expect to get a reply, it took a few days to get an answer from him. His answer was perfect but we kept our follower waiting for pretty long. We were not sure if he was satisfied with the answer, since we didn’t get a reply from him again.

3. Structure and Culture Challenge: Leadership

If your boss or client is open to new technology and eager to learn about it, you’re very fortunate. If they are not, I feel you. It’s a huge challenge if you are working with someone who knows little about how social media works for business but wants to take a leadership as s/he’s always been doing. You need some time and patience to educate them about social media.

Social media has changed how marketing works but also how we work. How is your workplace adopting social media? What challenges have you faced so far? Feel free to make a comment!

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Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media, Twitter

Top-ten tips for using Twitter for business

You want to use Twitter for your business and think it’s a piece of cake because you already have your personal account and have been using it for a while? Wrong! You cannot tweet random things like you do from your personal account. Moreover, you must have solid plans and strategies to reach your target.

Here’s the top-ten tips for using Twitter for business.

1. Choose a username which best describes your business

If you get an account for your company, it’s the best to choose your company’s name as your username. If you create an account for your company’s product, service, brand line or community, use its name. If the name is long, make it short. If the username you’d like to get is not available, choose a similar name. Do not create a username which is very long or does not describe what your account will be focusing on at all. The important thing is choose a simple name so that people can easily type it, remember it and recognize it as your business.

2. Engage with your audience

Push marketing won’t work on Twitter. Start a conversation with your audience and ask them questions. Retweet, favorite and reply to tweets from your audience and even those outside of your circle. Interacting with your audience is crucial to build a strong relationship between you and your audience. If someone says a good thing about you, thank them. If someone complains about you, ask them what their problem is and what you can do for them.

3. Use hashtags

Tweet with hashtags relevant to your tweets to reach wider audience. For example, if your company attends an event, use the hashtag(s) for the event. By doing so, people interested in the event or attending it can see a whole conversation regarding the event when they search for the hashtag(s). You can even create a unique hashtag for your business so that your audience can find the conversations about specific topics they’re interested in. Yet do some research before using it. Make sure your hashtag is unique. Don’t use those already used for another topic, which may confuse your audience.

4. Utilize useful Twitter tools

There’re tons of Twitter tools out there. Some of my recommendations for account management are HootSuite, TweetDeck, Buffer and Echofon. When I was in charge of a Twitter account for one of my clients, I used HootSuite. With HootSuite, you can schedule your tweets, analyze your activity, customize your stream with your timeline, @ tweets, lists, etc., and do many more. If you have multiple Twitter accounts or other social media accounts including Facebook and Google+, you can manage up to 5 accounts with HootSuite.

For URL shortening services, Bitly is the best in my opinion. Not only can you shorten links, but  you can also customize a short domain if you’re a Pro user. If you’re not a Pro user, you can still customize the ending of links (e.g. Bitly also offers the stats for all of your links. And even if you’re a HootSuite user and use links, you can also check the stats for any links you share through your account(s) by connecting your Twitter account to your Bitly.

If you’d like to know more about other awesome Twitter tools, read 10 Twitter Tools Used by Social Media Experts at KISSmetrics.

5. Analyze your tweets

Analyzing your activity is important. Check how many times your links are clicked and shared, from where and through what channel they are clicked, what the peak traffic time is and so on. Rebuild your strategies and evaluate your activity based on the analysis in order to improve your social media marketing.

6. Tweet updates on your website and other social media accounts

Never think your Twitter account and your website or other social accounts are separated things. Keep your audience updated with your online activities besides Twitter. Lead them to your website or blog. Twitter is limited in space to talk deeply about your business. Get your audience know more about you by driving traffic to your website and other social media accounts.

7. Connect your social media presence on your website

Like I said in #6, promote all of your online activities! Add a link to your Twitter account on your home page, blog, Facebook, etc. It’s also a good idea to display your timeline on your website.

8. Share photos and videos

Don’t just text tweets. Post photos and videos too. According to Track Social Blog, tweets with photos outperform text tweets by 91% for Twitter engagement. Similar data can be found for Facebook engagement at HubSpot as well.

9. Talk about non-business topics too

Show your personality! Post humorous tweets sometimes. Let your audience know who you are to make them feel close to you and want to follow your account.

10. Use effectively your profile photo, cover image, background and profile

Make sure you upload your profile photo, cover image and background to show the audience your brand story. Also, tell who you are in your user profile. It’d be nice to tell your audience when your active time is so they know when they can receive a reply from you. If you don’t plan to respond to every @ tweet, let your audience know that in advance. For example, write “Unfortunately we cannot reply to everyone, but we appreciate all of your replies.” in your profile.

I could go on and on forever but I’ll stop here. I’m sure you have other tips you want to add to this list. Please feel free to share your insights!

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Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media, Twitter

How to make selling social

Whiskeydrummer raised a good point regarding my previous entry, “Make selling social to generate sales,” so I’ve made a new entry to answer his question.

So how can you make selling social?

In social marketing, when a company tries to have a conversation with the audience, they are most likely to ask a question or talk about something which relates to as many people as possible because the audience is not just one person. If your target is a niche market, your topic could be specific. However, if your business is big or your target is large, it’s almost impossible to ask something relevant to each of your audience.

Now let’s go back to the question: how to make selling social. I have to tell you one thing in advance. I have an experience of selling projects to clients but I have little experience of doing customer service or sales one, so if you find anything I’m saying wrong, please let me know.

In order to make selling social, a company must have a meaningful conversation with a customer which makes him/her want to share the story like Zappos did with Ben Knorrp. One thing which came up to my mind when thinking about how to make selling social is my former boss.

When I was working for an ad agency in Japan, I had a boss who was great at having a conversation with our clients which often led to the sales. Our clients were always so busy that we rarely had much time to talk about anything other than our business. The only time we could chitchat was when we were walking from a meeting room to the exit after the meeting was over.

One day one of our clients told my boss and my colleague that he had a tough day the previous day. My boss asked him why and he said that his team was shooting a promotion video for their new tough camcorder because they were planning to launch a YouTube page. They reached the entrance and parted. They ended their conversation. On his way to our office, my boss thought, “OK, the camcorder team is going to open their YouTube account. Then they need more videos.” So my boss and one of my colleagues who was in charge of the camcorder website immediately started to create a plan to shoot some videos for YouTube which promote how shockproof and waterproof the new camcorder is and proposed it to the client a week later. Of course, the client bought their project because that was what he wanted. What is more, the client shared this story with his colleagues. A later day, a different client of ours actually told us that he heard the story and was impressed how fast my boss and colleague made a perfect plan. So my boss successfully made selling social.

This example is not exactly about sales experience general consumers have, but you can also apply to your business if you have a chance to talk to your customers in order to make selling social. It’s like a conversation you usually have with a clerk when you check out something at a grocery store. When a customer buys something from you, have a meaningful conversation which leads to the sales next time with them. You shouldn’t just ask how they are doing, but also ask them a little bit more about their lives. Find out what they are likely to look for when they visit you next time. Maybe you can even find a hint which implies something they want in the future, though they haven’t even noticed it yet, just like my former boss did. Have a meaningful conversation and customize sales experience for each customer so that they want to buy something from you again. Or you could even tell them something they want and they may buy it. And make sure to provide memorable sales experience your customer wants to share with others.

However, if you don’t have an opportunity to have a one-to-one conversation with your customer, you need different strategies. Unfortunately my time is up, so I’ll write about it in a future post.

I hope I have answered your question adequately, whiskeydrummer.

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Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media

Make selling social to generate sales

I’ve been wondering if companies’ social marketing activities really lead to sales. I Digged Bob Knorpp’s article on Ad Age and found it very interesting, as it discusses a relationship between sales and social media from a unique angle.

As Knorpp says in the article, many still think that the objectives of social marketing are “to create engagement, gain followers or generate Facebook likes.” Yet does any of them really generate sales? They’re all important elements in social media marketing, but having engaged fans, many followers or many people who like your page doesn’t mean it directly leads to sales.

According to Knorpp, “the object of social marketing is not simply to collect audience appreciation, but to make every customer experience shareable — including the purchase.”

In the article, Knorpp shares his pleasant customer service experience with Zappos. When he sent an anonymous gift with them, the operator was so impressed by his act that this operator sent him multiple gift packages over the next two weeks. Because Knorpp was amazed by Zappos’ quality customer service, he still talks about it (And as you see, he even wrote an article about it for Ad Age).

If you’ve ever visited Zappos’ Facebook page, you probably know that Zappos is great at social media marketing. After reading Knorpp’s story, I realized that Zappos is also great at making their customers talk about them online by giving them memorable and shareable sales experience.

Zappos doesn’t do social to generate sales. Zappos makes selling social.”

Social media marketing can build a strong relationship between a company and the audience and get the public talk about the brand; however, you cannot really tell that it directly leads to sales. Knorpp is right. Customer service experience plays a big part in building the trust. If you have a bad experience of buying something from a company, you won’t probably buy anything from them again, though they have excellent social media activities. If you have great sales experience with a company, you will buy their product again. In this context, whether the company has strong social media activities or not does not really matter when making a purchase decision.

Companies should not just focus on gaining followers/fans/likes or creating engagement, but also offering customers meaningful and shareable sales experience, and get them talk about it online. By making selling social, companies can convert social media into sales.


Filed under MKTG 1552, Social Media