Organic Reach on Social Media is Declining—Here’s What to Do About It

Organic reach is in decline. Call the authorities. Call the doctor. Call someone, because this is changing the way businesses use social media.

Organic reach for Facebook Pages fell 52 percent in 2016. That’s one of many statistics that speak to how both algorithms and competition—in terms of the amount of content that’s being shared—are drastically changing the way we consume media.

This also means your beloved social media content strategy isn’t reaching as many people as before. What to do? Here are four ways to deal with the decline in organic reach.

4 ways to tackle a decline in organic reach on social media

1. Create unique content for each platform

Be where your audience is. More and more users are consuming media in the same place they’re doing their networking—it makes sense to deliver content to them directly and to not take them away from their favorite online communities.

This is known as a distributed content strategy. Instead of driving visitors back to a blog or landing page, produce content that allows your audience to remain on the platform they’re using. Make sure that each of your social media channels features unique content that differs from one another. This strategy also works in tandem with platforms like Snapchat and Instagram that work to keep users contained in the app.

We use the same kind of content strategy here at Hootsuite.

For example, Hootsuite’s Snapchat channel is meant to showcase behind-the-scenes content. It’s a backstage pass to what it’s like working at Hootsuite.

This is a lot different from our Twitter handle—which is tailored to promoting the Hootsuite blog, thought pieces from our CEO, and articles circling the industry. Twitter is also where we fuel online discussion—it’s where our Twitter chat #HootChat is hosted every Thursday.

Meanwhile, on Facebook we share Instant Articles and broadcast live video.

2. Feature someone else’s content

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to marketing—it’s not all about you. It’s not all about pushing out your content over and over again, hoping that your audience will become obsessed with everything your brand has to say.

Recognize that social media is about being social. That means sharing other people’s content and not just your own. Take the time to monitor your audience. Find out what engages them, what they want to learn, and what could be helpful to them. Use these insights to start curating content that you know will suit their interests.

By catering to your readers, you position your brand as one they can trust—and one that cares about what they want.

Sharing relevant content also positions your brand as a thought leader who knows what’s happening in the industry and is happy to share that information with its customers.

Serve real value to your readers—it’s not always about them knowing what your company can do for them.

Having curated content also saves you time, is cost-efficient, and keeps things moving when it comes to finding variety. It’s why Hootsuite’s social media team adopted the hashtag, #ChoiceContent. Our social team zones in on what they think audiences would like and we push that content forward. We also publish any content that we as a social media company find useful and engaging.

If we see something of value—we want to share that nugget of wisdom with you too.

We’re also lucky to have content swap relationships with other publishers in the social media business like Forbes and MailChimp. This is a mutual relationship, where both Hootsuite and our partners drive traffic to one another’s social media channels.

It’s a win-win situation that will help align your brand with like-minded organizations in your industry.

3. Know the algorithms

As soon as you log in, your news feed and online behavior is being scanned and noted. Most social media platforms use algorithms, which are designed to deliver the most relevant content to each individual user—giving preference to posts from family and friends, for example.

As a social media marketer, your best bet to make the most out of these formulas is to study them closely and understand how they work.

Here’s a quick low-down of what to expect from some of our favorite social media platforms:

There’s as many as 100,000 factors that influence the Facebook algorithm alone. Most of these factors are based on how users behave and how they interact with content they like. Considering how user behavior is always changing, we recommend keeping up-to-date with how each platform ranks content.

4. Put budget behind your content

Social media ads, sponsored content, and boosted posts—these are the best ways to reach your audience amongst the onslaught of content swirling about in the WWW.

In over 475 online advertising campaigns, Nielsen Brand Effect found that ad recall on Instagram exceeded the norms for online advertising by almost three times. In other words, Instagram ads are memorable; they make a lasting impression on the people that see them.

We took a look at popular paid channels like Facebook Ads (the same tools as Instagram Advertising), LinkedIn Ads, and Twitter Ads. Here’s what we found to be the most valuable reasons to get into social media advertising across all networks:

  • Get higher conversions—You’ve got control over where your ad is displayed, when it goes out, and who it gets delivered to. With these targeting options, getting your content noticed is much easier.
  • Create ads easily—Use ad formats to create ads quickly. Facebook has a variety of ad types to choose from including slideshow ads, video ads, dynamic ads, and more.
    See results—Create custom reports based on the metrics you care about most. See your top-performing ads, where your leads are coming from, and how audiences are engaging with your content.
  • Make it mobile-friendly80 percent of social network users access social media via mobile. You’re not missing out on any of that number by creating social ads that consider both mobile and web display.

At Hootsuite, our social team uses social advertising to boost content that’s already doing well organically. If it’s gaining views, shares, and impressions without paid promotion—imagine how well it’s going to do with the help of a social ad boost.

Looking to add fuel to the burning fire that is your social media marketing content? Put some budget behind it using AdEspresso by Hootsuite or Hootsuite Ads. Both are powerful options that make it easy to create, manage, and optimize campaigns.

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Brand TLDs vs .com (part two): How can brands benefit from a .brand domain?

In part one a few weeks ago, we discussed what brand TLDs (top level domains) are, which brands have applied for them, and why they might be important.

Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at the potential benefits for brands, and explore the challenges brand TLDs could help solve.

Content produced in association with Neustar.

Recap: what brands are doing

Tech powerhouse Google has brought together content from more than 19 existing blogs under one roof at www.blog.google, and this site is now Google’s corporate blog. It has also rolled out www.environment.google, which hosts information about the company’s environmental and sustainability work, as well as its future goals.

Financial services brands have followed suit, with the homepage of UK bank Barclays, for example, now found at www.home.barclays instead of the historically used barclays.com URL. Statistically, more than half of all brand TLDs fall into either financial or technology verticals.

Other recognizable brands including Canon have also made the transition. Perhaps seeking to further separate its global and regional brand propositions, Canon has shifted its global homepage canon.com/global to global.canon.

Brand TLDs are generally popular among large multinational companies – more than 40% of brand TLDs have been applied for by Fortune 500 companies, including BMW, which now displays its vision for the next 100 years at www.next100.bmw. Other companies using TLDs include Dell, Deloitte, Nike, NFL, Chanel, Microsoft, Audi and many more.

.brand: the benefits

When generic TLDs (gTLDs) like .guru, and .ninja were authorised by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN), there was much debate over the potential SEO benefits. One notable and much-publicized example was www.coffee.club, which ranked on page one of US SERPs for ‘Coffee Club’ just a week after launching.

However, Google was quick to quash speculation of gTLD favouritism in its rankings. In July 2015, webmaster trends analyst John Mueller published a post to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog entitled ‘Google’s handling of new top level domains’, to clear up misconceptions surrounding gTLDs. He did so in two short sentences: “Our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.”

In other words, second-guessing Google’s search algorithms has become a fool’s errand. So why have so many major brands got on board? Well, a .brand TLD has several other benefits that make it an attractive prospect.

1. Web usability

Shorter, simpler URLs are more memorable and easier to understand. Removing the .com means the new URL contains more salient information in a smaller space, and front loads the URL with the most important information first.

This makes the link’s destination clearer, requiring the reader to expend less effort to understand it. For example, when navigating to the Microsoft website, a user is likely to already know which brand or product they’re after.

So the most important piece information is the part of the website you’re on. The new URL www.surface.microsoft delivers this information more efficiently and more intuitively than, say, www.microsoft.com/surface.

This may seem trivial, but when it comes to web usability, these tiny differences are crucial. Google itself has weighed in with its number one piece of advice for URL structure: keep it as simple as possible.

Semantically meaningful URLs are just as important as simple ones – both make URLs more user-friendly. Having a short, meaningful URL can improve click-through rates from link sharing. By comparison, complicated, meaningless URLs are off-putting to users as they don’t clearly indicate their destination.

Another benefit of .brand URLs is simply reducing the length of the URL. Greater creativity ‘before the dot’ means less detail is required with multiple slashes and long paths following the Top-Level Domain. Shorter URLs often go hand in hand with higher rankings, although there are other factors at play. Rand Fishkin, head of SEO website Moz, explains URL structure best practice in this Quora answer:

“We’ve done a bunch of analysis on this and shorter URLs are certainly more correlated with higher rankings. In our rank modeling, it appears to be a small input, but things like dynamic strings (the use of the ‘?’ character) appear to be surprisingly negative. My advice would be to worry less about length and more about making them static, using keywords intelligently (but not in a spammy fashion) and ensuring that they’re also usable and sharable.”

2. Brand differentiation

Brands are always looking for ways to stand out from their competitors. Generic TLDs like .info and .cafe achieve this to some extent, but a .brand TLD allows a company to really own its web presence, and helps to create a unique experience for customers using their brand each and every time.

What’s more, the limited availability of .brand TLDs will temporarily help brands differentiate themselves from those that failed to acquire them. With only around 600 brands signed up and a second application round not expected for another few years, owning a .brand TLD has become something of a badge of honour and a potential competitive advantage.

3. Microsites

Finally, .brand TLDs are perfect for creating microsites for individual products, services or events. Compartmentalizing in this way gives brands greater scope to optimize and personalize the experience of users landing on the site.

A speculative example would be the next iPhone launch, which will likely have its own dedicated microsite. This resource allows Apple to tightly control how they roll out their product online, and gives them a unique, information-heavy, and shareable URL – which could be something like www.iphone8.apple. Those taking care of Apple’s intellectual property and domain names will be relieved not having to worry about the availability of domains in the future or keeping product names silent for fear of losing out or expensive buy backs.

4. Safety and security

For large brands, copycat websites are a serious concern. A negative experience on a fake version of a brand’s website can damage the original’s reputation, despite the brand having no hand in creating it.

A .brand URL safeguards that brand’s supply chain by offering a guarantee to customers that they’re on an authentic website. As the brand manages all second-level domains, only the brand itself can use their TLD. This is good news for brands that rely heavily on consumer trust, such as those in the financial services and technology industries. It’s no surprise, then, that more than half of all brand TLDs fall into these verticals – .sony, .google and .dell are just a few examples.

Going forward…

The road is long for .brand TLDs, but there certainly seems to be significant benefits for brands and consumers.

To learn more, join our webinar hosted by ClickZ Intelligence, Neustar and featuring other industry experts from Major League Baseball and VaynerMedia on February 28 at 2pm EST / 11am PT. We’ll cover everything you need to know about branded TLDs, exploring their history, benefits, limitations, implications and everything in between. Click here to register your interest.

 

This content has been produced in association with Neustar. Click here to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ClickZ.

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How One Travel Brand Uses Social Media to Reach a Global Audience

Social media continues to change the way we buy. As a global brand, how do you adapt to reach your customers?

In this episode of the Hootcast podcast, we chat with Arnaud de Broves, digital marketing manager at leading hotel operator AccorHotels, about their strategy for reaching customers at every stage in the buyer journey.

Hootsuite’s Jaime Stein follows up with tips for brands looking to better connect with customers on social.

Press play to hear the show in its entirety, or if you don’t have a set of earbuds handy, read the transcription of our conversation with AccorHotels below.

In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important to reach customers on social
  • How global brands do social across timezones
  • What the “experience economy” is and why it matters
  • How brands are delivering amazing experiences on social

Q&A with AccorHotels digital marketing manager Arnaud de Broves

How has social media changed the tourism and hospitality industry? Why do you believe it’s important for hotels to adapt to these changes?

Around 77 percent of travelers look for their next travel destination on social media. During their stay—whether they are in a hotel, Airbnb, or hostel—one third of travelers publish pictures on their social networks’ personal accounts. So we know that our customers share their experiences on social media. Therefore, any travel-related company has no choice but to be active on social media, too.

What has AccorHotels been doing to adapt to these changes to be more customer-centric?

We have identified the customer journey of an AccorHotels client with seven steps. These steps are: dream, select, book, prepare, stay, share, and return. Our digital plan aims at being present at each step of this journey.

Today we own around 4,000 Facebook Pages within the AccorHotels group. We came up with a solution to give our local teams and hotels the opportunity to become more efficient when it comes to managing their social accounts.

Our solution is the Social Desk. The Social Desk is the AccorHotels global tool aimed at enhancing our social presence at every stage of the journey and helps our brands and hotels be more efficient.

It has been built around three pillars. The first one is the inspiration platform, which has example content for our local brands to get inspiration. The second pillar is a training platform where teams can learn about social networks and how to manage them. And the third pillar is the management tools that we offer to the hotels. Two of them are Hootsuite Amplify and Hootsuite Enterprise, which are adapted for all hotels to manage their social media presence.

AccorHotels has over 4,000 hotels in 92 countries on five continents. As a global brand how does the Social Desk allow you to give a consistent experience to all your customers in every region?

One of our big aims over the next 12 months is to increase social media maturity across all departments. By bringing everyone to a similar level with training, consistent content, and social management, we can offer a consistent experience across 4,000 hotels globally.

And what is the thinking behind an innovation like the Social Desk?

The main idea behind the Social Desk is to change the way we manage social media among our brands’ teams, which includes strategies, guidelines, and recommendations for the hotels.

Before the Social Desk, our hotels’ online presences were very isolated from one another. That’s when we realized we needed a global tool. The Social Desk provides one tool adapted for multiple teams, which is key for the success of our hotels.

Well, it definitely sounds like the right tool given what you’re trying to accomplish. So, in your experience do you have a success story that you could share with us about the Accor Social Desk?

A big goal of the Social Desk is to have 100 percent of our hotels active on social media. If we take Facebook, for example, in one year we achieved 1,500 active pages when there were only 700 a year ago. We see this increased adoption as the first big indicator of success.

One last question for you. In one of your talks here at Hootsuite I heard you mention the ‘Thank You Score.’ Could you tell our listeners about what that is and what it means to you?

The Thank You Score measures the happiness of our customers on social media. For example, if someone complains on Twitter saying that a hotel bathroom was dirty, our goal is to end the conversation with a message from this customer saying thank you to customer care. It means that we’ve fixed the problem and that the customer who was angry is now happy with the relationship that we have.

I remember you saying people are just as likely to Tweet or post about a problem as call the front desk. So to be able to monitor guest feedback and turn customer complaints into a thank you or positive experience means that a guest is more likely to recommend or re-book with you in the future.

Absolutely. It’s very important that we never forget the last two steps of the consumer journey, which are share and return. We’re much more likely to get positive reviews on Booking.com, TripAdvisor, or Facebook—and of course, return—when the customer is happy.

Exactly. A successful customer journey ends in a bit of a loop. And that is definitely important here in the tourism and hospitality industry, but really this thinking can be applied to any business out there.

Thank you for joining us and sharing your story.

Listen to the Full Episode

Six stats on the importance of trust in influencer marketing

Image by Walter Lim, available via CC BY 2.0

Successful influencer marketing depends on trust. 

Influencers need to establish trust with their audiences in order for their posts to resonate. Brands and agencies conducting campaigns must establish trust with their influencers if they want their campaigns executed effectively.

Consumers are inundated with media competing for their attention, and consumers’ trust for brands is lower than it’s ever been. This makes establishing trust with your audience harder and more important than ever.

Generally, people trust their peers and the recommendations that they provide. So to cope with this battle for trust, savvy marketers are turning to influencer marketing to take advantage of these peer recommendations and build trust with their audiences.

Don’t just take my word for it — look at the statistics.

“Only 22% of brands are trusted.” (Havas Media)

That’s a frightening metric for any marketer. Without establishing trust between your brand and your audience, it’s nearly impossible to market your product or service. So marketers are faced with the difficult question of how to create and maintain trust with their audience.

61% of women said they won’t engage with an influencer’s sponsored content if it doesn’t feel genuine.” (Bloglovin)

Trust and authenticity are critical for engagement in any influencer campaign. Without trust, the content that you’re hoping will build engagement won’t feel genuine and won’t resonate with your desired audience.

Low trust equals low engagement, and a pattern of this can erode an influencer’s audience over time. While this report references women specifically, these principles are applicable across the influencer marketing sphere.

“43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news.” (Forbes)

According to a survey of 1,300 millennials carried out by Forbes, young people prioritise trusting a company or news site before they will look at any content it produces. As Dan Schawbel of Forbes wrote, “Millennials connect best with people over logos.”

If trust isn’t established, millennials may not even interact with your content. An influencer can get a lot of attention, but the only attention that matters for your brand is authentic, genuine interaction that builds trust between you and the audience.

“60% of YouTube subscribers say they would follow advice on what to buy from their favourite YouTube creator over a traditional celebrity.” (The YouTube Generation Study)

Celebrity spokespeople have long been considered a surefire way to build positive associations for your brand among your target audience. H&R Block wants to establish trust with their audience, so they recruit Jon Hamm to be their spokesman.

But savvy brands are turning to influencers on YouTube and other channels who have built audiences related to a shared set of interests. These placements are more authentic, and drive more brand-relevant recommendations than the generalized appeal of celebrity spots.

83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertising.” (Nielsen)

Consumers take recommendations from their peers much more favorably than the ‘recommendations’ they see in ads. They trust the opinions of their friends because they know they’re both unbiased and providing recommendations that are personalized to the individual. Influencers fit this bill nicely.

The best influencers turn down deals that don’t have a natural fit in their feed and approach branded deals without bias. Either they already love a product and are happy to endorse it, or they agree to test the product and give an honest review or endorsement.

If you find the right influencers whose personas fit your brand values, targeted to your area of interest, the recommendations they share are more personalized for their audiences.

54% of consumers believe the smaller the community, the bigger the influence.” (Technorati)

Although influencer marketing can help you reach a larger audience, ultimately, that audience doesn’t matter if it’s not the right audience. It is more valuable to show your brand to 30K likely buyers than it is to show it off to 200K totally uninterested viewers.

Finding influencers whose content and style perfectly match your brand, no matter their follower level, is a much smarter strategy than just getting as many eyes as possible. Influencers with smaller followings may have a more relevant, engaged and trusting audience because they haven’t “blown up” yet. Check the comment sections on a Kardashian-branded post and you’ll see what I mean.

To build trust with your audience, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. But you do need to foster trust between your brand and the influencer — trusting them to make content that will capture your brand values while also engaging their followers in the best way.

You can take advantage of existing marketing principles to build a playbook to engage your audience. Make use of peer recommendations from authentic influencers to drive engagement with your brand.

Brian Zuercher is CEO & Founder of SEEN, and a contributor to Search Engine Watch.

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New Feature: URL Level Keyword Reports

Page level reporting in SERPs got a huge upgrade this past month! We’ve rebuilt the Pages section in SERPs from the ground up. You can now compare multiple keywords visually along with other metrics like organic visits to a page:

To view the page level report, click the “Pages” tab in the main navigation area, or click through the main Keywords report table to load up that keyword in the page level view:

Along with our new dashboard and speed improvements, SERPs is blazing into 2017 as the premier daily rank tracking tool for savvy SEOs.

The Professional Boost: How to Go Viral on LinkedIn

Going viral is the ultimate internet-related achievement. On LinkedIn, it can do huge things for your career.

But since LinkedIn is hardly the appropriate venue for cat memes or videos of people slipping on ice, how does one go viral on everyone’s favorite social network for professionals?

Truth is, there’s no single equation that buys your content an admit one to the professional share circuit. But there are things you can do to increase its chances. It all comes down to two main considerations: the quality of content you’re creating and tactics you use to promote it.

Your content has to be good. It has to be readable. It has to be interesting. It has to be sharable. So, how do you make good content for LinkedIn?

Be an expert in your chosen field

It’s as simple as knowing your stuff. Read industry publications and blogs. Attend industry events. Be part of relevant communities online and off. Be the person that other people go to with questions. While it’s no guarantee of going viral, when you’re a wealth of knowledge, you’ll never be short on interesting things to write about. And interesting things get shared.

Read more, share the best of it

Create a reading list of your favorite professional blogs or industry publications. Take 30 minutes a day to read them. Make it part of your job. The publications don’t have to focus on what you do day-to-day—but keep it relevant.

Find the best of what’s published and share it on LinkedIn. You can even include your own thoughts on the post to make it a more compelling read and position yourself as something of a thought leader within your network. You don’t have to do this every day. In fact, you shouldn’t. Cadence should be dictated by how often you’re coming across killer articles.

Answer questions people are asking

What are the biggest pain points that your profession or industry solves? Write about them. Demystify the topic. Make it interesting. Put your own perspective on it. Pretend you’re a pricey consultant. But give the reader free advice they’d normally have to pay for. This may sound counterintuitive, but being helpful is a great way to get your content shared in a big way.

Go against the grain

The problem with conventional wisdom is that it’s conventional. It changes and improves very little. When you offer an insight or an idea that goes against what people consider to be “the right way,” they notice. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t. But you’ll always turn heads, start conversations, and consequently, provide fantastic fodder for sharing.

To be clear, there’s little value in being contrarian for the sake of it. But there’s a ton of value in being disruptive with an interesting, insightful, and fresh perspective.

While quality is at the core of most of what goes viral on LinkedIn, these tactics will help you optimize your content for a better chance to win a seat on the Viral Express.

Publish during work hours

Since it’s usually considered acceptable to use LinkedIn at work, working hours are the best time to post content to LinkedIn. Posting outside of work hours may result in your content being buried before your network can see it the next morning. Consider scheduling your posts to ensure they go out at the best time.

Make it visual

This is low-hanging fruit, but facts are facts and images get clicked. We’d never recommend using images to generate clicks without stellar content to back it up. However, including one could mean the difference between catching an influential person’s eye or having your content slide into obscurity.

Be an active user

Leave comments, like posts, and share your peers’ (good) content from time to time. Being active makes you more visible, and being visible means people are more likely to share what you’re posting. Using the platform regularly will also expose you to what other professionals are posting, which is a great way to get inspired, learn something, and connect with like-minded professionals.

Approach leaders

Are you connected with any thought leaders or well-regarded industry players? Share your best original content with them directly and ask for their thoughts. This can be a great way to get an insightful perspective and even open dialogue with them.

Need an example? Try this:

Hi Influencer Name,

I really enjoyed your recent article/piece/bit about that thing they wrote about.

I recently published an article/piece/bit about the thing you wrote about. I really appreciate your perspectives and hope that you might be able to provide yours here.

Take care,

Who knows—they may even share it. But be sincere in your request—and avoid sounding like you’re pitching something. The worst thing they can do is not answer. And if you don’t receive a response, move on.

Share with relevant groups

One of the best things about LinkedIn is all of the different industry-relevant groups you can join. These communities are a great place to connect with similar professionals, create discussion, solicit opinions, and even generate a following. Sharing content with your groups will also increase the odds of community members sharing it with their own professional networks.

Creating killer content can be a full-time job. But even the weathered professional with great writing chops, a large professional network, and something to say doesn’t bang out viral posts day after day.

The key is to focus on creating and sharing content that’s valuable, helpful, entertaining, and relevant. Do so and your chance of virality will increase tenfold. And, even if your content never sees the triple digit shares, you’ll have cemented yourself as a great source of content for an ever-growing audience of peers. At the end of the day, that’s worth a lot more than 15 minutes of LinkedIn fame.

Manage your LinkedIn presence the smart way—use Hootsuite to schedule updates, engage with followers, and measure your impact. Try it free today.

Learn More

How marketers can dive into growth marketing

Growth marketing enables marketers to explore how sales and customer success can still be part of their marketing strategy. Here’s how a business can benefit from the latest tactics in growth marketing.

Growth marketing refers to an effective combination of marketing, sales and customer success and is an integrated approach to modern content marketing. It has the potential to increase the effectiveness of a marketing strategy with the use of the most relevant tactics for each case.

Hubspot recently hosted a webinar on how content marketers can use growth marketing, with Sujan Patel, co-founder of Mailshake & Web Profits, sharing his insights on the latest trends in content marketing.

Creating a growth marketing mindset

Growth marketing can help marketers solve the problems that arise from the emergence of new platforms. It is challenging to pick the right channels for your marketing strategy, especially when cross-channel marketing requires the right strategy to maintain a consistent message across all platforms.

Moreover, as competition increases, it becomes clear that you can’t win in just one channel, but you need to explore a multifaceted approach.

A growth marketing mindset is all about:

Getting the new approach instilled into the organisation

Every department has different goals, but they can all contribute to a modern marketing strategy. Once marketers understand the problems of each department and how they are all connected, it’s time to explore how marketing can help tackle these problems.

Having an understanding of your marketing funnel

It’s critical to be aware of how people come through your funnel. What are the strengths and the weaknesses of your current marketing funnel? How can you improve it?

Setting up a framework

Sujan Patel suggests you examine the use of the bullseye framework as a way to organise your channels and decide the ones to focus on.

This splits the channels you’re using into three rings:

  • The centre ring: The centre rings consists of your top three channels, the ones that have the highest potential of gaining traction for your business. These are the most effective channels and you should keep working on maintaining their ROI.
  • The middle ring: The middle ring is about the channels that have the potential to gain traction. These may be the channels that are winning ground, but you still haven’t fully focused on their growth. This is a reminder that you should not ignore them.
  • The outer ring: The outer ring refers to the prospective opportunities, either from new and trending channels, or possible suggestions that you haven’t included yet as part of your marketing strategy.

The bullseye framework allows you to set your priorities for your planning, with the test phase still being important. You don’t need to spend too much time on long-term opportunities if you can’t offer short-term results, and also, you can’t leave out future opportunities by focusing only on what’s currently working.

Including brainstorming in the framework

The stage of brainstorming is where you can use your creativity to explore how your ideas can fit in your actual framework.

According to Sujan Patel, this is a two-stage process:

  • Ideation: this is the stage that all the team is involved to come up with new ideas
  • Implementation: this is the time to organize your ideas and see how they can be part of the ringers in your bullseye framework.

It’s useful to add as many ideas as possible. However, it’s equally important to know the problem they are going to solve. A spreadsheet can help the organisation of the ideas and how they can be part of your framework, while agility is also useful when trying to re-evaluate previous ideas.

Takeaway tips

Here are three tips to keep in mind as a takeaway from Sujan Patel on how to use growth marketing:

  1. Use your email list. If you still don’t have an email list, start building it. Upload the contacts on Facebook and use the list to create Lookalike Audiences. This way you can reach your contacts in a new platform to test click rates, try out retargeting options, find new leads and optimize the strategy accordingly.
  2. Consider podcast advertising. Podcasts can help you advertise your business on a very specific target audience. After creating your customer persona, find similar demographics and reach them in the most relevant way.
  3. Explore secondary SEO. SEO is not always a long-term goal, as your brand can still explore the idea of secondary SEO, or else the links in other sites that already rank well for particular keywords. Once your content gets mentioned in other sites, you’re increasing your chances of ranking higher once you start building your on-page SEO.

Related reading

The word INFLUENCER in bold wooden block capitals against a brown and blue wood background.
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Trash cans with srted garbage

How Brands Use Facebook 360 Video (And Why You Should Too)

As managing director of video marketing strategy agency, Hurricane, I have over 20 years’ experience creating engaging content, first for the BBC, and now for leading brands maximizing the opportunities of social media. In my opinion, now is the time to get ahead of the competition and add 360 degree content to your video strategy.

There is a lot of chatter about 360 video at the moment with everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Nicola Mendelsohn throwing their executive weight behind it. But for busy brand managers looking to put time and budget into the most effective areas, is this tech really the one to go for?

Well, let’s take a look at Facebook 360 which is a relatively new feature offering a great deal of potential for brand engagement. It allows brands to create immersive 360 degree video content in which they set the point of view, while users control the perspective with a VR headset or controls in their browser. Take this example promoting the Honda Civic at the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross which shows how visceral and immediate 360 marketing can be.

We dare you not to feel at least mildly thrilled by that. This video cuts rapidly enough that the novelty isn’t lost, and is part of an overall campaign surrounding a key event in Honda’s marketing calendar.

360 video—the next big thing?

Google has recently carried out a side-by-side trial of a 60 second 360 video ad and a standard format video as well as full-length versions. The ads ended in a specific, measurable call to action, were unlisted and unpromoted and only appeared through in-stream campaigns or peer-to-peer sharing.

They found some interesting results. While the 360 version had a lower view-through rate, it had a higher click-through rate, along with more views, shares and subscribes. There was a 46 percent higher view count of the full-length 360 video than on the standard full-length version. People who viewed the 360 video were more likely to share it copying the URL into messaging apps. As a result, the 360 ad was more cost-efficient as its cost-per-view was lower when organic and paid views were added together. People who do engage with 360 like it, as seen through their interaction with CTAs, engagement with the brand, and sharing with others.

When it comes down to it, 360 video is powerful because it combines two routes into immersion and engagement. The first-person exploration potential of Google Street View—still a powerful tool for wandering through familiar and unfamiliar places, nearly 10 years after launch—meets the emotional storytelling potential of an intimate smartphone-based video.

What makes 360 especially effective is that viewers (or perhaps ‘users’ is a more appropriate term) influence what they see and can take direct control of the narrative, or point of view. Psychological studies have shown that people feel more affinity to things that they control (part of the theory of the extension of personal self) and this programming of the human mind helps 360 connect on a deeper level than normal video.

So what exactly can brands do with 360 video?

At its most basic, 360 video allows brands to put viewers and users inside an experience—looking over the shoulder of a point-of-view character. This video by Frontline puts you in a rural village in South Sudan on the brink of famine.

Immersing viewers into the reality of daily life for people displaced by the war, surviving on food drops and U.N. support, it evokes a sense of realism and empathy that is difficult to ignore.

Meanwhile, this example from Google adds an almost game-like aspect to the video content, using perspective and movement to create a kind of puzzle—where is the camera, what is there to see, how can I move it to find out what’s happening in this scene?

This video demonstrates that 360 isn’t a gimmick. It has to be harnessed through creative filmmaking that encourages users to interact and offers some reward for exploring the 360 degree world it creates. By the time users have watched this through, they’ll know how to turn the camera so they can see the brand logo at the end.

How can brands get the most out of 360 video?

The key to success with 360 video is to make content that plays to the strengths of the tech, whilst not being overpowered by it. Start with the best practices of all video marketing: a focus on your core message, target audience, and visual strengths. From here, no matter what you create it will add to your brand story in the right way.

In addition, it’s important to think about how the content will be viewed. Facebook 360 works better with some phones than others; you can get started with any Android phone or tablet that’s come out in the last two years, but Apple devices are harder to pin down. Facebook claims anything newer than an iPhone 4S will work, but there are underlying issues with Apple’s code, including a long-running bug in Safari that prevents Facebook 360 videos from working in the browser.

360 is an exciting new tech among an ever-growing arsenal of tools for brands. Its key strengths are the depths of immersion and levels of engagement that it gives. It is certainly not for everyone, and it’s not for every brand, but it is worth considering and can really deliver results.

Use Hootsuite to upload, schedule, publish, share, and monitor your social videos from one platform. Try it free today.

Learn More

How Brands Use 360 Video (And Why You Should Too)

As managing director of video marketing strategy agency, Hurricane, I have over 20 years’ experience creating engaging content, first for the BBC, and now for leading brands maximizing the opportunities of social media. In my opinion, now is the time to get ahead of the competition and add 360 degree content to your video strategy.

There is a lot of chatter about 360 video at the moment with everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Nicola Mendelsohn throwing their executive weight behind it. But for busy brand managers looking to put time and budget into the most effective areas, is this tech really the one to go for?

Well, let’s take a look at Facebook 360 which is a relatively new feature offering a great deal of potential for brand engagement. It allows brands to create immersive 360 degree video content in which they set the point of view, while users control the perspective with a VR headset or controls in their browser. Take this example promoting the Honda Civic at the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross which shows how visceral and immediate 360 marketing can be.

We dare you not to feel at least mildly thrilled by that. This video cuts rapidly enough that the novelty isn’t lost, and is part of an overall campaign surrounding a key event in Honda’s marketing calendar.

360 video—the next big thing?

Google has recently carried out a side-by-side trial of a 60 second 360 video ad and a standard format video as well as full-length versions. The ads ended in a specific, measurable call to action, were unlisted and unpromoted and only appeared through in-stream campaigns or peer-to-peer sharing.

They found some interesting results. While the 360 version had a lower view-through rate, it had a higher click-through rate, along with more views, shares and subscribes. There was a 46 percent higher view count of the full-length 360 video than on the standard full-length version. People who viewed the 360 video were more likely to share it copying the URL into messaging apps. As a result, the 360 ad was more cost-efficient as its cost-per-view was lower when organic and paid views were added together. People who do engage with 360 like it, as seen through their interaction with CTAs, engagement with the brand, and sharing with others.

When it comes down to it, 360 video is powerful because it combines two routes into immersion and engagement. The first-person exploration potential of Google Street View—still a powerful tool for wandering through familiar and unfamiliar places, nearly 10 years after launch—meets the emotional storytelling potential of an intimate smartphone-based video.

What makes 360 especially effective is that viewers (or perhaps ‘users’ is a more appropriate term) influence what they see and can take direct control of the narrative, or point of view. Psychological studies have shown that people feel more affinity to things that they control (part of the theory of the extension of personal self) and this programming of the human mind helps 360 connect on a deeper level than normal video.

So what exactly can brands do with 360 video?

At its most basic, 360 video allows brands to put viewers and users inside an experience—looking over the shoulder of a point-of-view character. This video by Frontline puts you in a rural village in South Sudan on the brink of famine.

Immersing viewers into the reality of daily life for people displaced by the war, surviving on food drops and U.N. support, it evokes a sense of realism and empathy that is difficult to ignore.

Meanwhile, this example from Google adds an almost game-like aspect to the video content, using perspective and movement to create a kind of puzzle—where is the camera, what is there to see, how can I move it to find out what’s happening in this scene?

This video demonstrates that 360 isn’t a gimmick. It has to be harnessed through creative filmmaking that encourages users to interact and offers some reward for exploring the 360 degree world it creates. By the time users have watched this through, they’ll know how to turn the camera so they can see the brand logo at the end.

How can brands get the most out of 360 video?

The key to success with 360 video is to make content that plays to the strengths of the tech, whilst not being overpowered by it. Start with the best practices of all video marketing: a focus on your core message, target audience, and visual strengths. From here, no matter what you create it will add to your brand story in the right way.

In addition, it’s important to think about how the content will be viewed. Facebook 360 works better with some phones than others; you can get started with any Android phone or tablet that’s come out in the last two years, but Apple devices are harder to pin down. Facebook claims anything newer than an iPhone 4S will work, but there are underlying issues with Apple’s code, including a long-running bug in Safari that prevents Facebook 360 videos from working in the browser.

360 is an exciting new tech among an ever-growing arsenal of tools for brands. Its key strengths are the depths of immersion and levels of engagement that it gives. It is certainly not for everyone, and it’s not for every brand, but it is worth considering and can really deliver results.

Use Hootsuite to upload, schedule, publish, share, and monitor your social videos from one platform. Try it free today.

Learn More

A List of Weird ‘Holidays’ to Celebrate on Social Media

National holidays, campaign launches, important events—your social media content calendar should be filled with key dates and milestones for your business, and the corresponding content you’re planning to post across all your networks.

Of course, some months are busier than others. January might be a notoriously chaotic month for your business, full of product launches or big sales, but you’re then left desperate for social content during the quiet February that follows.

How is a social media manager supposed to survive these perilous periods of feast and famine? A fun option is to celebrate “micro holidays” that have universal appeal on the internet and loads of potential for creative social media campaigns.

Here’s a list of potential micro holidays you can celebrate on social media—just remember that any content you produce should still be relevant to your business and a good fit for your brand.

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

January 4
Trivia Day: #NationalTriviaDay

January 15
Hat Day: #NationalHatDay

January 17
Ditch Your Resolution Day: #DitchYourResolutionDay

January 20
Cheese Lovers Day: #NationalCheeseLoversDay

January 23
Community Manager Appreciation Day: #CMAD

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

January 25
Opposite Day: #OppositeDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

February 7
Send a Card to a Friend Day: #SendACardToAFriendDay

February 11
Inventors Day: #NationalInventorsDay

February 15
Singles Awareness Day: #SinglesAwarenessDay

February 17
Random Acts of Kindness Day: #RandomActsOfKindnessDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

February 22
Margarita Day: #NationalMargaritaDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

March 3
Day of Unplugging: #NationalDayOfUnplugging

March 14
Potato Chip Day: #NationalPotatoChipDay

March 18
Awkward Moments Day: #AwkwardMomentsDay

March 23
Puppy Day: #NationalPuppyDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

March 30
Doctors Day: #NationalDoctorsDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

April 7
Beer Day: #NationalBeerDay

April 10
Siblings Day: #NationalSiblingsDay

April 11
Pet Day: #NationalPetDay

April 20
Look-alike Day: #NationalLookAlikeDay

April 22
Earth Day: #EarthDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

April 30
Honesty Day: #NationalHonestyDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

May 2
Thank a Teacher Day: #ThankATeacher

May 4
Star Wars Day: #StarWarsDay (or #MayThe4thBeWithYou)

May 6
Nurses Day: #NursesDay

May 10
Receptionists Day: #NationalReceptionistDay

May 24
Scavenger Hunt Day: #NationalScavengerHuntDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog
June 2
Donut Day: #NationalDonutDay

June 8
Best Friends Day: #NationalBestFriendsDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

June 21
Selfie Day: #NationalSelfieDay

June 30
Social Media Day: #SMDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

July 1
Joke Day: #InternationalJokeDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

July 10
Pina Colada Day: #NationalPinaColadaDay

July 13
French Fry Day: #NationalFrenchFryDay

July 20
Moon Day: #NationalMoonDay

July 24
Cousins Day: #NationalCousinsDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

August 9
Book Lovers Day: #NationalBookLoversDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

August 12
Middle Child Day: #MiddleChildDay

August 15
Relaxation Day: #NationalRelaxationDay

August 27
Just Because Day: #JustBecauseDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

September 3
Beard Day: #WorldBeardDay

September 12
Video Games Day: #NationalVideoGamesDay

September 19
Talk Like A Pirate Day: #TalkLikeAPirateDay (or #TLAPD)

September 21
Day of Peace: #InternationalDayOfPeace

September 30
Podcast Day: #InternationalPodcastDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

October 1
Coffee Day: #InternationalCoffeeDay

October 4
Taco Day: #NationalTacoDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

October 15
Maths Day: #WorldMathsDay

October 29
Internet Day: #InternetDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

November 1
Authors Day: #NationalAuthorsDay

November 4
Candy Day: #NationalCandyDay

November 13
Kindness Day: #WorldKindnessDay

November 21
Entrepreneurs Day: #NationalEntrepreneursDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

December 4
Cookie Day: #NationalCookieDay

December 11
Mountain Day: #InternationalMountainDay

December 15
Cupcake Day: #NationalCupcakeDay

December 21
Crossword Puzzle Day: #CrosswordPuzzleDay

A List of Weird “Holidays” To Celebrate on Social Media | Hootsuite Blog

December 30
Bacon Day: #BaconDay

Bursting with ideas for an offbeat holiday campaign now? With Hootsuite, you can create your posts, publish them across multiple social networks, or schedule them in advance. Try it free today.

Learn More