25 May – Who are your social advocates?

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There’s a lot of talk in the social media world about employee advocacy; the act of your employees sharing brand content through their own social media accounts. The popularity of employee advocacy programs stems from its proven ability to drive increased leads and awareness for and of the brands.

A study by LinkedIn in March 2016 uncovered that employees receive 2x higher click through rates than their employer sharing the same content. With results like this, it’s not surprising that employee advocacy is going down a storm.

Furthermore, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family when making a buying decision (Nielsen). So if sharing brand content through other advocates can further influence buying decisions then it’s massively worth it.

The question is, which other advocates other than your employees could you be utilising more effectively and how can this be implemented?

Sales partners
If you sell indirectly to customers such as through channel partners – resellers, retailers, and wholesalers – why not involve them in your advocacy program and enable them to share your social media content too? By doing this they will grow their online presence, whilst enabling you, the brand, to increase your potential reach, thus benefiting both parties. And who knows a lead may even be generated.

From a recent survey we conducted with Microsoft’s partners, 80% said they lacked time to post content on social media, with a further 68% saying they lacked content to share. So by enabling your partners to share your content, you are actually helping them resolve this issue.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about employees, but what I will say is, don’t just limit the sharing of content to your marketing team. This is where businesses go wrong. Encourage all employees to share your content. Yes, not all content will be of interest to all employees, but by using a sophisticated social media platform you can categorise the type of content and choose who to send it to. An example being product news to the tech department, or commercial content to your sales team(s). You do not need to share the same content to all employees, tailor it to their interests, as this way you will receive a higher number of employees sharing your content on social media.

Enabling customers to share your social media content is a really interesting one. Everyone loves to look at reviews before making a purchase decision. So if you encourage your ‘best’ and most proactive customers to share your content, you can effectively achieve the following:
• Sway buying decisions and drive increased leads
• Increase brand reach
• Create brand loyalty

Influencers cover a full spectrum of individuals. This can include celebrities, industry thought-leaders or in general anyone who likes your brand and can affect an individual’s decision. You do have to be a little careful here though as you do not want to make it look false. It is important that it comes across as if they are sharing your content due to their genuine interest and loyalty to your brand, not because of a monetary reward. If this is the case it will be so obvious to all, and you might as well not have bothered.

Invest in the right program
An interesting statistic I have just seen states that 83% of organizations view advocacy/reference contributions as critical or important, yet most advocacy programs receive just 10%of marketing program dollars’ (Sirius decisions). For this reason, it’s important to do your research and find the right program for your brand, to prove its value and transformational ability, encouraging further investment in the future.

So yes it’s time, if you haven’t already done so, to encourage your employees to share your content on social media, but while you’re at it you might as well enable all of your advocates to share your content too. This way you will reach a far greater audience and receive the recognition you’ve always dreamed of.

By Olivier Choron
CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
Find me on LinkedIn

12 May – Have HTML newsletters lost their mojo?

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With continuously dropping open and click rates, it’s easy to think that emails and newsletters are not a valid comms vehicle anymore. Here’s a few stats to prove that email marketing is in fact here to stay, and it’s you, the brand, that need to adapt your approach to keep in the game.

Did you know?

  • 33% of opens are from an iPhone, with Gmail being the second most popular at 15% (Source: Litmus)

  • 55% of emails are now opened on mobile devices as opposed to 8% in 2011 (Source: Litmus)

  • 65% prefer emails to contain predominantly images, compared with 35% who prefer mainly text. (Source: HubSpot)

  • 58% check their email first thing in the morning. (Source: Customer Intelligence)

  • 89% of marketers believe email to be the primary channel for lead generation (Source: Mailigen)

  • 61% enjoy receiving weekly promotional emails with 28% preferring them more frequently (Source: Email is not dead)

  • 68% voted email to be their #1 preferred channel for receiving commercial messages (Source: Direct Marketing Association)

    That said…

    Kathleen Lopez, Senior Director, Partner Marketing Communications at SAP says, ‘It is always a challenge, no matter what industry you are in, to reach your target audiences’ attention in a cost-effective, targeted way.’

    The approval time for; signing off all email content, HTML coding as well as creating variations of the same email for all international audiences are certainly challenges we can all relate to. We do however need to overcome these if we seek to truly maximise our email marketing potential.

    Where to start?

    1. Personalisation - One size definitely does not fit all, you need to create different versions for all users. To create this by hand, using HTML coding I’m sure you’ll agree would take a considerable amount of time (and budget). And how can you possibly decide how many different variations to create when users each have their own preferences? They are not all interested in all you have to say….

    Solution - Invest in an email marketing platform, like our own newsondemand, where you can 100% personalise your email newsletters to your and your recipients’ preferences. You can restrict access to certain news by what you know about the audience, allow users the option to select the frequency they want to be updated and let them decide which topics they want to hear about. This will enable you to automate the ‘targeting’ process… no HTML required.

    2. Varied Topics - Your target audience does not all have the same interests. It is important to provide a variety of topics to suit their individual tastes and preferences. Only by doing this will you retain them as subscribers as well as receive a positive click through rate.

    3. Appealing structure – An email or newsletter that looks physically appealing will receive a lot more engagement that an email with no structure or format. When I say physically appealing I mean clean lined, easy to understand and not forgetting enticing enough to make recipients click to read more. Use of imagery, headings and a brief description are a great way to achieve this, with newsondemand creating all of this for you, whilst also allowing you to prioritise certain articles over others.

    4. Quick turnaround – No HTML coding is required when you use newsondemand. All you need to do is create and approve the articles you want to include within the newsletter, and only the articles recipients select will appear. This reduces the time to create one email drastically.

    Since using newsondemand SAP open rates are up by 49%, with their average CTR being 5.9%. Some newsletters even receive 17% click rates. Content is relevant, up-to-date and useful to each recipient. This shows that when the right tools are invested in, it can significantly alter your results.

    So to answer the question, HTML email newsletters have certainly not lost their mojo. It’s you the brand that need to change your efforts and invest in an email marketing platform to suit your needs so you too can benefit from email marketing that has certainly not lost its edge.

    By Olivier Choron
    CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
    Find me on LinkedIn

  • 09 May – Why a social advocacy mobile app is a must for this year

    Social advocacy, I’m sure you’ll agree, will be huge this year whether it’s through employees, influencers or channel partners. Utilising your advocates’ social media accounts is certainly the way to go to increase your overall reach.

    Why social advocacy

    Nielsen reported that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family when making a buying decision. With this knowledge in mind, it is not surprising that the popularity of social advocacy has increased exponentially.

    LinkedIn further discovered that if brand content is shared through advocates such as employees, it will receive 2x more clicks than content shared through the brand directly.

    Encouraging social advocacy
    But the question is, how do you encourage your advocates to share your content in the first place, when they have little or no time to do this at work? The answer to this is, make it as easy as possible for them, and create a mobile app for sharing your content, at a time or place that works best for them.

    PCs are not really convenient for managing social media, especially if you want to be actively listening, communicating and responding to your audience. Let’s face it, it isn’t always convenient to perform these tasks during working hours. They quickly get put to the back of the priority list, leaving your social media brand content to be infrequently posted out through your advocates. Only by being socially active regularly and responding to engagement frequently will you really receive the results that you the brand and the advocates themselves desire.

    Why a mobile app?
    Tim Hughes’ (who works for Oracle and has a huge social presence) recent blog post on making time for social media highlighted the importance of fitting social media in and around your life. Whether that’s during your breakfast, on your commute to work, lunch break or even when you get home from work. It’s about fitting it into your day to day life.

    With Facebook reporting that 73% of people always have their mobile device with them, a mobile app could make a significant difference to the success of your social advocacy program, and getting many more advocates on board posting your content.

    Not convinced? Here are a few more stats to show just how important, and how much of a difference a mobile app for social advocacy could make to your brand.

    Mobile usage:

  • Users pick up their mobile devices 150 to 200 times a day. This equates to 30 billion mobile moments each day. (Forrester)
  • Users spend an average of 1.8 hours on their smartphones every day, with mobile apps taking up the majority of that time. (Forbes)
  • More than 50% of mobile users pick up their phone immediately after waking up. (Deloitte, 2015)
  • Users spend 84% of their time each month in five or fewer apps. (Forrester)
  • The proportion of 4G users jumped from 8% to 25% in the last year. (Deloitte, 2015)

    With this in mind, if you created a mobile app, the posting of brand content could easily fit into and become part of your advocates’ daily routines. They could then; post content, monitor their activity, conduct social listening and engage with their community as and when it suits them. Only by doing this will they receive the 2x higher CTR that LinkedIn reported.

    Popularity of mobile vs PC’s 2016

    Gartner recently reported that PC shipments have fallen 9.6% in the first quarter of 2016, due to many consumers now conducting a high proportion of online activity on mobile devices, reducing the demand for computers.

    The chart below, created by Global Web Index highlights the expected increase of time spent on mobile devices, and the predicted fall of PC/ laptop/ tablet usage per year.

    Global web index

    Many brands are now trying to take advantage of this knowledge by developing an app to improve the efficiency and ease of their employees’ day to day tasks.

    Why bother turning on a PC, tablet or laptop, when you can do exactly the same activity on your mobile, the device you most likely have with you anyway? Especially with social media, the community that is always active. You need to be able to respond to engagement and act accordingly as and when necessary. Creating posts and sourcing content maybe more convenient to advocates out of working hours, perhaps on their commute or before work. By providing that flexibility you can suit all individuals’ preferences.

    From the chart below, you can clearly see that 61% of businesses have invested in mobile apps within the last 12-18 months. This indicates that many organisations are embracing this technological development and are recognising its importance for their brand.

    Mobility solutions invested

    So don’t fall behind; it’s time to invest in a social media advocacy mobile app to revolutionise your program and encourage further adoption and engagement from your advocates. Only by making it simple for your advocates will they truly want to be on board and in fact stay on board.

    This is something we have recently invested in ourselves and we’re pleased to say, it will soon be available for our customers. We foresee that this will drastically increase the adoption of social advocacy for many brands. We can’t wait to see the results. Stay tuned!

    By Olivier Choron
    CEO and Founder of purechannelapps
    Find me on LinkedIn