Instagram rocks influencer marketing (report)

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In the last weeks, influencer marketing has become the rising star among marketing tactics. This is not surprising as ad blocking makes the life for marketeers and their brand campaigns more and more difficult. The team at Hashoff, a micro-influencer platform, just recently published their latest annual report on influencer marketing which gives some interesting insights in an evolving marketing discipline.

From the 300 influencers that Hashoff interviewed, 99% stated that Instagram was their place to go to in order to connect with communities and brands. Furthermore, 56% of a very much engaged community spends more than four hours per day on social media. Over 20% spend almost an entire working day with seven hours on social sites.

There are already 12% of influencers that indicated that influencer marketing is their business profession. The rest of the influencers have a proper full- or part-time job next to their influencer „business“, with over a quarter of the influencers being students. Surviving as an influencer seems to be a hard business and the report suggests the impression that all influencer business is short-term and (spontaneous) campaign-based marketing activities.

It is interesting to see how much time influencers put in the quality of their content. Over one-quarter of the influencers of the report invest up to three hours for their content from idea to production, and some even up to five hours per piece (10.5%). Half of the respondents spend 10 to 60 minutes on their content pieces.

2017: Top Social Networks Data (Infographic)

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All marketers want to know in our seminars, where to find their audience for their next social media campaigns. Obviously, all decisions and spends will be depending on if you are focussing on B2B or B2C customers. Still, some general data might be helpful in organizing and planning your next campaign audiences.

The guys at Trackx have recently published a new infographic. This infographic gives us the latest essential data and key insights on the major social networks. Interesting that almost every third (28%) has only one social network presence. Generation X is almost a full working day on Facebook available. Youtube generates 2 Mio. video views in a minute on their platform. And for marketers might be interesting that more than every second user on Instagram follows a brand (53%).

But find the data that might be relevant for your knowledge here in this infographic.

BMW connected window. The glass for the future?

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bmw-connected-windowYears ago, I have written about various options of companies envisioning the future of mirrors and screens. Whether it was Samsung or Toyota or any other company out there. Many brands think about the future way of living with new world of screens evolving. The rising mobility trend drives companies to work on the glass of the future.

This time BMW came up with their latest world of a connected window. Is it a good innovation to have such a window in the bathroom (as a mirror), as a window (which takes your awareness away from e.g. the playing kids outside in the garden), or even as a car window (which might drag your attention to the wrong topic instead of focussing on the street)?

Have a look at it and tell us what you think…

How to Market to Generations on Social Media (Infographic)

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All brands and companies wonder how to market to different generations on social media platforms. Marketers see great opportunities in reach and relevance in terms of the content, the data and the insights around consumers and customers. No wonder, as there are over 2.3 billion active social media users globally across various platforms. Almost 9 out of 10 Millennials (87%) are connected with brands and their families and friends via social networking.

Although the social channels are becoming more and more a paid media, the most important message to all marketers will be to listen to their customers and to engage when they are active in their social worlds. In which way a brand is then capable of personalizing and individualizing messages and content is on a different page. So, it will always stay a balance between paid and organic content that brands need to deliver to their customers.

However, the main challenge is to understand on which platform which target group wants to be addressed in which way. What kind of content do you need? How do these people engage? And why for brands Twitter or Instagram might make more sense than Facebook and Pinterest in talking to some of the generations.

Check out the infographic by Webpage FX and get some interesting insights in audiences on major platforms. BTW: It’s a shame that LinkedIn often gets forgotten in these overviews…

How to market to each generation - infographic

Content marketing – 90% generates no engagement (Report)

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When it comes to social selling, many companies and brand believe that content marketing is the secret sauce. But content marketing is not a lead engine when not controlled, qualified and distributed properly. A recent report by Beckon states that the average amount of image and video content from brands created and posted tripled since 2015. But not for the good.

The report finds that 90% of consumer engagement like Likes, shares and comments was generated by only 5% of that branded content. „In other words, 19 of 20 pieces of content pieces get little to no engagement,“ it concludes. Considering all the buzz around content marketing that we could hear at digital events like dmexco, these numbers are quite interesting. And the doubtful success some companies pretend to have with it raises the question if marketers are not trying to sell too much with content marketing as Mike Templeman suggests in his latest article on Entrepreneur.

Beckon also shows that the volume of content from some brands is incredibly high. The data service company tracked 29,000 and 50,000 individual pieces of content by each one brand. It becomes clear that companies are wasting content and obviously do not know how to make most out of it. The data of the insights for the report was collected from companies like Coca-Cola Co., Gap, Microsoft, HP, Reebok, and others that Beckon is working with.

Beckon_Report

Beckon CEO Jennifer Zeszut states in an interview that some brands seem to have the primary key performance indicator (KPI) on content to generate more of it. Obviously the study proves that case with the numbers.

The reports claims that the value of paid versus owned media seems to be unbalanced which seems to be a proper explanation considering how social networks are changing today and becoming more of paid media platforms. Furthermore, the report finds that there is just a 7% increase among its clients in paid or so-called „working“ media. Compared to that nonworking spending of their clients increased by 50% year over year, it shows how uncontrolled the budgets are spend in content production.

And despite the fact that programmatic is not everybody darling, the Beckon findings showcase that digital media bought programmatically by their clients generates twice the return on investment of other digital buys. However, just about half of measured digital spending was bought programmatically.

Spot On!
But the question is why this content is not triggering engagement. According to Beckon, often the lack of quality control at companies is a challenge. Many content teams simply overlook the content process by delivering guidelines and checking the produced quantity of content. However, they lack on proper content delivery and distribution. Content marketing is nice tactic but you need to know how to leverage social selling properly with the right strategic KPI set. Then content marketing gives you the right business impact.

Report on Messaging Apps: Comparison from WhatsApp to WeChat

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The popularity of messaging apps is increasing. Whether it is the Facebook Messenger where all companies hope for the latest secret sauce on messenger bot technology or Line and WeChat which already offer company profiles. It becomes very clear that messengers are different in terms of functionality, technology set-up as well as the value for brands and companies. Very often in seminar that we hold these days, messengers get mixed up with social networks, and the functionality is not very much clear to marketers. Understanding the differences and the opportunities for brands has become really challenging for them. And knowing which messenger apps are used in which countries and regions will make the lives of marketers easier.

Therefore, the team at Forrester has created a report called „The Future of Messaging Apps„. The report offers a simple overview of the most important facts around messaging apps, user figures and above all summarizes the opportunities for companies as Marketingland summarizes it. And although the world and marketers get mad around Snapchat, the overview states that seven out of ten leading apps got more users than the „yellow messenger“, and also Viber, Kik and Line get more ground and challenge other platforms like Skype which was leading not so many years ago.

The evolution of messengers for brands is interesting to have a closer look at. Unsurprisingly, Asian messengers are leading. WeChat already has got some 10 Mio. company profiles, and even Line has got 2 Mio. of those already. Although Line is not familiar to many brands, they have turned around 1,1 Mrd. USD already ($ 224 Mio. via Stickers which seems to be a good monetization strategy). The messengers Kik (also offering ad opportunities for brands) and Telegram started their own Messenger Bots. On the other side, we realize that WhatsApp is starting to approach companies these days to elaborate on business requirements. So, it will be interesting to see what kind of brand solutions they are coming up with in the future.

Please find the overview in a graphic as follows…

Forrester_Messaging_Apps-Messenger_Brands_Opportunities_User_Numbers_2016

Twitter Study: The value of influencers

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Some weeks ago in this post, we have tried to define an undefined social media species: Influencers. The feedback was very positive and many companies are still trying to find the secret sauce how to use and leverage the value of influencers for their brands and their sales funnel.

Now, a recent study by Twitter gives further evidence of the value of influencers, and on how they help positioning brands and in which way they might might upload the sales funnel. The first part of the study was meant to figure out amoung more than 300 users how they responded toward brand influencers.

The study conducted by Annalect, a data analytics company, in corporation with Twitter shows that almost 40% of the responding people stated to have purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on a social platform like Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. And another 40% stated that they are following brands on Twitter.

But influencers are not only valuable in terms of sales performance. They also make people share products they are using themselves. Almost one in five (20%) respondents claimed that they shared something they saw from an influencer. Amoung Millennials even one in three said they follow a social media influencer on Twitter or Vine.

The study comes like an extension of two former studies from Nielsen and Lithium making clear that Millennials trust different people in different ways. Interestingly enough, this study also states that influencers rival friends in trust building. Just 7% of respondents rely more on recommendations from friends (56%) than from influencers (49%).

„This is telling us is that you don’t have to be a mass media star or a household name to be influential and actually drive people to buy stuff.“ Jeffrey Graham, Vice President of Market Research and Insights, Twitter

The Twitter-owned talent agency Niche revealed that the pool of influencers available to brands has grown from 6,000 to over 25,000 in a year. Honestly, we would say there os probably more depending on what you value: reach or relevance.

Twitter_Infographic_Influencer_2016

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The smartphone has become the modern sales acceleration technology. Social influencers put trendy or interesting products on their sites or streams while walking down the street or by getting them from brands for free, and people following them would purchase those products. Have you not experienced this yourself?

The only thing we wonder is, how much would brands pay influencers to write about their product and share a picture of the product via their social media accounts? The numbers we know from influencers vary but maybe there is someone in the market who might want to share some insights.

Study: Millennials don’t want brands to stalk them

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Credits: Gerd Altmann  / pixelio.de

Credits: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

The vision of social networks was to create a better exchange between people – whether near or far. But where is consumers, there’s also brands trying to reach out with advertising to them on any available platform. A recent study now shows that Millennials are not really happy with the social advertising activities.

According to the study of Harris Poll (conducted on behalf of Lithium Technologies), that addressed more than 2,300 consumers of all generations, more than half of all digital natives (56%) report to cut back or stop the use of social media platforms entirely.

Even more, 75% of the responding Millenials stated that they feel stalked by brands on social platforms. The reason: The eager way brands do target them in their news feed with the ambition to build trust and loyalty with their customers or consumers via social media platforms in the U.S.

So, what does this mean for brands? Do brands have to live according to a transformed version of the former cold call prevention: „Don’t stalk us, we follow you!“? The study suggests that direct targeting on social platforms via advertising might result in losing customers. It would be more effective to engage and to be present on the channels they use frequently. And also if brands might be tempted to leverage the huge purchasing power coming from the modern generations (Millennials and Gen Z make up 50% of the population), brands need to be careful not to waste the potential of social media and really meet their personal expectations. How challenging this might be in the end…

„The promise of social technologies has always been about connecting people, not shouting at them, and the brands that don’t do this risk their very existence.“ Rob Tarkoff, President&CEO, Lithium Technologies.

But how can brands build trust, the study also asked? A question that is also raised in a bi-annual study from Nielsen and might be evaluated in comparison with those results. Obviously, online is their general source of information but their trust in online exceeds that of former generations by far.

Lithium Online Trust 2016

While in the Nielsen study, personal „recommendations from people I know“ are leading, Lithium sees „online sites with product reviews“ as the highest form of online trust creation. That websites are definitely not „dead“ can be seen that both studies see websites kind of in the second place. And, whereas Lithium sees „communities of like-minded people“ in the third place (just think about what their main product was…), Nielsen sees editorial content still a very important source.

In terms of service, the Lithium study shows that Millennials contact brands online (79%) and expect a response back within the same day – almost 10% more than Baby Boomers. So, if brands do not actively monitor and engage with the younger generations online, their brand loyalty might go down soon. The best way to interact with Millennials is described in a quote the study also delivers…

„I go on social media to see and know what my friends are doing. I don’t want to see ads clutter my news feed. If I’m interested in a product or service, I know where to look. Social media is a place for us to connect with our friends, not be attacked by advertisements.“ Mallory Benham, Graduate Student (23)

So, what are your learning on targeting Millennials and Gen Z via ads on social media?

Report: IoT 2020 – Big expectations and cost savings

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Credit: © sdecoret – Fotolia.com

Credit: © sdecoret – Fotolia.com

Just recently, we summarized the findings of Goldman Sachs‘ on the Internet-of-Things (IoT) report, and what they think where IoT might lead us to in the future.

Now, another report from Schneider Electric called „IoT 2020 Business Report“ delivers some new findings on how large organisations will leverage Internet of Things technologies as a serious business tool by 2020. Their study is based on feedback by 3,000 business leaders from twelve countries.

According to their global survey, 75% of respondents were optimistic about the opportunities IoT presents this year. Almost every second out of three (63%) companies use IoT to improve their customer experience and analyze customer behaviour in 2016. They hope to solve problems faster, achieve better customer service and customer satisfaction ranking.

Furthermore, cost savings in automation seem to be high on the agenda, above all building (63%) and industrial automation (62%). As results showed the improvements in automation technologies almost half of the companies (42%) say they want to implement IoT-enabled building automation systems within the next two years.

The key driver for IoT is mobile for two out of three companies (67%). Thus, they plan to implement IoT via mobile applications this year, and 32% even in the next six months. Again, cost savings of up to 59% is the major driver for IoT implementation.

The confidence is the value of knowledge gathering and sharing already exists inside most companies surveyed. 81% feel that the data and/or information generated by the IoT is being shared effectively throughout the organisation. Fears are lower than expected. Only 41% of respondents connect cybersecurity threats with IoT business challenges.

„We’re past the point of questioning whether IoT will deliver value. Businesses now need to make informed decisions to position themselves to maximise IoT’s value in their organisation.“ Dr. Prith Banerjee, Chief Technology Officer, Schneider Electric

However, Schneider Electric does not only publish numbers of their study but also provides the following predictions that business leaders might take into consideration.

1. The next wave of digital transformation.
IoT will bring operational technology (OT) and IT together while fueling a mobile and digitally enabled workforce: As more companies both expand and deepen their digitisation programmes enterprise-wide, IoT will increasingly take centre stage. This new wave of transformation will be enabled by more affordable “connected” sensors, embedded intelligence and control, faster and more ubiquitous communications networks, cloud infrastructure, and advanced data-analytics capabilities.

2. Insightful data.
IoT will translate previously untapped data into insights that enable enterprises to take the customer experience to the next level: When thinking about the value proposition of IoT, most businesses point to efficiency and cost savings as the key benefits. Yet access to data – including previously untapped data – and the ability to translate it into actionable insights, the hallmark of IoT, will deliver greater customer-service transformation and new opportunities to build brand/service loyalty and satisfaction.

3. Premise-to-cloud confidence.
The IoT will promote an open, interoperable and hybrid computing approach, and it will foster industry and government collaboration on global architecture standards that address cybersecurity concerns: While cloud-based IoT solutions will grow in popularity, no single computing architecture will monopolise their delivery. IoT instead will flourish across systems, both at the edge and on premise, as part of private cloud or public cloud offerings. Making IoT available across heterogeneous computing environments will help end users adopt IoT solutions in the way that best suits their security and mission-critical needs while also offering entities with legacy technology infrastructures a logical and manageable path forward, allowing them to transform over time.

4. Innovations that leapfrog existing infrastructure.
IoT will function as a source of innovation, business model disruption and economic growth for businesses, governments and emerging economies: Just as the Industrial Revolution, birth of the Internet and mobile revolution have driven advancement, innovation and prosperity, so will IoT. Businesses and cities alike will deliver new IoT-enabled services; new business models will emerge; and, in particular emerging economies will have a significant opportunity to quickly leverage IoT without the constraint of legacy infrastructure, essentially leapfrogging old ways. In fact, McKinsey forecasts that 40 percent of the worldwide market for IoT solutions will be generated by developing countries.

5. A better planet.
IoT solutions will be leveraged to address major societal and environmental issues: IoT will help countries and their economies respond to the biggest challenges facing our planet, including global warming, water scarcity and pollution. In fact, survey respondents identified improved resource utilisation as the number one benefit of IoT to society as a whole. In concert with the private sector, local and national governments will embrace IoT to accelerate and optimise current initiatives to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in accord with the breakthrough COP21 climate agreement, whereby 196 countries pledged to keep global warming under the threshold of two degrees celsius.

Spot On!
The Internet of Things has been seen as the main revolution from a technology perspective. The hype seems to be at an all-time high. Real business value is not only saving money though. Customer service improvements, better process optimization and smarter work and life opportunities will have big potential to bring IoT business value to enterprises in the future.

What is your experience on the value of IoT for your business?

Social Selling is a Team Sport

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Credit: © vege – Fotolia.com

Credit: © vege – Fotolia.com

On the surface, social selling seems like an initiative reserved exclusively for the sales team. And while, yes, social selling is typically championed by a Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales, it integrates best into a business with organization-wide support.

Social selling is a team sport
The sales team impacts all departments of an organization, including client success, product and IT. But arguably the place where sales – and social selling – has the greatest influence is on the marketing team. And vice versa.

According to Sirius Decisions, 58% of marketing and sales teams say they are seriously misaligned. Some of the repercussions of a sales-marketing duo with no alignment? Lost leads, bad content and blind decision-making.

Sales and marketing teams need to get on the same page to ensure efforts aren’t going to waste (and feelings aren’t getting hurt). To be successful, sales and marketing must focus on 3 key aspects of a strong social selling initiative:

Content
A crucial aspect of social selling is the sales professional’s ability to provide valuable content – articles, white papers, videos, podcasts and more – to prospects in their network. Misaligned marketing departments can spend time and resources creating content for sales, but it is useless if the content doesn’t meet the needs of the prospect or if sales can’t even find it.

How do you fix it? By understanding the buyer’s journey, sales and marketing can together determine what types of content fit best for prospects at different levels of the funnel. Then, marketing can curate a database of content that is easily accessible and relevant for salespeople to use throughout their process.

Process
Implementing a well-run social selling program provides the sales organization a predictive, guided approach to everyday sales. In an environment where nearly 60% of the B2B buying process is done by the prospect before they ever speak to sales, reps need guidance on how, when, and where to connect on social networks. Marketing and sales need to understand and agree on their buyer persona so marketing can provide the resources that will guide sales to success.

How do you fix it? For social selling to become part of a sales professional’s everyday process, it must be easy for them to identify the best way to engage with prospects online. Marketing and sales must collaborate to identify the ways in which their buyers navigate the buying process. This enables marketing to develop relevant campaigns and channels for sales to leverage in their social selling practices, resulting in the most important aspect of all…

Leads
Too often, misaligned sales and marketing teams hurt themselves and end up doing more work when they let good leads slip through the cracks. Whether it’s marketing campaigns missing the mark on the right buyer, or sales failing to follow up on solid marketing leads, it’s a lose-lose situation.

How do you fix it? First and foremost, clearly define what each team will commit to accomplishing in order to support each other. As the saying goes: Build the social selling process, and the leads will come. When marketing provides sales the resources and tools to become problem-solving thought leaders in their networks, everyone wins.

„Never leave Social media to marketing alone. Marketing spreads the brand and product messages. Sales plants conversations, seeds solutions and harvests on needs.“ (Martin Meyer-Gossner on Social Selling)

This is a guest blog post by PeopleLinx CEO Kevin O’Nell. PeopleLinx helps B2B enterprise sales teams activate socialselling with individualized guidance.

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