Why Content Marketing is King

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Why Content Marketing Is King

BY Mikal E. Belicove|
October 20, 2011|

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Why Content Marketing Is KingWhen it comes to marketing strategies, content marketing has just been crowned king, far surpassing search engine marketing, public relations and even print, television and radio advertising as the preferred marketing tool for today’s business-to-business entrepreneur.

Why Content Marketing Is King

Late this summer, HiveFire, a Cambridge, Mass.-based internet marketing software solutions company, surveyed nearly 400 marketing professionals about the state of the business-to-business, or B2B, market, and discovered that marketers are retreating from traditional marketing tactics such as search marketing and have made content marketing the most-used tactic in their brand-enhancing tool box. Fact is, according to HiveFire’s B2B Marketing Trends Survey Report, twice as many B2B marketers now employ content marketing as they do print, TV and radio advertising, according to the survey.

So what exactly is content marketing? It’s the creation and publication of original content — including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos — for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and putting the company’s subject matter expertise on display. HiveFire’s researchers found that an impressive 82 percent of B2B marketers now employ content marketing as a strategy in their marketing programs. Coming in at a distant second place is search engine marketing at 70 percent, followed by events at 68 percent, public relations at 64 percent and print/TV/radio advertising at 32 percent.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said driving sales and leads was the top marketing goal of their organization, followed by boosting brand awareness and establishing or maintaining thought leadership (both at 35 percent). Another 28 percent said their primary goal was to increase web traffic and 24 percent said it was to improve search results.

Part of the popularity of content marketing is its ability to generate qualified leads while engaging prospects in a branded environment without busting the budget. Nearly half of the content marketers interviewed said they dedicate less than a third of their budgets to such marketing expenditures. In addition to frugality, B2B marketers also believe most of their customers and prospects are online, which is why they’re focusing their marketing efforts on the Internet.

Finally, the survey shows that “content curation” — which is defined as the process of finding, organizing and sharing content — continues to gain strength as a top marketing strategy, up 17 percent from six months ago. Seen as a way for marketers to fuel their marketing programs, content curation does have its problems. Nearly 70 percent of content curators say lack of time hinders their efforts, with 66 percent saying a lack of original and quality content is a major drawback. Another 38 percent say difficulty in measuring results is the stumbling block and 37 percent say lack of staff to do the work is the hindrance.

Despite these issues, the survey makes clear that content marketing is only going to become more important going forward, whether you market to other businesses or to the public at large.

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The Social Soap Box: Social Media Gets Older

Can you believe the average age of a twitter user is 39 years old?!
Most people you ask would say, there’s no way! … twitter is for the younger kids – the Gen Y, or Millennials as they call them… but not so fast. The infographic below indicates that most social media users are between the age of 35-44, with a 25% share of all social media use.

Read on for more great statistics!

Thank you @autumntt for putting together this great article!

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The Social Soap Box: Social Media Gets Older

Autumn Truong
July 28 , 2011

Social media has only been around a decade, but the folks who frequent sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are getting older. 

A recent survey conducted by Pew Internet revealed that the average age of a user of social networking sites is 38, a big increase from the average age of 33 just three years ago. To boot, over half of all adult Internet users are now over the age of 35. The Pew research also revealed that Facebook users in particular are 43 percent more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel most people can be trusted.

I asked Peter Kim, chief strategy officer at Dachis Group, a research and consultancy firm focused on social business, to share his thoughts:

“Many sites are seeing current growth from this older demographic. Early on, companies could dismiss the need for social strategy by claiming that social networks were better suited for youth. Now, there should be no doubt left that social channels are critical for both business to consumer and employee to employee communications.

As companies shift to social business, they will need to come to terms with the realities of engagement. Trust is paramount and built through direct engagement; yet most companies are not staffed to scale up quickly in social channels. Thus the changes in corporate communications and marketing will be slow to manifest publicly. But they’ll become the basis of long-term competitive advantage for those who get it right.

What this means: companies must consider their readiness for social business. Is the organization siloed or networked? Is the culture closed or collaborative? Are the right tools being used to facilitate communications and connections?

Look to companies like Ford and Target that are shifting on the leading edge of these changes.”

Net-net: The population is aging, so it makes sense that users of social networks are getting older, too. Here’s a fairly recent infographic that gives a good breakdown of how the various age groups interact online.

Read more at newsroom.cisco.com

 

The Rise of Social Networking in Latin America

The statistics are simply amazing!

In June 2011, 114.5 million people in Latin America visited a social networking site, representing 96.0 percent of the entire online population in the region. Social networking is not only big in Latin America, it is also growing — with the audience climbing 16 percent in the past year – comScore 2011

These are unprecedented levels of engagement… representing extremely high adoption rates for the entire region. Latin Americans are clearly active users of social media technologies. Read the full report from comScore to get the full scoop on overall trends, global, regional and market specific statistics, and overall summary of how social media impacts the overall fabric of digital media communications in the region.

Executive Summary:
Social networking is central to the online experience across Latin America, reaching millions of people and providing a level of engagement that is rarely matched by any other online activity. Tapping into people’s innate need to interact and communicate, social networking provides an opportunity for consumers to actively connect to one another while also creating a channel that brands can utilize to engage with consumers in a two-way relationship.

This report examines the state of Latin America’s dynamic social networking landscape, providing insights into trends at a global, regional and market level. The report also analyzes how social media has shaped the larger digital environment through its influence on other social web activities and its role in the dissemination of marketing messages. Several of the report’s key findings are summarized below:

In June 2011, 114.5 million people in Latin America visited a social networking site, representing 96.0 percent of the entire online population in the region. Social networking is not only big in Latin America, it is also growing — with the audience climbing 16 percent in the past year.

Latin Americans are strongly engaged with social networking. Half of the top 10 worldwide markets by time spent on social networking sites are in Latin America with Argentina leading the region at 10 hours per month in June 2011.

The Latin American social networking audience is nearly equal in its composition of males and females, but females account for a larger share of social networking time spent (53.6 percent) compared to males (46.4 percent). This trend was most significant in Brazil where females accounted for 58.7 percent of all social networking time spent.

Facebook.com strongly led the social networking market in Latin America reaching more than 91 million visitors. Windows Live Profile ranked #2 with more than 35.5 million visitors in the region. Orkut held the #3 spot with 34.4 million visitors, largely driven by the site’s popularity in Brazil, while Twitter.com ranked #4 with 24.3 million visitors.

Five of the top 10 markets by Facebook.com reach are in Latin America. Facebook reached 90.9 percent of all online users in Chile, ranking as the most penetrated market in Latin America.

In Brazil, Orkut ranked as the most-visited social networking destination, reaching 35.7 million visitors, an increase of 20 percent from June 2010. Facebook.com, which is the second largest social networking site in Brazil, witnessed strong growth increasing 192 percent to 24.5 million visitors.

For more details, please download the full comScore report below.

Amplify’d from www.comscore.com

The Rise of Social Networking in Latin America


Date: September 20, 2011

Speaker: comScore, Inc.

Event: comScore Whitepaper

Download Whitepaper

comScore presents The Rise of Social Networking in Latin America. The report examines the state of Latin America’s dynamic social networking landscape, providing insights into trends at a global, regional and individual market level.

The report reveals the role of social networking in Latin Americans’ digital experience:

  • How large is the social networking audience and what is the demographic composition of these users?
  • How much time are users spending social networking and what does this reveal about changes in online behaviors?
  • What are the top social networking brands in the region? How do audience preferences differ across markets?
  • How has social media shaped the larger digital environment through its influence on other social web activities?
  • What role does social media play in the dissemination of marketing messages?

Read more at www.comscore.com

 

3 Social Media Must Haves For Companies

Another great writeup by Heidi Cohen!

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3 Social Media Must Haves For Companies

Always be preparedWhile social media continues to mature, it’s still a scary environment for many businesses since it means that prospects, customers and the public have the platforms and tools to amplify their voices with relative ease. Despite this easy access to publishing tools, the reality is that only 1% of the people involved in social media create new content while 90% lurk or consume content and 9% comment or make other minor contributions to existing content.  From a corporate perspective, it’s that 1-2% of interactions or comments to which brands and/or companies must respond.

In today’s social media ecosystem, there are three elements that every company should have regardless of whether they’re active on social media networks or not. Given the velocity with which information is shared, it’s critical that your firm is prepared to react quickly and appropriately to changes in the conversation in order to protect your brand and reputation. Here are three recommendations.

  1. Have social media monitoring in place. This factor was high on marketers’ list of 2011 must haves. Social media monitoring can be an early warning system for your business. As part of your social media monitoring make sure that you’re also tracking words related to your competitors since their problems can quickly spread to your business.

  1. Implement social media guidelines. Surprisingly, research by SmartBrief for Social Media and Summus, which considers social media guidelines an indicator of social media adoption, found that only half of companies had social media guidelines after three years. This should be a no-brainer as it protects both your firm and your employees.

  1. Have a crisis management plan in place. Since social media firestorms can occur at any time without notice, it’s important to have a crisis management plan in place. This means more than just the name of a PR crisis management firm. It requires an organized plan with up-to-date names and phone numbers (including personal cellphones.) The reality is that something will occur at a time when no one’s minding the shop; at night, on the weekend or during a holiday. (Here’s a Real-time PR Checklist to help you.)

As a business, are you ready for a PR crisis? Are you prepared if something happens to one of your employees, suppliers, distributors or competitors? Just as airlines repeat their instructions about evacuating the airplane at the beginning of every flight, it’s important for your business to ensure that your employees understand what’s expected of them in a social media emergency.

Does your firm have these three elements in place? If not, what’s holding your firm back?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Read more at heidicohen.com

 

7 Social Media Trends for 2011

Great Article by Heidy Cohen!

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7 Social Media Trends for 2011

2010 was a tipping point for social media: it changed how we market, as shown by Pepsi’s Refresh Campaign and Old Spice’s viral videos; connected us during crises, notably in the Haitian earthquake and BP oil spill; and it left every firm feeling vulnerable to a PR flare up, regardless of how broad their engagement. In terms of sheer size, 2010 was notable in that Facebook overtook Google in the number of site visitors.

What does this mean for marketers as we enter 2011?

Marketers and, more importantly, senior management need to take social media seriously and to integrate it across their enterprises. It’s critical to understand that social media networks are where consumers and the public spend their time and engage. This is real life where your audience decides if they like your product and how you’re behaving as a company. Be warned that if they don’t like what your firm is doing, they have the megaphones and connections to get the message out quickly to like-minded individuals.

7 social media trends for 2011

Here are seven predictions for social media’s evolution in 2011.

  1. Think social media boy scouts: Be prepared to respond to your customers and the public. Regardless of how active your company is on social media platforms, you must be ready for a social media flare up. In 2010, a significant crisis for BP turned worse when the CEO talked about getting back to his personal life. To this end, build your social media tribe early and have a crisis management plan in place. Further, update it regularly to ensure that you’re able to contact people when you have to. In today’s world, upset customers express themselves to a broad audience, often when you’re least prepared.

  1. Get senior management on board for social media activities. Many members of senior management haven’t bought into social media. Now’s the time to get your team trained and engaged. Have them participate on social media platforms before you have to overcome an escalating social media issue. Ford avoided a social media crisis by participating as an active member of the community not just blasting out one-way messages. Management buy-in is critical to drive your social media activities towards your corporate goals. Don’t overlook the need to educate your senior management and others within your organization.

  1. Not for marketing only! Expand social media usage across the enterprise. Social media can be leveraged to cost efficiently extend the effectiveness of your organization. For example, social media can extend your customer service, human resources and investor relations by allowing a broader group of people to participate.

  1. Protect your firm, your employees and your customers with corporate guidelines. Social media guidelines can be short and to the point. While this may sound like a nuisance, it supports your employees by telling them what’s acceptable and what’s not. It takes away the guesswork. By doing this, you can enable a broader base of employees to participate in social media on your firm’s behalf and enrich your content offering.

  1. Integrate social media marketing into your overall marketing plan. To enhance the effectiveness of your social media marketing, it’s critical to integrate it into your overall marketing strategies. Well-executed social media marketing requires more than a few tweets a day and a Facebook page. Remember, social media is a multi-directional communications tool. You need to leverage other forms of marketing to let your prospects, customers and the public know about your social media efforts. Often this requires marketing and PR support. Further, bear in mind that advertising on social media platforms, particularly Facebook and Twitter, will gain traction and leverage internal information to generate revenue.

  1. Acknowledge that social media isn’t free. While many social media platforms allow users to interact without fees, from a corporate perspective, social media marketing isn’t free. It requires budget (read: money) and resources (read: employees or consultants). While companies are starting to hire social media experts, the real change occurs when they add internal headcount to manage the process and begin messaging from the inside.

Read more at heidicohen.com

 

Social Media ROI

Brian Solis is the leading expert on all things Social Media, check out what he has to say about Social Media ROI.

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My good friend Olivier Blanchard recently released his new book, Social Media ROI, Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. As he was nearing its completion, he asked if I would write the foreword and to be honest, I was flattered. I agreed to do so under one condition, that I get the opportunity to share the foreword with you here. Long story short, here we are. The book is extremely helpful and carries the endorsements of those I also respect including Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Geoff Livingston, and Kyle Lacy.

esn’t Stand fo

ROI Doesn’t Stand for Return on Ignorance

I’m often asked, what’s the ROI of social media? To which I answer, you can’t measure what it is you do not value or know to value.

Sounds simple enough. But, the truth is, determining value is not an easy process. But then again, whoever said using social media effectively in business was easy…is wrong.

As in anything in business, the ability to tie activity to the business values is critical. If we are to commit time, resources, and budget to social networks our investments must be justified. Indeed, social media strategies must prove long-term value and contribution to the bottom line in order to evolve into a pillar of business success. But, how do you measure something when best practices, case studies, and answers in general are elusive? We are struggling to prove the merit of an important ingredient in the future success of business because precedents have yet to be written or tested.

While many companies are already investing in social media, the reality is that most are done without the ability to demonstrate any return on investment. The truth is that you cannot succeed in anything if success is never defined. The good news is that success is definable and attainable. It just takes a little work…well, honestly, a lot of work to tie intended outcomes to the “R” (return) in ROI. And, even though social media, as a platform and series of channels, is inexpensive or free to host a presence, time and resources still carry fixed costs. To that end, if we enhance our presences or apply greater resources, the investment goes up exponentially. It comes down to the old adage, “time is money.”

Everything starts with the end in mind.

uccess is not a prescription. There isn’t one way to excel or measure progress. But, that’s the point. We must first design outcomes into the equation. What do we want to accomplish? What’s the return we seek? Are we trying to sell, change, drive, cause, or inspire something specific? Are we reducing customer problems as measured by inbound volume, open tickets, public discourse? Are we trying to shift sentiment to a more positive state that increases referrals as a result?

Success requires definition based on intentions, goals, and mutual value…across the organization from the top down, bottom up, inside out and outside in. Success is defined departmentally and also at the brand level. And, success is tied to desirable actions and outcomes. And, as we’ve already established, it’s impossible to measure the ROI for something if we haven’t first established the R (Return) or the I (Investment). No amount of new acronyms will change this yet we see new terms introduced as if we’ve already given up on defining ROI; Return on Engagement (ROE), Return on Participation (ROP), Return on Listening (ROL), Return on Fluid Listening (ROFL – yes it’s a joke), Return on ignorance (The new ROI). In the end, everything carries cost and effect.

The debate over ROI is only going to gain in importance. But, that’s where we need to go in order to gain the support we need to expand our investment in social media. You’re in good hands though. Olivier Blanchard is indeed one of the few who can help. Here, he has written a comprehensive guide that will help you at every step from planning to program integration to management to measurement.

Thanks to Olivier, you’ll find the answers to your questions and also answers to the questions that you didn’t know to ask.

As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. The success of all things social media is up to you to define, quite literally.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

Read more at www.briansolis.com