connector360 – Clients & Projects Continue to Grow

connector360 – Clients & Projects Continue to Grow

connector360, creative agency and sister company to SocialMedia.ie, continue to grow their portfolio with the addition of clients such as Pair Mobile, Flogas, Ridge Consulting and Martino’s Trattoria as well as ongoing work with Eurocycles and Euro Baby, Griffith College and CIS Ireland.

connector360 Case Studies

Pair Mobile - Smartphone covers and accessories: View Study

Allianz GAA – Sponsorship of GAA: View Study

Griffith College Dublin: View Study

Eurotrek Group – Eurocycles & Euro Baby Stores: View Study

Flogas – Natural gas providers in Ireland & the UK: View Study

Visit us at connector360

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Match Metrics To Your Strategy – A Focus On Facebook

We have looked at the main success factors in great digital marketing last week, so today we’re going to laser in on one of the social media giants: Facebook.

Besides your own website, Facebook is arguably your online shopfront.  With this in mind, using Facebook to build customer satisfaction is key but monitoring your performance is just as vital.

 

Facebook – Made to Measure

Okay, so you have built up a healthy following and you feel you are engaging your fans well.  Regular updates and the odd cat meme?  Excellent, but remember that every aspect of your Facebook interaction with fans can be measured to hone your efforts further.   One point to note however, is to link these metrics with your Facebook strategy.

The basic (and the most popular) metrics to note are fan count, likes & comments.  As these grow, they provide many a marketer with a warm and fuzzy feeling of success!  Simply speaking, a rise here is a positive step but if not allied to your objectives they mean surprisingly little.

Measure Against Your Goals – An Example

A brief example that this humble writer can recount was from time spent working with a local visual arts festival.  One early objective was a campaign for artistic submissions launched worldwide to give the festival an international flavour.   The net was spread wide to forums, Facebook & Twitter communities etc to attract them.  After this big push, the event’s Facebook friend count increased by 400% in three weeks!   Cue the celebrations, until the next phase of marketing began.  This was centered upon promoting ticket sales and attendance, where local fans are the obvious target.   The discovery was sobering – our hyper-inflated friend count revealed that most of these new fans were international, from Asia, South America, even Australia…  None exactly in a position to attend a festival in Dublin!

Ready, Take Aim, Measure

What to take from here is that while basic Facebook metrics often highlight positive trends, they may not be the right ones for your aims.

Looking to spread great content?  – Look for number of shares of your links, or its ‘viral’ spread

Promoting an event? – Measure if fans are primarily in your area, promote posts to local users only

Increasing leads & referrals? – Check Google Analytics, are clicks from Facebook to your website growing?

If you want to use social media to improve your business, you’re in for the long game.  Returns may not be rapid, or easy to pinpoint at first but keep your objectives in mind and stay the course.  Growing your Facebook presence must be a means, not an end.  Whatever your business is looking to achieve, use Facebook to assist these goals and measure to suit.

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Installing The Digital Marketing Cog Into Your Business Engine

Think of your business as an engine (a finely tuned one, no doubt)! If you introduce a new part or component into any engine, it will affect how the rest of the system performs. This principle is certainly true when looking at the explosive growth of digital marketing and its integration into your marketing and business functions. Let’s look at your business holistically and ensure that any digital integration assists and augments your existing business engine – a new part installed to increase performance!

 

Digital VS Traditional Marketing – No Need To Argue

Your business now has access to an already massive and ever growing digital marketing toolkit – a huge array of methods to interact with, understand and sell to customers online. Pulling back the curtain into this world means that you can dispense with traditional methods in future and bask in the warm success web based marketing offers? Not quite!

Traditional methods should rather be combined with and enhanced by digital options rather than being dispensed with. These methods have not been made obsolete by any means. Depending on the size of your business, the old reliables of TV, radio and print advertising can still be highly effective means for creating mass brand awareness. Direct mailing has stood the test of time but has arguably been surpassed by email marketing and is an example of digital’s great impact on the marketing old school.

Many companies have married old and new and created a little synergy by making the call to action on these campaigns digital based. Point customers to your website, encourage them to follow and interact on social media. Now these passive, unknown customers are made visible and ready for you to build relationships, leads and sales. This gives your brand an extra dimension through digital and is something we will delve into more tomorrow.

Tune-Up Your Other Functions With Digital

Once the marketing department have caught the digital bug, it often takes longer for these same approaches to be considered throughout the rest of the organisation.

Many firm’s customer service is still primarily phone based, but this burden on costs and man hours can be reduced by introducing platforms such as customer forums, live chat services and even website FAQ sections. If you are increasingly savvy gaining customers digitally, they may be disappointed that they cannot then follow up at other stages of their life cycle with you by these means also.

Digital is here to stay, so integrate it when possible all around your business, it should improve performance to misfiring parts and have the already finely tuned functions purring like a kitten.

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Under The Hood – The 6 Key Parts Of Your Digital Marketing Engine

Today we will look at what separates an old, run down marketing strategy from the sleek, supercharged digital engine that drives a clued-in company.  Let’s pop the hood and see what makes souped-up digital marketing tick!

1. Create Useful and Shareable Content

The web is chock full of companies and brands advertising their wares. Being heard in the digital space with just an advert or sales pitch is a sure fire way of being lost in the ether.  To attract the new and empowered online customer you will need to grab their attention and make them come to you.

How? Create content that is relevant and useful to your customer base.   This will encourage them to return to your site again and again and improve customer perception of your brand.  This can be hugely effective and cost efficient way of increasing leads and sales opportunities.

2. Build Your Community & Fanbase

Now you have a strong and active web presence. To borrow a classic movie quote “If you build it, they will come”?  Not necessarily!  Ensure you get your message heard, if people are sharing your content, find out where and how.  Encourage these behaviours further amongst your customer base. Common examples here are clever uses of polls, questions, contests and competitions.

3. Interact With Your Audience, Build Trust

Social media marketing has allowed mass conversation between companies and consumers.  Brands can now reach out and make real connections with their customers.  Use social media to humanise your brand, start conversations and spark debate.  This will help create enthusiastic customers and in time, brand evangelists.

4. Maintain a Sales Focused Website

Your website is your crown jewel online, the one part of the web where you control every aspect of your brand’s message.  Test your own site from a customer perspective, is the search and purchase process clear and easy to understand?  If customers have to jump through too many hoops to purchase, they will simply leave and never come back.

5. Measure Your Effectiveness

Behold the altar of metrics!  Whatever your digital focus is (increasing fans, engagement, increasing sales leads) ensure that you are tracking the effects your strategy across your various web and social platforms.  Measure before, during and after any campaign, that way you can adjust your behaviour to repeat successes and avoid repeating failures.

6. Re-evaluate Objectives, & Go Again!

Of course, the road goes ever on regarding your brand’s performance.  Whether a campaign has met your goals or not, strive to create an action plan for any peaks and valleys in your performance that you may have noticed along the way.  Learn any lessons, refine your technique and get back into the fray.  Digital never sleeps!

If you’d like to know more about any of the topic discussed above, or how they can affect your business, please drop us a message.

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In the social media fitness centre, are you fitter or fatter than your competitors?

In the digital age, marketeers have the power to measure their performance more effectively than ever before. Well defined and measured KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are the key to measuring your performance in your own marketplace.  Did you know that you can look at your competitors KPI’s and compare them against your own?   Here are 3 ways you can gauge your social media fitness against the competition using freely available data.

The Basics:  Followers & Visibilitylike

  • Follower/fan count
  • Post/tweet totals
  • Reach/exposure

These are the easiest to find and compare.  They provide a general overview of competitor performance.  But beware!  They can be misleading…  A company could be gung-ho to gain thousands of followers through Facebook ads, but have no meaningful interaction with any of these fans.  That’s why you have to go deeper…

Advanced: Interaction

  • Retweets
  • Shares
  • Replies/comments
  • Mentions
  • Contributors (who is retweeting you, and how many impressions they created)

Now we’re getting somewhere. Social media is about interaction, you need to know how your conversations and content stack up against your competitors. If they are gaining more retweets, shares etc, look into their style of interacting with their audience.  Maybe they are the kings of clever #hashtagging?   They turn everything into a question that simply must be answered?  If there are lessons to learn here,  incorporate their strengths into your own model. Don’t worry, all they can do is shake their fist at you as you make up the lost ground!  If they are trailing in your wake, don’t ease up as there is no finish line in social media…

social-media-analysisExpert:  Content style – Frequency and Source

  • Facebook updates
  • Tweets
  • Blog posts
  • eBooks
  • White Papers
  • Video

Quite simply, look at their content.  Check for times when your competitors channels were most active.  Did this result in spikes in engagement?   Were they posting their own, original content, or mainly links to outside material?  Look at what content worked best with their customers.  This will inform your own social media team on what works best for your particular market.

HOW TO MEASURE UP

As you know, using relevant KPI’s to measure your social media fitness is vitally important.  The real edge though, is using the same criteria to spy on your competition.   This practice, taken regularly, will ensure you don’t fall behind or get into bad habits when dealing with your customer base through social media.

If you’d like to learn more about competitor analysis, then please contact us at team@socialmedia.ie.

Interview with CTO Barry O'Sullivan on Dublin City FM's The Persuaders Marketing Show

Alex Gibson from Dublin City FM’s The Persuaders Marketing Show talks to CTO Barry O’Sullivan about the history of SocialMedia.ie and how Boss Metrics came to be through the NDRC’s Launchpad programme. You can listen to the full interview here from 3.50.

Barry at Dublin City FMBarry tells Alex how he recognised that many applications were being developed with the customer in mind, yet these companies had not conducted sufficient market research or spoken to the customer. This meant that upon release of the product they have been met with ‘a negative  reaction’ from the customers they set out to help.

After listening to customer needs, SocialMedia.ie developed their software and a service model, which adds an extra layer of interpretation in top of traditional analytical platforms. The 3 step process consists of an Audit, Analysis and Action plan. The audit is performed by the software, then the analysis and Action Plan is developed by the team in order for the client to improve their digital marketing strategy.

Barry also talks about the importance of sharing and creating relevant content that must be aligned to overall business goals. Once this content is published across a companies social channels it goes into the ‘Shared content feedback loop of fan generation’. The people who interact with the post will extend the reach of the brand page. However, when analyzing social channels its more important to look at the number of brand advocates you are creating opposed to the overall number of people that follow you.

Barry goes on to give some examples of research which SocialMedia.ie has conducted including an analysis of Ireland’s Banking Sector who have a social presence and who are Ireland’s most social political parties.

 

Top 3 customer communities in action – SAP, Weightwatchers & beaut.ie

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Building and interacting with your customer community can be a challenge, but it can lead to massive pay-offs for your business. Regardless of your size, it’s possible to create a community that nurtures your client base and improves your business. Below are our top three examples of customer communities. Whether the business is large, medium or small, these communities provide real value to the business.

sapSAP Community Network (SCN)

The SCN has been around for nearly 10 years. It provides SAP users worldwide with a massive forum to offer advice, seek guidance and self-manage issues amongst themselves. SAP provides the framework and let their customers do the talking.  How successful is it? Have a look at these figures.

  • SCN contains over 2.5. million members
  • 3000 posts daily, 450 blogs monthly, over 230 countries have active users
  • 375 topics active for internal product managers to monitor with over 600 moderators!
  • Their IdeaPlace suggestion hub has seen over 9000 customer led product/service improvement ideas to date, with over 200 already implemented to their solutions (Forbes, 2012)

We consider SAP to be a best in class example of large scale community maintenance and management. Take a tour of their community at http://scn.sap.com/welcome  so you can get some inspiration.

Weight-WatchersWeightwatchers

The famous weight loss and dieting community. You’d think that they would naturally lend themselves to online communities, and you’d be right. Their US and UK sites have a massive, highly active communities.  The largest groups contain over 15,000 users where topics are opened by members, not the company. The site promotes their own branded food to a receptive audience, which happens to create a legion of brand evangelists along the way, not a bad result.

An interesting point to note is that the Irish site currently contains no community section.  We assume they think the Irish market’s size isn’t large enough to support a thriving community. Other Irish sites, such as rollercoaster.ie and mummypages.ie, however, both maintain large forums in part devoted to lifestyle issues such as dieting.

logo2Beaut.ie

This Irish site offers a friendly, accessible alternative to the more aloof magazine culture regarding beauty products.  Their posts are delivered in such a conversational tone that forums quickly became populated by thousands of fans. They use the forum to share tips and cement Beaut as the leading authority in the Irish market, far ahead of the traditional magazines.

We include this example to show you how disruptive even a small community can be to the market as a whole.

 

Communities take time to nurture, but they can be so rewarding for a company’s efforts to really connect to their client base for the long term.  If you’re playing for keeps, it’s worth the effort!

The Death of HMV – Why social media killed the music store

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There are many reasons why a business can fail but the majority of them are due to a failure to change the business to changing consumer needs.

It’s affects can be seen in businesses of any size, be it a startup or a large corporation, like HMV or Kodak, that just failed to innovate and change with their consumers. These failures could have been avoided had they been prepared to capture and act on the market intelligence.

The Death of HMV – Why social media killed the music store

HMV is an organisation that chose to ignore the disruptors. Despite their huge customer base and access to a treasure trove of content, they failed to innovate and accept that their product range was ideal for online distribution and marketing via social media and digital channels.  They were destroyed by changing consumer behaviours and the emergence of many new music players like iTunes, Spotifty and Last FM.

kodak-logoThe Death of Kodak – Gone in a flash

A series of bad decisions sealed the fate of Kodak. Despite knowing that change was coming down the line they failed to respond. While their competitors were grappling with disruptive technologies, they chose to ignore them, despite being the ones who had developed the technology in the first place. From a company who had coined the phrase ‘Kodak moments’ they had indeed missed theirs. The irony of Kodak’s sorry tale was the fact that the company’s initial success had come about as a result of their founder George Eastman’s ability to respond and innovate. He had the foresight to move away from the company’s core product and take a short-term hit for the long-term gain.

The evolution of Toyota – From strength to strength

Fortunately for the business world not every organisation chooses to take this ‘head in sand’ approach. Toyota, for example, ensured their continued success by listening and responding to the demand for products that were kinder to the environment and the US Government’s call for better fuel efficiency. In the face of breakthrough technology they were prepared to make the switch from one culture to another. 

engagement-smListen to your target market – Adapt and survive

Reinvention and diversity came too late for companies such as Kodak and HMV. Their inability to be flexible and respond to change ensured that they were overtaken by the march of technology. The good news for organisations who have taken their businesses online is that this doesn’t have to be the outcome. The real strength of social media channels and digital marketing lies in it’s data and our ability to monitor & measure everything happening online.

By gathering and analysing global data from blogs, social media channels and websites you are able to:

  • identify areas for improvement
  • devise appropriate strategies based on your findings
  • gives us an insight into the needs and problems of your customers
  • anticipate a shift in the market and respond accordingly in a timely fashion
  • make better business decisions based on data, not intuition

In addition to this, by examining your metrics we can determine the level of awareness, influence and engagement your brand is having on the target market. By utilising free and paid tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention we can manage your brand in realtime.

If you would like some help to understand what your target consumers are talking about and how you can listen and act fast, we are happy to help you. Contact team@socialmedia.ie today to discuss how we can help you avoid the same fate as HMV.