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Three Social Media Trends to Consider

Welcome to our first blog for 2017.

We trust you had a great Christmas and New Year and are now well and truly back into work for 2017.

We have done the hard work for you and researched all the 2017 predictions in social media trends to give you the top three that we agree all small to medium business need to consider when planning and implementing promotional or awareness campaigns on social media.

1: Authenticity Rules

Overwhelmingly the data and research builds a strong case for businesses to do away with the “stock images” and post real images.  Simply put, people find organic images more trust worthy than professional and polished stock photography both online and off.

With quality cameras built into smart phones and using digital cameras to shoot stills and video you are halfway there to creating believable content for your followers, who in turn are happy to share trustworthy content.

Our pet hate is when restaurants and cafes use stock images rather than real images of the meals they produce, which is not authentic nor engaging.

Our work with the Evans Head Business & Community Chamber is a good example of how “in the moment” images and video posts rate very successfully for their engagement and reach.

Look for yourself on the Evans Head Facebook page.

2: User Generated Content (UGC)

If UX (User Experience) was the buzz abbreviation of 2016 then UGC will be in 2017.

One of the best outcomes from using social media is having other people produce your content for you at a fraction of the cost.  Particularly for businesses within the tourist industry where UGC is becoming increasingly important as it goes to the authenticity of your products or services.

If your customers are sharing their experiences, then you’re using social media in the way it was designed for.  If you post quality content then your customers or visitors will be more inclined to do the same on your behalf.

In a discussion about “visual influences” on the Holly G Blog, Amrita Chandra (Head Marketing at CrowdRiff) said;

to be a real visual influencer you need to let others speak on your behalf. Tap in to the photo that people are creating today, share them with your audience, let your visitors and locals speak for you.”

How do you get them to do that?  There are strategies and tactics we can help you put in place to increase your UGC.

3: Live Broadcasting / Video

Live streaming or broadcast is now available on most social media channels and if they’re not they soon will be.  The user knows that the live stream is authentic, the reason this format is cutting through more than ever.  Businesses are broadcasting product launches, Q&A’s and even exclusive behind the scenes insights to their business.

An important factor in the increase of live streaming has been because you don’t need a huge budget or lots of equipment when it can all be done cheaply on an office computer or smart phone.  With a little training and creative input, we can help you produce live content to promote your business brand and individual products or services.

Video will continue to dominate the page feeds of social media as there is a natural progression from posts with images to video and on to live broadcasts.  Like producing streaming content, video is accessible via smart phones, cameras and computers.  With a little post-production editing and inclusion of titles, short videos are an effective way to deliver a message and engage your users.

The video below was shot on a Galaxy 7 mobile and posted straight to Facebook.  The authenticity of the 15 second video connected with people as shown through the stats of the post below.

As a organic post (not paid) it reached over 5000 people with over 2000 viewing the video.  The engagement of viewers was close to 10% with 9 shares, 7 of which being on-shares which would of increased the overall reach of the post beyond what was recorded.

postno

So now is a good time to plan your next 6 to 12 months of campaigns or promotions and what content on what platform you will use to engage and persuade your customers and followers.

Need a planner with check list designed for your individual Business, we can supply you templates for your marketing and individual campaign planning.

Until next time happy marketing.

Peter Byrne
Principal Consultant

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A major milestone achieved on 24th August and its a 1 in 7 chance you were involved……….

Monday 24th August a milestone occurs that reflects the changing face of media with little fan fair ………….. Face Book registered ONE Billion users in One Day.

One in 7 humans on planet Earth logged into their face book account and engaged with family, friends or business page.  Mark Zuckerberg commented in a posting;

“When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different. This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world.”

Yes Mark is about connecting the whole world, and he is 20% of the way to this achievement, in what – just over 10 years.

This reach would take the smile from any last century Media Mogul.

murdoch

Over 13 million individuals use face book in Australia, no other media can come close to this potential reach.

New pages for business are the next innovation to be introduced by the end of the year.

Business Pages will be divided into “shopping” and “services” categories.  COO Sheryl Sandberg announced:

Shopping, which Facebook first began testing in July, allows retailers to showcase and sell their products from their page. Similarly, the Services section, aimed at companies that provide professional services like plumbers or salons, lets businesses highlight their offerings.

New look Business Page
New look Business Page

In other improvements they are adding new “call to action buttons” for these pages, such as Call Now and Send Message buttons which will sit prominently just under the top banner.

For shopping pages there will be a “Buy Now” button which will dramatically decreases the clicks to the sales point.

As a retailer or service based business can you afford to ignore this platform to attract business?

If you like to know more about getting your business online or how to improve existing online performance give Strategy Monsters a call for a no obligation but essential discussion for your business. 

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Just looking up can be Inspiring

We have so many ways to be inspired. through social and traditional media we hear stories that engage and at times inspire us.

But some days all you have to do is look up, and today was one of these.

This little bear was in the tree outside the office this morning.

The Koala Bear has survived many human threats in the last two centuries and are currently facing another by the new Pacific Highway route south of Ballina.

Lets hope we can take better care of these precious bears.

To show your support follow the Save Ballina Koala Face book page here

Click on the pics to expand.

IMG_4354 IMG_4355 IMG_4358 IMG_4366 IMG_4371 IMG_4377 IMG_4382

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Five tips for a Successful Website

If your website home page is full and cluttered with information, just like a shop front it becomes confusing and bewildering for the user.
If your website home page is full and cluttered with information, just like a shop front it becomes confusing and bewildering for the user

How we present ourselves or our brand online is in a constant state of evolution that is influenced by changing technology and a deeper understanding how we the consumer interact online.

If your designing your first website or giving an existing one that overdue renovation, than these 5 tips will help you produce a website with the necessary components to entice, engage and convert customers to your services or products.

  1. Concise Copy
    Websites that a have very clear and concise copy do better, they instantly inform the user of your value and what you offer. Good copy is instrumental in converting enquiries into sales.
  1. Usability
    Too often websites will focus the majority of their efforts on making their home page attractive over the ease to use. If your website is not easy to read or to find specific information, it won’t matter how good it looks the experience will be negative for the user.  What you envisage the user to do when visiting your site should drive all decisions in regard to the design, in short function leads style in building websites.

3 The Ask
What is the one thing you want people to do when they arrive at your website? Then ask them, having a call to action on your home page is critical to lead the user to the next step you want them to take. When anyone hits your home page there should be no ambiguity about what they should do – give their email, sign up for free trial or call a number.

  1. Case Studies and Validation
    Case studies about how others have worked with you can help potential customers learn about your business. Getting a tangible and clear perspective of how you have helped other similar customers builds confidence to use your service or product. For start-ups listing any press or industry associations can signal to the visitor that other people have vetted and trust the company.
  1. Links to social pages
    Businesses still fail to provide links to their social media pages directly on the home page in a visible spot. Most have the idea that they should put their social media links under their “Contact Us” page, which only adds more steps to the process for users. Put your social pages right in front of them so they can check you out!

If your planning your first website or renovating an existing one then talk to Strategy Monsters about designing it specifically for your customers for better results.  We can:

  • Design & Build your Website
  • Integrate your social media pages into your website
  • Apply strategies to allow you to build your brand and connect with customers
  • Produce content for your website, blog and social media

 Call Peter today on 0400571950 or click the logo to go to the contact page stratmonsters-logo-rgb

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How Personas Can Benefit Your Business or NGO

Personas can benefit any organisation wanting to use a deeper understanding of their customers to persuade or ask them to take some type of action.

The persona delves down into the types of people in your market segments.   Synthesised from observations of many people, each persona represents a significant portion of your target market or audience.

Personas became widely used after Alan Cooper published his book “The Inmates are running the Asylum” in 1998. Cooper had been using Personas in software development and they soon took hold as a practise in the Gaming development.

Now they are becoming widely used for communications and marketing amongst other professions.

Why are Personas vital when strategising your communications, content or marketing?

Personas are important as they create relevance to your message or content because they are based on real experiences.  Here are four features of a persona.

Slide1
Click to Enlarge

How are Personas developed?

There are a few ways to develop Personas depending on the industry and size of your organisation, for the majority of small to medium enterprises we favour the following process.

  1. Observe, survey and interview customers, find the customers perception and motivations.  Front line staff members can offer valuable information from their experiences dealing with customers.
  2. Find patterns and trends within the data and group these customers.  Find similar quoted sentiments from interviews and group, then overlay with data patterns and identify customer types.
  3. Based on the data patterns create a persona from the characteristics of the segment groups, give the group a name that generally describes them, “early adopters” or “working mums”.  Don’t stereotype make them unique like real people.
  4. Share these with staff and other valued customers or stakeholders, fine-tune them.
  5. Create the final Personas, you may have anything from 1 to 10 or more depending on your business or type of campaign.

Once the marketing message and pitches are determined they can be included onto the persona along with preferred platforms of the customer.

Doc&postergrab
Click to Enlarge

With the persona document we also produce posters that represent the customer type. These hang in the office and assist in focusing on the task at hand, the end user, our customers.

Strategy Monsters likes to collaborate when developing personas, we can just guide you through the process or have a hands on function in the development.

Contact Peter today to discuss how we make it easier for you to get better results from your communications.  You can use the contact page or ring 0400571950.

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Friday’s Laugh

Knowing when to say nothing is an important skill in communications, the Ministers comments were typically opportunistic because of the high profile owner of the dogs.  What was achieved by the Ministers involvement = 6 minutes of very funny satire by John Oliver.  Finish your week with a good belly laugh.  “Language Warning” on this video.

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Platforms are Channels and Channels are Platforms – Confused?

ELEPHANTPARK

One thing that seems to confuse business people Strategy Monsters talk to is the use of the terms Platforms and Channels.

Have you noticed these are fluid terms depending on the context they are being used?

In the context of overall communications the table below shows just a few examples of different platforms and associated channels.

Slide1

Describing Social Media as a platform would make Face Book, Twitter, You Tube and Google+ just some of the channels for that platform.

In the right context you can describe You Tube as a platform with its own individual channels.

Tantor the Elephant is a platform (living billboard), and his channels would be his two sides, tail, head and trunk.   Tantor is able to deliver a separate message depending on where you’re standing relative to him.

JUMBOSALE

Tantor the Elephant is good for the frequency for delivering a message but not great for reach as he moves kind of slow.

The level of engagement could be high due to the “exotic animal experience”.  As a platform he would be best situated wandering a busy mall or park targeting parents with children under 15.

It’s important to distinguish between different platforms and channels if you’re targeting a particular group or type of customer.

Taking a convergent approach to your communications or marketing means using several platforms to reach your target, last century this was called the media mix but now this mix has become much broader across on and off-line platforms.

The significant change is not however in the number of new platforms it’s the fact that most new and emerging on-line platforms allows for a two-way communication flow, where more traditional media information flows just one way.  This allows for a deeper engagement with customers or target groups hence the decline in traditional media platforms.

Knowing what platforms you should be using really depends on your customers. That means insight into the who’s, what’s and when’s of your customers which will be discussed in our next issue of Foot Prints.

No Elephants were harmed or stencilled in the making of this blog

Picture Credits: http://www.bluecranegallery.com

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How Do You Measure Your Online Performance

The trend of Content Marketing continues to influence the Return On Investment (ROI) in positive ways.

61% of consumers have indicated they are more likely to buy from companies that produce custom content.   (see info-graphic below)

Producing original content developed around the interests of your customers is the fastest growing trend. Reasons people are more inclined to buy from companies that produce relevant content include:

  • They gain a deeper understanding of the Brand
  • They build trust and loyalty
  • They are kept current
  • They are given opportunities to engage with the company

Engaging people through relevant content overtime they become comfortable with you and your products and services, and when the time comes to purchase its an easier decision.

Captora using several recent research papers into Content Marketing and its ROI produced the info-graphic below.

Captora_Mashable

Measuring clicks and leads is all very useful but to persuade Managers and CEO’s that your marketing is effective you need to drill deeper.

Here are our “hard” metrics that you should be using to report and measure your ROI for your content marketing.

  1. Customer Acquisition Expense (CAE)
    A metric to determine the total average expense your company spends to acquire a new customer.
  2. Ratio of Customer Lifetime Value to CAE
    Is a metric to estimate the total value your company derives from each customer compared what you spend to acquire that new customer.
  3. Payback Time on CAE
    Metric to shows the time in months to earn back the CAE invested to acquire new customers.
  4. Marketing Originated Customer %
    A metric to show the % of new customers originated from the marketing efforts.
  5. Marketing Influenced Customer %
    Measures the % of leads that interacted with marketing content through the entire sales cycle.

If your not using these types of measuring metrics your are not getting the full picture of your marketing efforts.

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Communication Strategy – How it Works


As the graphic below suggests the essential difference between traditional Marketing, Advertising or Public Relations and Communication Strategy (CS) is that CS is founded on deeper research of the user or client.

Implemented with a convergent approach to platforms allows for better targeting of people, presenting opportunities to engage and build loyalty to your brand or campaign.

The object of a CS is usually to persuade the target to either buy or bring about some behaviour change. The research paints a picture of your client’s needs, interests, platform preferences, media and buying habits. The developed message can then be delivered through relevant content on platforms familiar and accepted by the customer

Slide1

Communication Strategy objectives are about resolving challenges or issues facing an organisation or community. The objectives could be as basic as a need to increase sales or a need to bring about cultural or behaviour change within an organisation or community.

Never the less the key components to Communication Strategy include the following:

Slide2

Insight
Knowing your users or customers needs, interests, buying and media habits allows you a deeper understanding on why, how and when to engage them.

Creative
Using this knowledge of your target markets the creative process produces the look and feel of the campaign along with draft key messages and content ideas.

Message
Refined and tested key message(s) are developed into content for various platforms targeting your clients and potential clients.

Engagement
Engagement comes on different levels ranging from a sale to a comment or share on social media. Overtime engagement builds loyalty that results in a purchase or support for a challenge or enterprise.

Results
Measuring performance of a campaign is an essential part of a Communication Strategy.  Unlike traditional media online platforms can give accurate and easily obtainable statistics on the performance of different elements of your marketing. This makes your ROI clearly measurable and enables monitoring during campaign implementation.

A Communication Strategy for your business or NGO takes a more wholelistic approach to your internal and external communications.

Campaigns or Branding communications can be targeted and measurable to ensure there is a ROI or it is within budget.

Good services and products produces good stories, Strategy Monsters likes helping others do good by sharing your brand, news and stories.

If you do “good”, then please contact us for an obligation free consultation about your communications future.

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Communicate with an Info-Graphic

Info-graphics are not new, in fact graphics have been used to communicate since the cave men period and have been popular at different times over the centuries.

Some early info-graphics include the 1858 Table of Universal History. Some what ambitiously it visualises the complete history of humankind, top down, from the creation of Adam and Eve to the then present day. Individual cultures are depicted as rivers.

Taschen-book-history-007
Credit: Eug. Pick, 1858 Paris

Fritz Kahn’s visualisation of human metabolism as a process of industrial production is still a popular info-graphic from the 1920’s

Taschen book: Kahn
Credit:
Fritz Kahn. Stuttgart 1926 © von Debschitz

Currently there is an info-graphic boom taking place as it is an efficient way to communicate a message, particularly when there is a lot of data or information to share.

Strategy Monsters like this example of the many Varieties of Beer, produced in 2010 by Ben Gibson and Patrick Mulligan.

Taschen book: beer 

Info-graphics can be produced in all graphic programs and even in Power Point.  Use of graphs, images, flow charts and other visual components are endless.

The info-graphic below was produced using Power Point.

Slide03

So why do they work?
Our eyes are an extension of the brain and many of your customers are visual learners. Businesses can benefit from presenting their message, services or products via info-graphics because they are quickly transferable, coherent and visually interesting.

If you think info-graphics could help your business or NGO to get your message across, then give Strategy Monsters a call to discuss your communications.

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Whats with the User Experience?

The “experience” encompasses so much across our lives these days. Whether it’s in the Fruit & Veg shop chatting with the local fruiterer or an online Brand across multi-platforms the user experience is important to a successful business.

Smart companies big and small are morphing what was customer service to a broader user experience focus.

The better the experience for your customer or clients results in more business and support. The Brand presented at the shop front and online needs to be consistent not only in look but in the Brand Culture you offer your customers.

In short the user experience encompasses all the interactions with a business and its services & products.

Leading web designer Jesse James Garrett put it this way:

“Businesses have now come to recognise that providing a quality user experience is essential to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.  It is user experience that forms the customer’s impression of the company’s offerings, it is user experience that differentiates the company from its competitors, and it is user experience that determines whether your customer will ever come back.”

Online the user experience is created by the following elements shown in the diagram.

UserExp

Now consider how you use these elements in your online and real world sites.

A valued user experience depends on the ease of use and relevant content targeted to your supporters or customers.

As part of Strategy Monsters start-up we are offering Free User Experience Appraisal of your web site and social media pages. Email contact@strategymonsters.com for more information.

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Stomp + Trotters = Great Content

Welcome to hump day of our first week back from the summer holidays.

This first blog of 2016 has a point but also has a very high entertainment value, if you love performance and sport like we do.

The video embedded is a collaboration between Stomp and the Harlem Globe Trotters, two highly skilled groups in their own disciplines. What happens when they learn and create together is pretty special, as you will see.

 

 

 

 

When good organisations come together they can produce great outcomes, thats how we like to work with our clients 

In the second half of 2015 Strategy Monsters collaborated with the Evans Head Business & Community Chamber to write and produce the Experience Evans Head Visitors Guide.  In the next couple of weeks we will share a case study from the original challenges to the final product.

In the meantime we will share with you a little of this collaboration in the selection of the front page image for the Visitors Guide.

Many people commented about the front page image and how it must of been an easy pick, but it’s never that easy.  With Chamber and Council representatives we went through a number of possible front cover images and designs.

As you can see below there were several considered in the final selection process but we had to be guided by the purpose of the front cover = catch the eye and tell a story.

FrontcoversEHVG

The final front cover below did not visually present Evans Head, but did capture the spirit of Evans Head and sitting along with another 40 visitors guides in brochure racks it does catch your eye.

EHTG Cover

The image was taken at Shark Bay by JadeCoral and it says Evans Head is a place for fun, excitement, nature and beauty.  The four dolphins could also be identified as a family or group of friends enjoying their Evans Head Experience.

Collaboration between businesses or organisations can produce results by bringing together the skills to achieve specific goals.

You know your own business and its skills.  Strategy Monsters know how to develop and implement strategies to market or communicate what you do and why you do it by a targeted and multi-platform approach, both on and off line.

Contact us today to have a no obligation consultation about your communications and marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Making an Impact – Theatre or Stunts

Increasingly we are seeing Brands engage personally using more theatrical tactics (or stunts) and technology to engage with customers in a very public way.

These types of communications creates a lasting impression on people who witness or engage while producing good content for the businesses to use on multiple platforms.

Below are three examples of this type of marketing, each deliver an experience to those engaged and an impression on those viewing.

The first two videos are on the extremes of the budget spectrum, both are clever and entertaining.

The third Cup Cake commercial is a nice piece of guerrilla marketing, clever, simple, funny and low budget.  It builds on the back of another marketing event of a larger business and produces great results.

I like to think it was not set up ………….

Each of these public events produced content for multi platform campaigns including print, TV, online and social media.

I hope you find them a little inspirational like we did. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Design

Technology improved by Design

This has been one trend we have been enjoying the last 10 years seeing the rise of mobile media and the changing way we communicate.

Love the way this solar farm in South France follows the contours of the land, another good example of design making technology more appealing.

I wonder if you can grow grapes in between each row?

Solar Farm

http://phys.org/news/2011-10-france-vast-solar-panel-array.html

Have a great Easter Break.
Heading to the Byron Blues Festival and looking forward to it.

liveband

http://www.bluecranegallery.com

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