As a seasoned copywriter well knows, writer’s block is a nightmare. You’re on a deadline, you have three articles due by the end of the week, and you’re desperately trying to find another way of saying ‘engage your audience’, for risk of sounding like a broken record for the fifth time.
At Make Happy, we get all kinds of questions from business owners who are just dipping their toes into the confusing and often contradictory world of digital marketing. For the last couple of years, the online advertising industry has been in a bit of a tizzy as reports of fraudulent metrics, from click wars to spambot followers, have flooded our newsfeed.
The average small business today, globally, spends 46% of their budget on digital marketing. Most businesses and marketers prioritise driving traffic to their website to impact sales, bookings or other conversions. According to a study by Forrester, Google Search ads will make up the largest proportion of ad spend by 2019.
When it comes to social media, companies often take a spontaneous approach: they have a product or service and post things that are relevant to said product or service. Now, it could be worse, i.e not being present on social media at all, but it could most definitely be better. Social media is a powerful tool which, when harnessed properly, can be used to drive more potential clients to your brand. And more clients = more potential sales or a larger network.
Running a successful business is largely about keeping your pipeline of new and repeat business filled. One of the best ways to do this is through an inbound marketing system. Why? Because it can give you the greatest reach for your cost. This is especially true for startups and small businesses that may not have the budget to hire and train an effective sales team.
Close to two-thirds of US adults are now gamers (Nielsen, 2015) – a finding shared by Peter Jonas at this year’s film music and technology festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas (March 11-20). The head of North American games and mobile app sales at Facebook told us the reason the number is so high is because it includes casual mobile gamers, who would not consider themselves to be in the same category as hardcore console players.
The number-one game genre on Facebook is slot machine games played by “mobile whales” (big spenders in-app) – of whom 73% are married with children. “Would these people identify themselves as gamers before they identify as parents, friends, executives?” asked Jonas. “The answer is no. [As a brand], are you breaking out of the stereotypes?”
Kym Nelson, senior vice-president of sales at live-streaming platform Twitch, agreed that games continue to offer huge opportunities for marketers: “[There are] 146 million women in the US who play casual games,” for example. And while mobile gaming is on the rise, it’s not cannibalising traditional console gaming: two out of three console gamers also play on mobile.
As an example of what’s possible when advertising and gaming meet, Nelson talked through the Chappie Challenge, a Twitch campaign promoting Sony’s sci-fi movie Chappie. Over a six-week period, Twitch players were able to challenge the eponymous robot to the game Evolve, with the chance to win $15,000 in prizes. The result was more than one million streams of Chappie content, 24 million impressions, and “incredible chat interaction and engagement” on Twitch.
Utility is the key for marketers when it comes to engaging gamers, according to Nelson: “Brands need to think about what value they’re offering the user playing the game.” She pointed to Covet Fashion, a fashion app that currently boasts more than three million users, as an example of a perfect symbiotic relationship between game and brand, as users “click to buy as they play the game”.
If you’re posting without a hashtag then you’re missing out on the opportunity to increase your exposure.
A hashtag is not just a tool that helps group social conversations, it brings together a vocal community of users by opening posts to be viewed by all accounts. When these users are brought together in the right way, the value of the hashtag increases.
Famously, Cancer Research UK found social users posting pictures of themselves with no makeup along-with the hashtag ‘#NoMakeupSelfie’ in order to raise donations for the charity. Impressively, in just 6 days over £8million had been donated through user generated hashtagging.
It’s not just charities that can benefit from a useful hashtag. Lancôme asked their followers to post ‘bare faced selfies’ for the launch of the DreamTone serum. Not only did they receive positive engagement on social platforms, but remarkably, the selfie gallery on the company’s website generated a 4% conversion rate for the product.
The power of a well thought through and executed hashtag has been proven time and time again. Here are three tips for using hashtags more effectively.
1. Give your hashtag a purpose:
You must be selective about the topics you’re associated with. Make a list of the 4 topics you want to become involved with and do some research into what thought leaders in those areas are already hashtagging. This will give you a baseline understanding of what’s trending in those areas.
2. A brand hashtag that resonates.
Choose one #hashtag that represents your brand’s values and also engages users to click-through or start a conversation. For example toilet paper brand Charmin uses #TweetFromYourSeat to open and encourage engagement from social fans.
3. #Don’t #overuse #the #hashtag.
Using too many hashtags actually devalues their strength. It can even cause further damage by causing a loss of followers and permanently damage your branding. Instead, Twitter officially recommends that you use no more than two #’s per tweet.
Some people use hashtags for fun, others to promote their brand, regardless, you want your posts to be simple and filled with useful content that engages the user to click on your link, visit your website or even buy your product. Hashtags, used correctly, open these posts up to a new audience.
Image: CC/BY/2.0 Ognian Mladenov
When I started my very first marketing job, many moons ago, social media was a hot topic. What should brands talk about on social media? Is it worth it? What on earth’s a hashtag? In the years that have followed, social media has gained widespread acceptance and is considered a mandatory part of the marketing mix.
However, as Mark Ritson points out in Marketing Week, the data which demonstrates the value of social media to brands is questionable at best. Reports tend to be based on users who already follow brands on social media, those who don’t are left unexamined. Further, much analysis is dedicated to the relative merits of social media channels compared to one another, Twitter vs Facebook for example, rather than Twitter vs email marketing.
So does this leave wide open the question of whether all this tweeting, posting and hashtagging is actually adding any real value to organisations? As an unashamed proponent of social media marketing I would argue no. That I have seen daily the difference social media can make to brands. However, to use social media marketing effectively I think its important to understand what social media marketing is, and what it isn’t.
What social media marketing is:
- A part of the marketing mix, to be used in conjunction with other channels and tools.
- A great way to build durable relationships, with your customers, with your future customers, with press.
- The ideal channel to show off your brand personality in fun and creative ways. To give a layer of humanity to your corporate brand.
- A way to demonstrate your passion and expertise in the field you operate in, and to activate and be a part of your customers’ passion.
- A unique tool that allows you to step in to your customers’ worlds and understand them on a human level. Find out what they like, what they hate, what inspires them and what leaves them cold.
What social media marketing isn’t:
- A magic bullet to resolve all your marketing issues
- The most effective way to drive direct sales
- A short term win
If you know what you are trying to achieve, if you are willing to put in the resource to really build an engaging and authentic social presence and if you accept that one tweet does not equal one sale, then social media can be an incredibly effective part of your marketing mix.
Photo by MKHMarketing/ Flickr/CC by 2.0
It’s a terrifying thought, but I have spent the last decade of my life writing copy for the web. Mountains of emails, legions of webpages, volumes of blogs. Along the way I like to think I’ve learnt a thing or two. And one of these things is to always ask myself these five questions when writing web copy:
1. Who is your ideal reader?
Do you have a clear sense of who you are writing for? This is vital to get the tone of voice right. Creating customer personas can be a great way of ensuring you keep your customers/clients firmly in mind when writing.
2. What exactly are you offering them?
Clearly and concisely explain to the reader what you are offering them and what action they need to take.
3. What’s so great or unique about your offer?
Explicitly state what is different about your offering.
4. So what?
Imagine you are the intended reader and ask yourself, so what? Why on earth should they care about what you have written? What’s in it for them?
5. Does it pass the Goldfish Test?
A goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds. The average human online attention span is 8 seconds. Is your copy short and simple enough to communicate to the reader everything they need to know and get them to take action in 8 seconds? Or is it compelling enough to stretch out that attention span? If not, back to the drawing board.
If you ask yourself these five questions whenever you write copy for the web then you will stand a much better chance of getting your readers to take the action you want them to, and ultimately meet your business objectives.
Photo by ulfhams_vikigur/CC