The bell rings and the fight begins. Shouting can be heard throughout the arena, as is to be expected on social media. Marketers debate internally about which fighter is the best pick to attract the attention of an unruly crowd. Content overload has made social media promotion into a battle of the brands. Fortunately, there is one contender that statistically outpaces other forms of content. Video enters the fray and easily takes the title of heavyweight champion. Why is video so valuable in business promotions? Keep reading for details on the content brawl.
Entering the ring as the oldest competitor is text-based content. Text has always been important and has easily won its fair share of promotions. However, as web content flourishes, text-based content begins to take a back seat. Images have increasingly won matches with text, as they receive 94% higher views than their text only counterparts (5). Text is also playing a declining role in emails. Whereas text email communications continue to serve an important function (and have less complications with email service providers), images and other visual content have assumed a dominant role. Images are important, as many readers simply scan emails (6). Images establish an emotional connection with the reader and are particularly important in lifestyle branding. To put it frankly, visual content is easier to consume than text because it uses less brain power and in crowded social spaces, it garners attention more easily.
There is more competition between video and image-based content, because they are both easier to consume than text. The fighting advantage is that unless the image is an infographic, content viewers still have to read accompanying text content. For instance, including “video” in the subject line of an email increases open rates by 13% (1). This is because of the ease of consuming video content, compared to more traditional formats. However, video’s marketing strengths don’t stop there. Video throws a left hook with higher viewer retention and engagement (2). This is directly related to consumer behavior and can be effectively demonstrated by an important concept in web design known as Flayout. Through consumer behavioral studies using eye-tracking, it was deduced that most written web content is consumed in an F-shaped pattern (3). The average user will read the headline and the first few lines of content, but reads less of the content on the right side of the page, as they get further along in the text. Since video avoids relying on eye movement and is the most visually stimulating form of content, more information can be shared with the viewer before attention is diverted.
While content overload shows no signs of slowing down, video continues to be the heavyweight contender. It even gives web pages a leg up in search page rankings and increases page views. Embedded video can increase web traffic by 55% (1) and adding video to a site can “increase the chance of a front page Google result by 53 times” (2). According to Hubspot, 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide named video as the type of content with the best ROI (4) and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, by 2019, video is expected to account for 80% of all web traffic (5). As video takes the reigns, companies need to learn the best ways to incorporate it in their marketing mix. It’s vital to develop a winning video content strategy, as well as to develop ways to understand performance of video content.
3. https://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/understanding-the-f-layout-in-web-design--webdesign- 687
Hi, thanks for visiting my articles page. You can also find a list of articles in the dropdown of the articles tab.
I had to copy all of the ISO Developers posts from the internet archive Wayback Machine, because they filed for bankruptcy and their website is not longer online. Weebly (the CMS for this site) is not kind to Copy-Paste, so I still need to go through and edit all of these posts for spacing, header fonts, etc. Please do not judge my ability to create copy, based on stylistic issues with the blog posts as they are currently.
I will edit these soon and possibly copying over the images as well, if I have time.
by Andrew Noll, Digital Marketing Associate | 30 June 2016
In document management, one of the greatest struggles is printing your documents. You might think that printing is easy, but once you start batch printing it’s easy to lose track of your files. You can go through and count them one-by-one or cross your fingers that it’s all still there, but at the end of the day, without print management you really don’t know if you’ve printed all your documents. You don’t want your boss to get mad because an order didn’t go through, or to lose a client or customer based on late shipping or mislabeled packaging. Managing batch printing by hand and any large print queue can be an insurmountable challenge.
I need to print a lot of files, but I don’t want the hassle of sorting through it all. I don’t have the time to deal with this and I have a lot of other work to do. How do I connect to the spool and print 100’s of files without creating a lot of extra work for myself?
Compleo Suite Printing CapabilitiesA wonderful, easy-to-use tool that is widely utilized at Symtrax and in a variety of industries – spanning from IT to shipping & order fulfillment – is Compleo Print Manager. Compleo Print Manager is fast, secure, and efficient at connecting directly with your print spool to facilitate print management.
View Print Job StatusHow do you even know if your print job is completed? Waiting for large, batch printing can easily lead to overtime hours and unnecessary stress. We value your time, so when we designed Compleo Print Manager, we included print monitoring that allows you to see the status of a print job.
Authorized File ManagementDon’t want Joe from Finance printing your quarterly reports because he lost 4 pages last quarter and you got audited? Don’t authorize him and he won’t have access to print the files. You can selectively provide clearance to whatever files you do and do not want employees to access. Joe will be able to print other financial materials, but you can keep him from accessing key data and documents of great importance.
Backup Printers and Printing FeedbackWorried about what will happen when you run out of ink or paper? Compleo Print Manager is too smart to take risks. With our ERP printing solution, you can route to backup printers when the primary printer malfunctions. Compleo Print Manager is sophisticated and will provide detailed feedback on print status and errors in the queue through our web interface.
SAP Application IntegrationCompleo Print Manager is distinguished in its ability to connect with SAP and provide information directly into your SAP application environment. Many ABAPers find it challenging to create a printing connection that provides them with feedback to understand the status of a print job. Don’t change a thing about your SAP process, just let Compleo Print Manager connect to printers and you’ll have easy access print management that puts you ahead of the competition! Symtrax is a certified SAP Software Partner and we take pride in our ability to integrate with SAP applications. You’ll find that we are skilled in integrating with SAP environments and it will save a lot of time for ABAPers so that they can focus on creating new, innovative code, rather than sweating the small stuff.
What else does it do?We’ve only mentioned a few of the features and integrations that make Compleo Print Manager so powerful. You can even integrate with other applications and Compleo Suite modules. Symtrax even has the capabilities to automate the entire process through integration with Compleo Layout and Compleo Designer.
Want to learn about the other capabilities of Compleo Print Manager?We’d love to streamline your printing process and make missing pages & file insecurity a thing of the past. Get all the details and see Compleo Print Manager in action by requesting a demo or contacting us directly.
Originally Posted on: http://blog.symtrax.com/2016/11/29/sap-forms-digital-transformation/
by Andrew Noll, Marketing Associate | 29 November 2016How do I make the transition to digital SAP forms?In traditional ABAP development, forms are to be processed though a print program to create an output, whether built by SAP SmartForm or Adobe Creative Suite. Finding an alternative to this print process by going straight to the digital document is a great move on SAP Digital Transformation.
Consider the number of disruptions in form management nowadays. How often does the same business document need to be printed, signed, scanned, reassigned properties or metadata, in order to be manually sent or saved, not to mention format adaptations. Alternating back-and-forth between digital and paper forms, breaches business document security and traceability. Plus it can be time-consuming and difficult to handle a large number of business forms.
Fortunately, there is a solution that allows SAP output forms to remain digital from start to finish. Format all documents, populate them with metadata, apply electronic signatures, and distribute forms, staying digital from A to Z with Compleo RFC Service. It’s an important step of SAP Digital transformation.
How do I create SAP forms without Smartform development? Symtrax has a solution – what you see is what you get & output management is easy.
Whether you are using SMARTforms or Adobe Creative Suite, constantly struggling between digital information and paper forms, is unnecessary with a SAP digital forms solution. One solution may be more intuitive, however, it still requires the printing process. This is where the first part of your SAP digital transformation can take place- SAP output forms remain digital every step of the way, from form creation to distribution and archiving.
What does your SAP organization need for document output?
How do you perform digital transformation with a SAP Certified connector?Forms need to be useful and distributable. A digital signature may be required for approval and metadata may be needed for traceability. Afterwards, you may use digital distribution, but scanning documents after-the-fact can lead to a lot of extra time spent entering the same data over and over again.
You can go back-and-forth with ticket requests, or you can perform your entire SAP forms process, digitally – no spool data needed! It doesn’t even take programming knowledge to utilize our document management suite. You don’t even need an output device. Use our connector for a straightforward, paperless process that has the ability to embed everything required for digital transformation, including digital signatures, QR Codes, PDF attachments and more.
Keeping your forms digital allows you to be a better business partner.One of the most visible contributions of the IT department:
– Output forms or business documents that End Users receive
– Shared or distributed forms that reflect on their organization
If you can provide a digital rendering of your document, it will be more compatible with modern systems, like the cloud. It will function better on mobile and will have a better overall appearance. You will always have all of the information that you want in your forms, so as to maintain their integrity and security.
Digital SAP business documents will benefit customers and vendors, as they will be more capable of distributing and integrating electronic Forms into their partner workflows. Whether your business partners prefer XML, or they would rather receive documents on a mobile device, our solution will keep output form digital and simple.
Using Compleo RFC Service for SAP, automatically solves pre-existing issues for documents requiring external authorization and traceability.IT is the key to every company’s growth, but do you have the right tools in your SAP kit to optimize external workflows and reduce manual errors?
Whether you run a system on ECC6 or S/4HANA, Compleo’s RFC protocol can delegate digital output forms creation and perform distribution on a Windows machine. Once you’ve digitized your output process, ask yourself: “up to what point can my organization remain digital?”
There may not be a clear answer, but a digital workflow can simplify process complexity and takes the headache out of SAP forms processing. Stop doing manual quality checks and have ample time for more productive work with our RFC Service for SAP.
Why take our word for it? Try Compleo Suite for free!
Published by Andrew Noll at February 22, 2016
You have a big idea. One that you can turn into an exciting website that makes money, or shares your passion and allows you to express yourself. Maybe you just want people to be able to find you and understand your personal brand. Whatever your motivations, keep reading to learn if you should start a website and how to share your idea with the world.
CommitmentBefore you start a website, you should be committed to maintaining it and creating new content. Creating a quality website doesn’t happen overnight, but it helps to fully commit to keeping in touch with your content creator.
Make a schedule or routine to keep posting content regularly. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend hours creating multiple blog posts everyday, or work full-time on your website. However, it’s definitely advantageous to update your site regularly as it impacts your website’s Search Engine Optimization, which increases traffic to your site simply by appearing higher on search engine results.
Establish Your IdeaBefore you jump in and create a new website, make sure you develop your idea in full and truly understand what you want. You can do this by thinking from the perspective of your target audience. What are they looking for? How will you provide it to them?
Next, plan out some basic essential elements of your website. These include social media functions, menu titles, web security, color scheme, ease of maneuverability, type of font, etc. Regardless of whether you are creating the website yourself or through a third party, having a clear vision is the fastest and easiest way to a finished product.
Develop a Content PlanWhile nice graphics can quickly capture interest in your site, the content is what will keep them coming back. Establish your priorities according to your product and your audience: are you building a site for yourself or for others? Does it need to establish a brand or a sense of industry credibility? If so, it can be helpful to research similar companies and draw ideas from successful competitors. Your content plan can also include a list of possible add-ons for your website to keep things fresh.
Evaluate Your CapabilitiesBefore you dive into creating your site, make sure you have the right capabilities to create the content you want. Are you planning to develop it yourself using coding or a site such as Wix or WordPress? If you are using WordPress, is it internally or externally hosted?
Consider Outsourcing Your Site’s DevelopmentIf you don’t have the skills to be presentable to others, then find someone who does. For instance, we can create a beautiful website for you with mobile functionality and social media integration that is search engine optimized. Get a quote here.
In a NutshellIn short, you need a fully formed idea before committing to building a website. If it feels right and it’s something you want to do, decide how you will create the site and who will maintain the content. Remember to evaluate whether this is the right time to create a site and if you will be providing a product or service, that you have all capabilities ready for action.
Now what? Get ready to learn how to get customers and generate site traffic.
Have questions? Call or email us for a free consultation.
Published by Andrew Noll at May 11, 2016
Some people are uncomfortable with Virtual Reality while others are already in love with the idea. In writing this article, I see clear benefits for society, as well as potential misuses of Virtual Reality. I caught up with Neil Gupta, a lead organizer of the BostonVR and BostonAR meetup groups, on his experiences with VR and AR and how these new developments will impact the business world, our lives, and the future of human interaction.
How would you explain virtual reality and augmented reality to a total novice?Neil: Virtual Reality is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. It is the first time your brain doesn’t just watch content, it experiences it. VR (good VR) creates a virtual world that you get completely immersed in, and your entire sensory experience comes from that world, instead of the real one you’re in. For now, it’s not quite there yet. I can still feel and smell the real world, but we’re getting there…
Unlike Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality doesn’t try to make you think you’re somewhere else. It just adds information or content on top of the world you’re already in. A great introduction to AR is the following Ted talk by Meron Gribetz:
Q: How do you anticipate VR changing the way we perform everyday activities and interactions?Neil: For everyday activities, I actually don’t think VR will change all that much. I actually think that Augmented Reality is going to change things dramatically. We as humans are social creatures, and VR, in its current state, is not a very social experience. Sure there are social apps and rooms like AltSpaceVR, but that does not trigger the same kind of feeling as actual social interaction.
That being said, there is a lot that VR will change when it comes to communication. Storytelling will completely change as the VR medium is a shift in paradigm that is bigger than going from written text to movies. I say that because, in all previous forms of storytelling, the storyteller had complete control. He or she directed what you saw, heard and experienced. In VR, the audience is now in control and you cannot create a single unified experience for them all.
VR will change how we communicate in other ways as well.
Q: How do you think VR will change existing business structures?Neil: Slowly but surely. As people develop the medium, it has huge potential for changing how we interact with data as well as each other. On a general level, it will allow for more remote connectivity and new ways of exploring data as opposed to just on a screen. Because of the way it interacts with the brain, training and education areas will benefit hugely from VR.
It will affect verticals differently. In the fields of Architecture, Engineering, and Contracting, the effects are fairly obvious, as VR allows for more accurate understandings of a model design, easier collaboration, etc (Andrew:See how SpaceX currently performs 3D modeling).
In retail, it will change how people shop and buy things. Fundamentally advertising will change as it no longer needs to just ask something of the consumer but can now give them an experience. A very accurate 30 second VR test drive is an experience that seems more likely to get me to want to try a car than a video of Matthew McConaughey
telling me about one.
Andrew: Imagine being able to try on clothing sizes, virtually and place orders on-the-go through a headset. Current tools for advertisers, such as phone notifications, could be transferred to Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Innovations in VR and AR will help us to stay connected and grow faster as a culture. We have to question potential drawbacks of VR, such as artificially-real violence and manipulative advertising practices.
What do you anticipate going wrong in the VR/AR space? Click to TweetQ: What kind of VR discussions do we need to have now in preparation for the future?Neil: People are going to get addicted and obsessed. People will become depressed with the real world. Cyberbullying on Facebook already makes kids suicidal, I can’t imagine what it will be like in VR. How does this affect a child’s brain? We can put restrictions on the medium for now but there’s really only so much you can do.
From a privacy perspective, how comfortable are we with the eye tracking and response data, that gives people a more intimate profile of us than ever before? There are a lot of positive things that will happen because of VR but let’s not pretend that the medium is not also incredibly dangerous if not implemented properly. You will be able to experience trauma in VR.
Andrew: We have to also consider the morality of advertising in VR and AR. At present, we have the option to put down our phone or disconnect from other forms of media, but what is it going to be like when we are receiving advertisements that require personal interaction in a virtual environment? There will need to be stipulations for what is and isn’t okay for advertisers. VR and AR both provide amazing possibilities for advertisers, but it must be implemented wisely.
Q: How can VR act as an extension of current Digital Marketing practices?Neil: The introduction of eye tracking into Head Mounted Displays is going to change just about everything. We used to only tell you what we wanted to. Now we’ll be able to tell you how the technology makes us feel. I’m always looking for entrepreneurs to work with. I’m the go-to guy in Boston for getting plugged into the VR/AR scene, so feel free to reach out!
Andrew: For marketers, new implementations such as pupillometry (watching how pupil’s dilate based on stimuli and psychology) will give a clearer composite image of target audiences. This data can be used to improve marketing efforts, and promotional materials. Marketers will be able to create more direct connections with users online as they develop VR and AR promotional materials. This will give the user a more profound interaction with content, but it also creates a challenge for the marketer as they no longer have total control over the end product.
Neil currently works full-time at Draper, where he has spent the last few years researching the VR/AR space and advising internal research projects. Neil is one of the lead organizers for the BostonVR and BostonAR Meetup groups. He helps organize multiple Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality hackathons, advises a few startups, consults for investors, and generally aims to be a resource to the Boston Virtual Reality Community. Neil’s primary passion is working with entrepreneurs and making them successful.
Is your brand a part of the future? Of course, assuming you use the right marketing technology. There are many new technologies that can help your brand get a leg up on the competition and late adopters will be disadvantaged as tools allow marketers to work easier and smarter. In this article, we will explain 6 basic forms of marketing technology and recommend some of the best products in each segment. Marketing tech will allow your brand to be recognized as a major industry player and claim additional market share, as well as nurture leads and plan releases ahead of time.
1. Analytics ToolsThere are many products in marketing tech that can be used for analytics. At ISO Developers, we currently utilize Google Analytics.
Analytics tools, free or otherwise, allow your company to record figures and track the success of marketing efforts. Numerical data and representations will help you make informed decisions, as well as adaptions to current marketing plans. In addition, this data can help you in planning for future initiatives and developing projections to determine investment risk.
Some important aspects of your analysis may include:
exit rate/bounce rate – what groups are most likely to click off my page? Is it related to mobile functionality? Look for ways to improve the experience for your users, by A/B testing factors that may negatively influence exit or bounce rate.
audience demographics – these include age, gender, rerethnicity and any other demographic factors you can connect to your average reader. Once you know your audience, you will be able to write better posts that generate higher engagement.
audience location – this will let you know where to advertise and will give you a better understanding of the culture and diversity of your audience.
link traffic – allows you to see where your traffic is coming from. Google Analytics can sort by search engine and monitor current marketing campaigns. You can also find social media inbound traffic to target your campaigns under Acquisition – Overview – Social – Overview.
Google Analytics has so many capabilities for tracking and understanding marketing efforts, that I could easily spend the whole day talking about them. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room to cover all that in a single blog post – feel free to share any marketing tech you use for analytics in the comments section below!
2. EMSEMS stands for Email Marketing Software or Email Marketing System. There are a lot of options out there for email marketing and they will provide you with a different bundle of features. In my experience, I have used ConstantContact, myEmma, and MailChimp. All three EMS will start you off with a template. You can import and export contact lists and have detailed data on email campaigns to make improvements for users. This includes factors such as open rate and clicks.
As a bundle of services, I found it easier to manage a campaign within an EMS than through spreadsheets offline. This is primarily because of the customer management functions that allow you to record customer emails and the automation of email data collection. Compare services for each EMS before looking into purchasing.
In general, it is common to experience minor glitches when working with a template in an EMS. Each EMS also offers different service levels but they all have the same basic capabilities to send email and help you manage your campaign. For the aforementioned, the service levels and pricing can be found at the respective links: ConstantContact, myEmma, MailChimp. If you prefer a low-budget, ConstantContact has a 60-day free trial and MailChimp offers a free subscription package. They are all well known EMS software that consistently rank well online.
3. Data on LeadsLead data can be obtained from a number of ways. Analytics will help you to get a good idea of some aspects of lead generation, depending on which marketing technology you choose. Hubspot is one of the most notable products for lead generation and is used by many companies to learn more about where people click on your site and who they are.
In addition, inbound marketing is a great way to gather information on your leads. A few years ago it was espoused as one of the best ways to gain leads, but some sites have since opted out because they don’t like the psychological effects of pop-ups. Personally, I see the value in inbound marketing and believe that it is generally beneficial with a clear call-to-action and a sufficient audience. A lot of successful inbound marketing initiatives utilize promotional giveaways, newsletters and freebies. Incentives will bring more users to your email list.
There is one other HUGE aspect of inbound marketing – mobile optimization. I have been to too many websites on my phone where inbound marketing popups prevented site navigation and forced me to exit the site. One mobile optimized inbound marketing tool is Privy. Privy is east to integrate for WordPress, has a simple editing system and re-sizes when opened in a mobile browser.
4. Content DiversificationMarketing technology products are not the only form of marketing technology in the future of today. There are many options for types of content, including: writing, photographs, illustrations, videos, and more. Gifs and infographics are gaining popularity on social media; they allow for you to easily gain the readers attention and in the case of the latter, to inform quickly.
There are also other graphic formats that are gaining popularity, such as time-lapses, drone videos, go-pro recordings and 3D videos. Finding ways to utilize these new content formats will be advantageous for brands, as most companies will be slow to adopt, opting instead for traditional marketing practices. Bjork’s 3D video for Stonemilker shows how the format offers new opportunities for multi-tasking on film and allows more creative use of space. Consider ways to leverage new visual formats and create a distinctive, memorable brand.
5. Customer ManagementCRMs, or customer relations management systems, are generally included in EMS. This makes it easier to run marketing campaigns and popular CRMs may also have the option of integration with an EMS. For instance, Privy now uses EMS integration and has CRM functions as a tool for inbound marketing lead generation. Using a customer management system will allow you to keep track of your customers without using a spreadsheet and simplifies the ease of finding data. CRMs group together categories of data so that it is easier to segment and process your customer information.
There are many different kinds of CRM and they are increasingly being integrated with other applications. For instance, Gmail records contacts for every email you send and thereby has function of a CRM. Companies dedicated specifically as CRMs will also record emails, but will include more features such as contact profession, phone number, company, and email segment. CRM segmentation allows you to send messages to different audiences and allows you to tailor your marketing message to different groups of consumers. CRMs can be a powerful tool and become increasingly valuable as your company scales up and there is a larger amount of data.
6. Social Media Add-onsUsing software and application add-ons for social media allows you to prepare and schedule posts, as well as analyze progress and your audience. We recommend you utilize all built-in analytical data on social media such as Twitter Analytics and Linkedin Insights to get a more rounded perspective on your audience. This will also allow you to find keywords and new areas that your audience is interested in. Built-in analytics vary in usefulness and breadth of information. It is advisable to record information, as some of these platforms do not allow you to look back very far in your account data.
We strongly recommend a tool for planning and releasing posts as well. One service that we have found especially helpful is Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows you to plan posts, geo-tag them for seo, adapt your message to different platforms, and pick a time for release. Hootsuite allows users 3 social media accounts for free and will automatically post to sites other than instagram, which will require an additional user approval. Overall, it is very effective for any form of social media management.
Marketing Technology PotentialWith the vast selection of options out there, remember to keep in mind your customer.
What does the viewer want to see in my message and where is the best place for me to place it?
Once you know your social and marketing channels, look for places to improve. Use built in analytics, track your progress and plan for the future. Marketing technology can be an effective way to distinguish your business and can aid you in developing better content that gets you leads. At the end of the day, marketing tech is intended to make your life easier. You just have to figure out the best way to use it.
Don’t understand your social or marketing channels? We can help with social media marketing!
Published by Andrew Noll at March 29, 2016
In most corporate planning, employees create plans to account for short-term and long-term goals. You’ll find projections of company profits and plans for getting there, but it’s rare to find a company that is truly prepared for a crisis.
How do I prepare for something if I don’t even know what it is?
There are many reasons to plan for a crisis, but it can be difficult when it hasn’t happened yet. The size of a company will come into play in determining the types of crises to expect. Multinational corporations, for instance, may need crisis plans for every type of natural disaster.
In addition to planning for natural disasters, companies now have to prepare for social media crises and PR nightmares. These can come on quite suddenly and can be improved or made worse by the way the situation is handled. We’ll provide you with the basics to start a Social Media crisis plan, just read on!
How Do You Identify What Happened?First, you must identify that your company is, in fact, experiencing a crisis. If it affects your ability to carry on daily operations or consumes a lot of time for management, it may be considered a crisis. It is extremely important if it will impact your triple bottom-line, brand image or goodwill. You have to make your own definitions of a company crisis so that you can sound the alarm early on and properly allocate resources to quickly deal with the problem.
Generally, social media crises start small with individual voices of dissent or disagreement. It is important that they are caught in the early stages before things grow out of control. Many times, media outlets will pick up on trending stories and this can result in more damaging events than those that stay out of the press.
A recent social media crisis that was resolved well was experienced by performer Justin Bieber. The crisis developed around #JustinHatesHisFans on Twitter and has been around since 2010. On November 7th last year, the hashtag went viral when Justin became upset about fans clapping off-rhythm. Entertainment outlets started discussing whether Justin hated his fans or not and it can still be seen all over the internet. Justin did not reply on his Twitter feed and just continued with his usual routine.
By not addressing the issue, it remained as a source of controversy and benefited the singer in sales. Unfortunately, most companies do not bode well with drama and negative publicity can follow a company or brand for years. In addition, most companies require a deliberate and planned response to crises, as controversy isn’t beneficial in most industries. How can you avoid letting the bad seeds grow? How do you snuff out the root cause of a social media crisis?
Common Issues for SM CrisesDue to the expansive nature of social media, crises can blow up in a couple of hours. You can expect negative comments and publicity, as well as wasted company time and crisis resource allocation. You don’t want to detract from what’s making money, because then the whole company will start shrinking. It is important to account for the possible interruptions you may face as the result of a crisis and find ways to allow your business to continue running.
Spokesperson And Brand VoiceWhen there is a crisis, who should deal with it? You need someone on the front lines that is ready to represent your company in a positive light immediately, using the tone of voice that is appropriate for the situation. You want your spokesperson to be aligned with company views and knowledgeable in methods of reducing the impact of negative PR.
Don’t Be Afraid To Acknowledge A MistakeThere could have been an issue with management, or the company may have done nothing wrong at all. If it can help reduce the intensity of a crisis, it is worthwhile to apologize. Your reaction will need to be tailored to the situation. If something happened to trigger a negative emotional reaction then you will want to address that feeling.
For Instance, let’s say that I’m going out for lunch today and I found a fly in my salad. Regardless of where it came from, why it’s there, or anything else – that is disgusting. Companies need to apologize in instances such as this and they should be sympathetic while doing so. A crisis leader in this hypothetical situation might say “It disgusts me that this happened. We are sorry for our customers and we will make initiatives to resolve this issue immediately; this kind of thing is not tolerated at YummyGreatYum Foods.”
Communicate Quickly and DirectlyIf you catch a crisis before it blows up – is it still a crisis? Possibly, but it’s not worth debating. It’s not worth the risk and if your corporate crisis plan catches minor issues, then they should be dealt with to prevent additional stakeholders from entering debate and inciting public outcry. The earlier a crisis is found the more easily it can be resolved. At its inception, it is easier to discuss a crisis; the crisis will become defined over time and the information posted first is most likely to be viewed, recycled, and re-posted. Therefore, you have more control over how a crisis is interpreted at onset.
In addition, it is also important to be direct in approaching a crisis. If you are going to make attempts to side-step or avoid the issue, be sure you address it in an active manner. Passive attempts at avoiding crises, only lead to more problems. Just like with personal issues, if something is ignored or avoided it will continue to leave lingering feelings. It is the same with social media crises, but on a much larger scale with many more players involved. Be sure you are speaking directly to your consumer or the key crisis stakeholders.
Express Company ValuesAlways explain the company stance on a crisis and justify it with company values. Your company values represent your brand and do so in a positive manner. They were created to lead the growth of the company and stay relevant unless they are replaced.
In the aforementioned, hypothetical example a crisis leader might say the following regarding company values: “YummyGreatYum Foods has always had a high standard for food quality and believes that all food should be suitable for our CEOs. We will identify and terminate anyone responsible for this incident. It goes against our company value of absolute food quality and demands immediate repercussions for any employees involved.”
Find A Practical SolutionWhen things start to unravel and there are disputes over your brand, is there an easy solution? I know, reading it spelled out like this makes it sound highly unlikely, but sometimes the answer to our problems is simple. Other times it requires cleaning the gulf of Mexico, or other high difficulty tasks.
One example of a crisis with a practical solution was Apple’s release of the original iPhone. At first the phone was pre-released for purchase at $599 before being reduced to $399 after three months of sales. Early adopters were angry with the price drop and Apple resolved the problem by providing $100 vouchers.
If you’re like me you would still be angry because $200 > $100 and you’d be $100 short of those that purchased phones 3 months later, but this still managed to resolve the issue as customers wanted to be acknowledged. They felt valued with the vouchers and the issue was resolved in the press.
Offer Contact OptionsAllow social media followers to contact you elsewhere. You don’t want everything to be public and it reduces your risk by taking the conversation offline. You can offer an email, contact form, phone number or other method of contact when a crisis occurs to give customers an easier method to be heard and avoid controversy. Listen to your customers and look for ways to get to the heart of the problem. Why are they upset enough to discuss our brand in this manner and how can we help them?
What is Company PolicyCrisis planning and management should include contingency plans to keep business running, identification of the primary crisis manager, clear definition of brand voice and a plan of action for how to deal with a crisis. Make sure your plan is approved by management and takes the different aspects of crisis planning and management into account.
Need more help with social media? Ask us!
Browse our other articles for more information on promoting yourself and how to look great online.
Published by Andrew Noll at March 17, 2016
Every great piece of content has a focused and deliberately selected target audience. Every time you create any form of content, you have to release it for your target audience.
Well, without pinpointing a target audience, it is unlikely that you will reach your demographic. Releasing content without an audience is like taking a shot in the dark, without even aiming!
What about if I want to target a large and diverse group of people?
That’s wonderful, and there’s nothing wrong with a large audience. However, the best way to create content is by targeting a smaller subsection of your audience and writing specifically for them. As you release new content, you may draw in people outside of your target demographic. This doesn’t mean that you should target a larger group, however. The more people you target, the harder it is to create content people like.
Think about the last video you shared. Maybe you sent it to a few friends. Did everyone enjoy it? Could you forward it to your parents, co-workers and acquaintances? Any given video could be controversial or unappealing to different demographic groups. Just as it’s highly unlikely for everyone in a group to like a single video, it is improbable to create content that everyone will love. You have to find a large subsection of your audience that is the average viewer for your content. Every demographic has its own wants and needs, and you’ll have to cater your content accordingly. Keep reading to identify your target audience – a mystery worth solving.
Who Are They?If you haven’t identified an audience yet, then it’s hard to start writing and forming visuals with clear purpose. Unfortunately, your ideal target audience isn’t always obvious and requires some sleuthing.
Social media is a great place to discover who’s consuming your content. A thorough analysis of your followers will reveal patterns to help you identify who your audience is. Sometimes these findings may not match up with your perceptions of the brand. Don’t worry, brands mean different things to different people. Just do your best to summarize how your target audience views your brand.
If you enjoy your own subject matter, your consumer might share some similarities with you. For example, I enjoy marketing and content creation, so I’m writing an article for others who share my interests. I might be inclined to read articles on marketing and content creation, so I share a common interest with our target audience.
If you have the resources, I would recommend bringing in at least one other team member to evaluate your audience. People have blind spots when it comes to their own personal qualities. You want others to analyze the audience to find anything you may have missed and add any qualities that you and the audience share, but of which you are unaware.
Your target demographic is going to be an approximation of the kind of consumer that will be attracted to you. Estimate their gender, age and ethnicity to get a better idea of who you’re addressing in your content. Social media accounts or analytics can give you a good idea of the demographic characteristics of your target audience.
What Do They Do?Think about the types of occupations that will be attracted to your content. This can be particularly difficult for some industries that are highly relevant to most consumers, such as food or entertainment, but it’s still a necessity. Consider the types of people and professions that are likely to search for your SEO keywords. Identify aspects such as:
Where Are They?Is your target audience local, national, or international? Examine where your customers, site visitors and friends on social media are coming from and factor this into your target audience. While it’s good to plan for growth, now is not the time for speculation. You don’t want to make predictions of who your ideal audience will be, because this will prevent you from addressing the most immediate audience available to consume your content.
For example, let’s say that I chose to target Australian viewers. Although we get site visits from Australia, they aren’t the majority of our site traffic or social media followers. This would ultimately be an unwise choice, because I would be targeting a new audience segment and would not capitalize on current branding. Instead, we focus on an American consumer, and more specifically, those in the New England area. You may write some content for other audiences and to bring in new views, but start by focusing on your base target demographic to build yourself up. Your target audience is essential to your business model and everything you do should reflect your overall mission and vision.
When Will They View My Content?Find the best time to post for your target demographic. This is hard to determine and may require some experimentation. Try to use A/B testing and post at different times until you find the ideal time. Also consider timing based on your consumer’s lifestyle. For instance, if they work in an office, they will probably be on social media in the morning and during evening commute. These times will vary and you want to post your content around the schedule of your target audience.
Why Will They Enjoy My Content?Your content needs to be useful and interesting to your consumer. There are many different kinds of entertainment and your content can be enjoyable in many different ways. Just remember that your average consumer should enjoy it and it should sound appropriate coming from the voice of your brand.
How Do I Create Content That My Audience Will Find Engaging?This is one of the greatest challenges in marketing and it could make for a great novel. If you know who your consumer is and what they want, then you can create dynamic content for them regardless of the platform. Remember to use emotional appeals and maintain a high quality standard. Periodically re-evaluate your target audience to better understand your content strategy as your online presence grows. Like it or not, you are a brand to your consumers and they expect your content to be branded accordingly. You have to find ways to understand your target audience in order to release content that provides consistent quality and portrays your brand in a positive light.
When you identify your target audience, you’re acting as a detective. You must clearly compile all of the elements above and then combine them to form a composite of who your average content viewer is. If you execute this well, your content will obtain more leads and generate a larger reach for your brand.
Unsure how to establish your online presence? Let us analyze your target audience.
Contact us anytime for a free consultation.
Published by Andrew Noll at March 10, 2016
Working at a non-profit, you experience the struggle to obtain additional funding and grow with limited means. When I used to work as an intern at social media and marketing intern for a non-profit, one of our many efforts to obtain funding and create a strong sense of community was an online fundraising campaign. Fundraising can be a challenging experience but when you work at a non-profit, it’s a necessity. Below you’ll find several useful takeaways from my first non-profit fundraiser. Use them to improve your own fundraising campaign and create something that people will flock to.
1. You Have To Target Your AudienceWe created our campaign with a specific audience in mind. Knowing our target market allowed us to create a better fundraiser that appealed to the right kind of person.
Who do you want to donate in your fundraiser?
Identify exactly who your audience is.
What (if anything) is my audience receiving for donations? This can include giveaways such as tickets, merchandise and memberships. You may be able to get a partnered, for-profit business to provide complimentary services in exchange for increased sales. Evaluate your options and consider the cost. You don’t want to spend a lot of money, when the money coming in is from donations. It may be easier to offer no incentive and create a strong message to inspire support.
Note: even if your audience could be anyone, still be sure to pick your ideal target. This will allow you to tailor your content to the average user and appease more site visitors.
2. Crowdfunding Sites Are An Investment To Reach A Limited AudienceWhen you create a crowdfunding account, many sites will charge you a fee. This depends on which site you choose. Different sites attract a different audience and have different stipulations for the type of business they are willing to host.
Make sure to weigh the benefits against the cost. Larger sites like KickStarter or IndieGogo may charge more per user, but they have a larger audience that could donate to you. Alternatively, if you fundraise through your own website, you will earn deduction-free donations.
3. Your Web Design Affects Your MessageThis is true with any form of website and the design of your site will impact whether or not you receive donations. You want to have a clean layout that is easy for any user to navigate. It must be optimized for mobile, contain the right amount of white space, along with relevant images that show your services. In addition you must have a clear call-to-action so that users know how to donate. In the case of a fundraiser, you want to send them to a donation page or obtain a donation via a call-to-action button.
It is imperative that you prioritize design. Good design makes your non-profit look more credible. Most of us have limited means, but we are still compared to others in our fields. Do the best you can. You don’t have to hire a professional to create a basic fundraiser, but it is highly advisable that you follow the best practices for basic web design listed here.
4. WordPress Plugins Can Limit YouWhen I started designing our fundraiser page, I added the main message and images initially and then created donation buttons. I elected to add donation buttons as a sidebar through JetPack so that the main message could be read with the donation buttons visible on the side of the page.
JetPack gave me limited options for fonts and donate buttons, which required me to use a different approach. I wanted my buttons to appear differently than the Paypal default, so I created images that I then connected to Paypal via links.
When you have issues with plugin limitations, consider other options. You don’t need to be a coder to use WordPress and your plugin may not be the right one for what you want. Plugins like JetPack have multiple functionalities and I was able to find a work-around by using the plugin differently (linked image rather than pre-set button). Consider a new plugin or different options for using your plugin if you want to overcome a limitation.
5. Engage The Viewer With ContentYour site visitor came to your website and they made it to your fundraiser – Great! Now how do you draw them in?
There are a lot of ways to drive engagement, but one of the best is through your content. This extends to virtually everything on your site, but I am primarily concerned with visuals and text. Your text needs to be interesting and engaging, so as to draw in your reader. Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard and tell a story. Remember to target the audience you identified earlier.
Visuals are also vital to drawing in the reader and can be more important than content. You want them to understand who you are the second they land on your site, strictly based on visuals. If you can create a video, it will be even easier for the average user to understand your message. For all visuals, be sure to use something engaging and relevant. Try to include emotional appeals in your writing and visuals.
6. The Internet Isn’t EverythingAlthough you will expect to see most of your traffic from inbound links and social media, the internet is not the only source for most non-profit fundraisers. You want to utilize any and all resources you have to promote your fundraiser and website. If you are a non-profit that works through connecting with people or businesses directly, try calling your contacts.
At our non-profit, we created brochures and displayed them at local coffee shops to attract a local crowd to our fundraising site and increase awareness of our message. This was a great way to bring more people into our community and expand our local awareness
7. Prioritize Your MessageNo matter what methods you implement to achieve your fundraising goals, always be sure that your message is extremely clear. You should be able to summarize it in brief and make it clear on all donation pages.
You don’t ever want someone to be on a page and be unsure of what to do. Be sure that the goal of each page on your site is clear and includes a call-to-action for the reader. This is especially important for receiving donations.
8. Learn!Regardless of any difficulties you experience in your first fundraiser, you have to keep your progress in mind. Always keep learning and growing because that is the only way to create the best campaign possible. There is no one-size fits all in fundraising, but as a general rule the better your content quality the more engaging it is. If you are clear in your goals and able to communicate your goal effectively to your target audience, then the last step is to share your site with them. Consider that you may have a sizable audience outside of the virtual world. The key is to experiment and find ways to best reach this audience.
Need help reaching your target audience? Get a quote here.
Browse our other articles for more information on promoting yourself and how to look great online.
Note: Posts have been copied onto this page to show Andrew's writing skills in perpetuity.
Site powered by Weebly. Managed by SiteGround