Top Platforms to discover Influencers for your Brand

With the quick rise in demand for Influencer Marketing, there is a need for tools and platforms to aid brands identify the right influencers and engage them. Many platforms have cropped up that either aid you to identify the influencers yourself via a DIY tool or connect you to the right influencers for your brand based on your requirements. Some of them are free while others are either freemium or paid platforms. Let us take a look at the top platforms to discover Influencers for your brand and help you connect and engage them in your marketing campaigns.

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1. Klout

Klout is one of the most well-known tools in the Influencer Discovery and Engagement space. Launched way back in 2008, it analyzes the social network presence of an individual to arrive at Klout score. Last year, the tool was updated to serve as a content curation and content discovery platform for users.

Main features:

  • Research, segment and manage influencer lists
  • Quick overview of the social influencer of your brand’s potential influencers
  • Perks program feature to engage influencers (in Klout for Businesses)
  • Amplify reach via native ads (in Klout for Businesses)
  • Keyword search for influencers, though the functionality is not as advanced as others

2. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a paid tool that offers content marketing plus influencer identification on a single dashboard. Quite useful for content marketing by brands, it allows you insights into what type of content works best in your industry / target audience. There are multiple subscription plans available based on requirements of your brand, with the basic plan starting at $79 per month.

Main features:

  • Topic Search for the most popular content being shared
  • Research and track influencers based on keywords & hashtags
  • Influencers search has an option to segregate influencers based on different profiles like bloggers, journalists, etc.
  • Option to export data(csv/xls) for deeper analysis

3. Kred

Kred is a paid tool for influencer measurement that helps you to identify and engage with influencers based on its Kred Scores. The metrics behind the Kred Scores is more complex in comparison to Klout. The platform provides two types of score- the main Kred Influence Score and the Kred Outreach Score.

Main Features:

  • A more comprehensive scoring system that takes into account all aspectsofinfluencer activities on Twitter to arrive at the synopsis of an Influencer’s influence
    • Kred Influence Score based on followers, retweets, mentions and replies for a profile
    • Kred Outreach Score based on the frequency of the tweet/retweets, replies and mentions
  • Community level influencer filtering like sports, technology, marketing, etc.
  • Additional services like Rewards Service and Email Marketing to engage influencers

4. FollowerWonk

A simple tool from the house of Moz, FollowerWonk is a search engine & analytics tool that focuses exclusively on Twitter for Influencer discovery and tracking. Rich engagement metrics and competitor influencers following are some great insights provided by the tool.

Main features:

  • Twitter Profile Search based on parameters like bio, location, name & url to help you identify influencers based on your requirement
  • Breakdown followers based on Follower count, tweet count and authority
  • Audience Comparison Tool that allows comparison of profiles to check audience overlap and mutually exclusive audience vis-à-vis your competitors
  • Visual infographics and interactive charts for your tweets, followers and RTs
  • Export reports for future reference

5. Keyhole

Keyhole is a freemium Hashtag tracking tool to discover content & influencers associated with an event or campaign on social media. It can pull-out influencer profiles, conversations and top trending content using a particular hashtag.

Main features:

  • Currently available across Twitter & Instagram
  • Detailed insights such as top influencers, recent conversation sources, top links/sites & top posts
  • Easy exporting of any data to your clipboard
  • Additional features like Audience Intelligence Reports for paid subscription users

6. Influencer

Influencer.in is one of the leading influencer marketing platforms with more than 25,000 influencers listed on the platform. The platform offers brand influencers across a wide range of categories such as lifestyle, fashion, sports, travel, healthcare, technology, etc. They also have an excellent Influencer 101 guide.

Main features:

  • Tracking and identifying the right influencers for your brand
  • Campaign ideation and Influencer engagement
  • Customized Campaign Analytics and Tracking reports
  • Content marketing and amplification
  • Strong influencer network for the Indian market

7. Topsy

Topsy is an interesting tool that allows you to track the influencers who are sharing a specific piece of content – it can be your competitors article, link or a tweet. It allows you to pull out all users who share a content relevant to your industry and automatically filter the most influential sharers. It supports upto 10 different languages that includes English, French, German and Spanish.

 

Content Marketing in 2017 – Digital Chai Pe Charcha, Bengaluru

The second edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Bengaluru was held on 9th Dec, 2016. We had an audience of 25 including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion was achieving content marketing success in 2017 and beyond.

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We had done a similar discussion on content marketing in Chennai in early 2016.

You may find it interesting to read our other blogs on Content Marketing.

 

Social Beat is now in Bangalore

100+ delighted clients. 40+ member team. 3+ years of excellence.

That’s a summary of our journey in Chennai and we are proud to add another milestone in that journey – the launch of our new branch office in Bangalore.

We are now among the leading end-to-end Digital Marketing Partners in South India, offering the entire gamut of digital marketing services that include Website and App Development, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Digital Advertising and Influencer Marketing.

Our ROI-driven approach to digital marketing has helped us consistently deliver business results for clients across sectors including real estate, finance, e-commerce, start-ups, retail, FMCG and healthcare. We have partnered with over 100 clients including Citibank, Saint Gobain, Akbar Travels, Murugappa Group, Forum Mall, Urban Clap, Casa Grande, Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Chain, Raintree Hotels, India Home Health Care, Sulekha.com, Cambridge English, JVC Headphones amongst others.

Here are our social media mavens busy at work at the Bangalore office!

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With a strong result-oriented team and a proven track record, we look forward to delighting clients in Namma Bengaluru. Feel free to reach out to us at team@socialbeat.in or drop by at our office.

Our Bangalore Address: Social Beat, 22, 15th Cross Rd, Sector 4, HSR layout, Bengaluru, Karnataka – 560102

The team heads for authentic south indian food

With 3 interns joining us in a trot in early April (two from the Loyola Institute of Business Administration and one from Symbiosis, Pune – more about this later!), it was time for the team to head to our favourite south indian food joint! With the team growing in size, Menaka in Hotel Palmgrove was one of the only places that could accommodate us at short notice. While it was a hot day (& continues to be), it was a cool afternoon for us! After consuming tonnes of rice, sambar, ice cream & whole lot more, combined with the heat it was tough to work but we still made it beat till the end of the day.

More updates from the interns will follow shortly!

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Social Beat at the Real Estate Digital Marketing Conference

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Social Beat’s Rohit Uttamchandani, Head of Digital Advertising & Real Estate was one of the speakers at the Real Estate Digital Marketing Conference in Bangalore on the 22nd March 2016, where he spoke on how real estate companies can leverage content marketing effectively for branding and lead generation. The conference was attended by key decision makers from some of Bangalore’s leading real estate companies and included talks on social media marketing, measuring digital campaign ROI, driving sales through personal branding,  Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality.

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Rohit’s talk focussed on how content marketing, done right, can be a powerful tool to help real estate companies build their brand reputation online as well as generate leads in the long-term. To be successful in real estate content marketing in 2016 and beyond, one has to create content that is not only unique but also ten times better than the best content on that topic, anywhere on the internet. “10x Content” has become the new buzzword amongst advanced content marketers and the session talked about the ideation, creation and amplification of content for real estate with a clear focus on delivering business results. You can view the presentation from the talk below:

 

Inbox by Gmail – The Future of Email

In the age of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Google is taking significant steps to ensure that emails remain a relevant mode of communication. It has not only succeeded till now but seem well set to revolutionize email communication across the world- Inbox by Gmail makes emails not just communication messages, rather a personal assistant of sorts.

  • Have you spent your time searching for your travel ticket in a heap of emails
  • Are you troubled by the enormous amount of emails you receive in a day promotions, social, newsletters and of course, business emails
  • Do you manually spend a significant time assigning your emails into different folders or tags
  • Google Research suggests 80% of searches on Gmail look for a fact in the email rather than the mail itself

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Features under the spotlight

The Inbox by Gmail is your personal assistant to help you manage your emails (read work) better. Here’s what is there in store for you:

Smart Reply

The Smart Reply feature, which was rolled out for the Inbox App in November last year, has recently made its way to the Web version. Under this, Gmail would suggest three quick reply options. The reply options are dynamically generated based on the content and nature or the received email. The options selected by you are fed into the system to improve future response suggestions similar to the Spam filters.

Smart Reply

Bundles

Inbox scans your incoming emails and sorts them into different buckets. All seemingly important mails go into your inbox while others get placed into different bundles or folders: Trips, Social, Finance, Updates, Forums, Promos and Low Priority. You have the option of deleting the entire bundle at once or mark as Done.

Bundles

Snooze

You can use this feature to snooze the message to a particular date and time when you intend to work or action the message. You just have to open the message and tap the snooze option it gives a pop up to select the scheduled time for the message to reappear.

Snooze

Smart Reminders

Are you into the habit of maintaining unread emails in your inbox just to remind you to do a particular thing? Now say goodbye to those unread emails. You just need to tap the Remember To field before the email subject line and type in the reminder. Based on the content in the email, Inbox also suggests the reminder options.

Remember To

Pin It

You can pin the messages on top of your inbox even after it’s placed into a folder or bundle. This will act as a reminder to reply to the mail or action the point.

Undo

Now you don’t need to regret accidently clicking the Send option Inbox gives you the option to Undo the sent mail. The only catch is that you have got a 15 sec window for the same.

Undo

Limitations of Inbox by Gmail

With all the handy features waiting to be explored, Inbox does have its own limitations:

  • Lack of a universal Inbox makes it cumbersome to switch between multiple Gmail accounts.
  • No option to mute a mail thread
  • Machine Learning-based model makes it imperative to train your App. You will have to spend the initial few days navigating through some wrongly bundled mail or not so close replies.
  • Last but not the least, the most obvious disadvantage is that it works only with Gmail accounts

Artificial Intelligence for Communication: Potential Impact for Marketers

Inbox by Gmail as a concept is built entirely on the premise of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. For new users, it seems to be a regular app they use but in hindsight, this is an experiment that will govern how people communicate in 2025. Right from smart replies to email sorting, every single concept is geared towards making Inbox do the hard work for you. That will mark the transition of Gmail from an email service to a full-fledged Personal Assistant. It’s worth taking a look at its potential impact for marketers.

  • Marketing Emails would still be useful. But it would entail a paradigm shift in the way marketing is done. The fight to Stay on top of the inbox will give way to a marketing format to be present where & when your consumer wants to see you.
  • It’s not that consumers do not like promotional emails. They love offers and promotions but get irritated when either it jumps in at the wrong time or too many spammy mails make it difficult to find your important mails. With Inbox in place, it will allow customers to browse through Promotion bundle when they are actually looking for offers.
  • Inbox specific Call-to-Action will become important. For example, Snooze Mail feature can be useful for retailers to provide in-store offers that make consumers Snooze the message for their next visit to the mall.
  • Its machine-learning based so the way your content engages with the consumer will be important. If the interaction behavior of your messages varies differently in comparison to other mails in the Bundle, Inbox will surely provide more focus to your message. The whole idea of machine learning and artificial intelligence is geared towards this to help you perform your work better.

Content Marketing vs Native Advertising

  • 86% businesses now leverage content marketing in one form or another
  • 70% audience want to learn about products via content instead of direct advertisement
  • More than 67% clients ask their content marketing agencies about native advertising

Outbound and Interruption Marketing is losing its sheen in favor of Content Marketing and Native Advertising. Though they seem similar but there is quite a difference between the two forms of marketing. This article will help you understand the difference between Content Marketing and Native Advertising.

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What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is a marketing approach that involves creating valuable and useful non-promotional content by brands. The important part in the first sentence is “valuable and “useful”. Self-serving and promotional content cannot be placed in the content marketing bucket: Value-add is the only secret.

Goals of Content Marketing:

The goals for content marketing can be broadly categorized as follows:

Different Forms of Content Marketing

Content Marketing can be done in varied formats but some of the key ones are discussed here.

  • Videos are one of the most engaging form of content on the web. The consumer web video traffic is expected to reach ~80% by 2019-2020. For a long time, video marketing was considered a game for the big brands. But off late, this trend has been broken with small businesses and startups leveraging the medium to showcase excellent meaningful content. OYO Rooms launched a video on the occasion of Independence Day that garnered more than 3 lakh views in a couple of days. The Madras Song by Murugappa Group was launched as a tribute to the city of Madras on the occasion of Madras Week. The video stole the limelight during the 375th year celebrations of Madras.
  • Blogs are an excellent way to build an engaged audience, showcase your company as an industry thought-leader and the same time boost search engine rankings. According to a recent Hubspot Survey, regularly blogging boosts lead generation by ~126%. It also provides fresh, unique content to your website that is an important factor considered in Google search rankings.
  • Infographics are graphics that showcase long content in a visual and interesting manner. Our brain absorbs and process visuals faster than any other form of content. Hence, infographics as a form of content can be a great way to showcase information and make your blog more engaging.
  • Slideshares and Case Studies are another fascinating form of content marketing. These are more suggested for B2B businesses. Companies are looking out for specific information and if your case study or a Slide Share can help fit into the gap, you will gain a relevant mindspace among your potential customers.
  • Relevant and Informative Social Media Content can go a long way to help create an engaged community of potential customers. Innovative and clutter-breaking content can help your brand quickly carve out a niche on social media. Petwish – a startup in the pet food space, did an interesting content series around different dog breeds in India. The content quickly became viral among the pet lovers across India, which was an excellent audience for the brand.
  • Podcasts or audio telecasts are possibly one of the most underrated content marketing tactics. It gives you access and visibility to a different set of audience – who are tuned to short content in a format where they can multitask “on the go”. For example, a motivational podcast while on the way to office in the morning or solid investment advice from an avid investor that will help you plan your investment strategy for the coming week.

Metrics to track the effectiveness of Content Marketing:

  • Number of shares and likes
  • Number of backlinks/mentions to your content
  • Number of leads

Tips for an effective content marketing strategy:

  • Identify the needs of your target audience
  • Create 10x content – make it better and more thorough than anyone out there
  • User-generated content needs to be a part of your content strategy
  • Content Amplification is important – creating content alone won’t help until it reaches the right audience
  • It’s a long term game so do not expect quick-fire results

 

What is Native Advertising?

Native Advertising is a form of paid advertising where the content put out seems similar to the native content of the platform. You would have come across one or the other form of native advertising daily – while reading an e-newspaper, browsing through an ecommerce portal or on your favorite Google Search Engine. According to Business Insider, The global native advertising spend is estimated to cross $21 billion by the year 2018.

Goals of Native Advertising

  • Increase brand / product awareness
  • Supplement Content Marketing in amplification
  • Drive traffic to your website or landing page
  • Boost lead generation and Sales

Different Forms of Native Advertising

  • Content Recommendations are one of the most prominent form of native advertising. You would have seen sections at the end of news articles under the title “Recommended Articles” powered by recommendation engines. These native ads are done via platforms like Outbrain, Taboola and Content.Ad.
  • Influencer Marketing is a rapidly growing form of native advertising. Under this, the influencers and bloggers talk about your brand or product on their blogs or social media channels with a backlink to your online property. The articles are seeded along with the other articles on the blog.
  • Search Engine Ads are those that surface on top of your search results. This form turns out cheaper than the other forms of native advertising, based on the cost per lead or sale.
  • In-Feed Ads are presented within the list of natural articles from the publication. Though these ads are well-blended within the native experience of the reader on the platform but they are marked as sponsored ads for the benefit of the customer.
  • Promoted Listings are the product listings that show up on top of the category page on ecommerce websites.

Metrics to track in Native Advertising

  • Reach or Impressions
  • Clicks or Traffic to your website/landing page
  • Leads or Sales
  • Cost per Click
  • Cost per Lead

Tips for Native Advertising

  • Create separate landing pages for different native ad ideas. The hook to get people on your landing page and the content on the page need to speak the same story.
  • Research your audience well to create and experiment with multiple hooks to see what works well for your audience.
  • Make it interesting. Only bragging about the brand doesn’t work anymore. Show the content and convince the reader that you are the one who can deliver the experience or service to the user.
  • Do not shy away from allocating a good budget for this to show results. The cost per lead or sale from native advertising is traditionally higher from content marketing.
  • If SEO is a prime goal for your experimentation with Native Advertising, then you should pause it immediately. There is no SEO takeaway from this exercise.

 

Digital Chai pe Charcha – Digital Marketing for Startups

‘Great Product + Great Marketing = Great Startup’

In Dec 2015, we had an idea of creating a platform and open community for discussing challenges faced in marketing a startup – and this was the birth of “Digital Chai pe Charcha”. It got off to flying start in its first edition at our office on 8th January 2016. With limited promotion, we had a full house with 30 participants. The open discussion threw up interesting questions and insights from the diverse community comprising first-time entrepreneurs, seasoned professionals, digital marketers, journalists, PR professionals to social media influencers.

We discussed 7 broad topics and have summarized them below:

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1. Validating Your Product

  • To kick things off,  we first discussed how entrepreneurs can get a quick sense of the market and customers, without spending months on building their product, website or ecommerce store.
  • While we usually recommend WordPress as the platform for most businesses – this can take anywhere between a few weeks to months to build. The quickest way to start off is to create a landing page for your app, business or store. Tools like Unbounce and Instapage allow you to develop landing pages within a day. They can also be a great medium to understand whether customers would like to take up your product/service and at the same time start building an emailer list. You can even get low cost images from platforms like PhotoConcierge.
  • Another way the digital medium can validate a product is to get feedback via platforms like Product Hunt, BetaList & Inbound.org or survey tools like Get Insights, Survey Monkey. Platforms like GetInsights have an existing audience panel so it helps in getting the survey results quickly. Some participants did raise concerns on the authenticity of these audience panels and in these cases, sending a survey (via Survey Monkey or Google Forms) to your own personal network might be worthwhile.
  • Reach out to your personal network for validation tests. Don’t hesitate in asking for initial feedback as it will help shape your product.

2. Acquiring your First set of Users

  • Leverage your Personal Network in acquiring your first set of customers. Reach out and ask for referrals and test users.
  • LinkedIn, if leveraged properly, can be a great tool for the purpose. The premium LinkedIn account allows In-mails to your potential customers. Moreover, directly targeting relevant customers on Linkedin & Twitter can be very beneficial in not only getting first time users but also getting valuable feedback on your product. If it’s a consumer business even sites like BetaList can help.
  • Offering free trials to induce usage can help in showcasing the value your product adds to your customers. If they like it, then they might want to turn into paying customers. Many SAAS based companies do have a freemium model to cater to this.
  • Contrary to belief, Email Marketing is still very effective. Build a database of email ids, but avoid purchasing databases – it doesn’t work. Effective ways to build your own database can be to have a prominent email/lead collection mechanism on your landing page. You could also use tools like SumoMe, attend networking events and create good content on your website to induce newsletter signups. Platforms like MailChimp can be used for Emailer Marketing and they have integrations with WordPress, Unbounce or other email collection platforms.
  • Adding a Live Chat feature on the landing page, app or website can also help directly interact with customers and build on to your emailer list. This way you can also find out what questions customers have, before they take up your product/service.
  • Quora is fairly popular in India. Search for people looking for solutions where your product can fit in. Answer questions with backlinks to your product page/website. It will help in the long term.

3. Marketing on a Shoe-String Budget

Startups do not have big pockets for marketing activities. In the face of budget constraints, how can they build a brand and acquire customers? Some ideas discussed were:

  • Create User / Google focused content to help your product get discovered at the right place & time. Long-form content has excellent SEO value as well as drive relevant traffic to your website. If you are interested in understanding the basics of SEO for Startups then do check out this slideshare. There are a bunch of SEO tools as well, which can be of use.
  • Creating Unique & Fresh content is important. Avoid creating duplicate content as you might not get much traction. It would be prudent to instead focus the time and energy on developing content that will be interesting for your users. Amplifying the content is also critical as there are millions of content pieces out there.
  • Plan well ahead of time. Nothing beats strategic planning. Develop a content marketing calendar with different placeholders for blog articles and social media content – this could be around relevant themes e.g. Valentine’s Day, Launch of a Movie etc. You can check out an investment & wealth management company leveraged Star Wars to showcase Investment Lessons from Star Wars. Be interesting, be regular.
  • Some interesting points that came up for discussion like the ideal number of hashtags to use and how to get your social media profiles verified.
  • Digital Advertising, while integral was not discussed as it warranted a separate discussion of its own.

4. Save Time with Free Tools

There is a whole host of tools out there that can be leveraged to help you amplify your marketing efforts. Some tools you can explore are:

  • IFTTT is a useful tool to create automated actions across a wide variety of platforms from Twitter and Facebook, Youtube to Gmail and Instagram. You can use it for different purposes by building your own custom recipes. One useful application can be to create automated twitter lists in area of your interest and track people in your domain. A sample recipe can be – when someone tweets in my area with #Offers hashtag, I add him to my list “OffersNearMe”.
  • Hootsuite can be a one stop solution to schedule and track your social media posts. It saves you the hassle of logging into different accounts every time you want to post. The Instagram post schedule feature was recently launched by Hootsuite and does not have automated posts functionality. For Instagram, Schedugram or Stribr can be a better tool to use.
  • BuzzSumo is the best in-class tool for content research. You can track the best performing content in your industry that will help devise a strong content marketing plan for your brand. It is also useful for tracking influencers in different domains based on geography and interest area.
  • Feedly, It & Twitter Lists can be explored to track curated content. They fetch content in your interest areas and present it on your feed which can be shared on your social media channels.
  • Many other free social media tools are available – you can check out a complete list here.

5. Build an online brand persona but strike a balance vis-à-vis traditional marketing

  • You need to be clear what your startup or product stands for. It will help you in creating the brand persona – this is important for online as well as offline branding for your company.
  • Brainstorm and come up with your brand colors, tone and maintain the uniformity across channels. While this may change over time, uniformity across channels and mediums is critical.
  • Not all of your customers are online hence, traditional marketing is here to stay and would be wise for companies to go for a balanced mix in their marketing budget.

6. Traditional Vs Digital Marketing

  • One of the questions that got asked during the discussion was, how do you split the marketing budgets between traditional and digital mediums. We are already seeing brands spend atleast 15% of their budgets on social media, but in our experience many of the forward looking businesses are going to spend as much as 50% on digital marketing in 2016. This of course depends on the industry and business model as well.
  • You can also see what trends we predict for digital marketing in India in 2016.

7. Track & Measure the results

Here’s what some of the participants had to say:

 

 

 

Based on the suggestions from the participants, we are going to make this a monthly initiative with each month having a focused topic. You can check out the hashtag #DigitalCPC for more details on the next Digital Chai pe Charcha meet.

Please feel free to comment below or tweet to us, in case you would like to add to the existing list of pointers for startups. We would love to add them in the article.

21 SEO Link Building Techniques for 2016

Every brand or website targets ranking on top of search results but achieving the same requires a lot of effort over a period of time. The search engine rankings are determined by a variety of factors. Mobile-friendly nature of your website, On Page SEO, Content quality & freshness, Number of backlinks and relevance to the search keywords are some of them.

According to a recent study by Moz conducted across 150+ industry experts, the top 5 factors for search engine rankings were as follows:

  1. Domain-level link features
  2. Page-level link features
  3. Page-level keyword and Content-based features
  4. Engagement & Traffic/Query data
  5. Domain-level brand metrics

While there are various tools to help you with SEO, in this article we focus on 21 link building techniques that can play an important role in boosting your search engine rankings and website traffic. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google.

Seo techniques infographic

1. Create excellent link-worthy content & amplify them

Today, Content Marketing is the buzzword. Brands are churning out content in large numbers. In fact, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. In such a cluttered space, it is important to create content that is discoverable, sharable and informative to your target audience. Moreover, as Moz points out, “good unique content” is not enough – you need content which his 10 times better than the best content out there. Certain content types like How To articles, Listicles, etc. are examples of Pillar posts that can help you garner a large number of references/links from external sources. Read the BuzzSumo report for more details on this.

2. Leverage Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a gaining prominence as an effective marketing channel for brands. For the uninitiated, Influencer Marketing is the new form of word-of-mouth marketing that involves partnering bloggers and social media influencers to talk about your brand – be it on their blog or social media handles. An effective way to leverage influencer marketing would be to get the top bloggers in your industry to review your product/service. Apart from giving you important backlinks, it would also help you create awareness about your product among your target audience. There are many platforms in the industry that allow you to track the top influencers in your industry niche.

The other way to use influencers is to co-create content when you don’t have internal bandwidth to create your content. It’s important to keep in mind the user and find the right influencers who can create content for those users.

3. Broken link building

Under this technique, you track the resource pages in your industry and check for broken links using tools like Check My Link. Once you make a list of the broken links on these pages, you can reach out to the page owners with the list of broken links that need to be fixed along with the links to useful resources on your website can be linked to.

4. Infographics

Visual content grab eyeballs and infographics can be a great format to build your brand and get backlinks at the same time, from people out there are who are looking for informative content in a visually attractive representation. You can also submit your infographics in a whole bunch of infographic submission websites such as visual.ly, infographick.com, bestinfographics.info, etc.

5. Surveys & Industry Trend Reports

If you are looking to create fresh & novel content ideas, Surveys and Industry Trend Reports can work wonders for you. Launch an industry survey in your niche – it can be a simple consumer preference pattern for a consumer brand or an investment survey for a financial services player. Tools like Survey Monkey or GetInsights can let you create surveys in a whiff. They also have many pre-researched survey templates for each industry which can be explored.

Create reports, share it in different industry forums, mail it to top experts for their insights before releasing the report and include the quotes / insights in the report if possible, as it adds credibility to your study. For B2B businesses, releasing industry trend reports can be an excellent way to drive traffic to the site and build authority online. These reports have a strong sharability quotient and can garner a large number of backlinks online. Offline PR can also be activated to create more awareness around the release of the industry report.

6. Skyscraper Content

Skyscraper content creation technique involves finding top performing content in your industry and adding more depth or value to the existing content. Once the content is ready, you can reach out to people linking to the existing content and share the link to your article. In order to find best performing content in your industry, you can leverage tools such as BuzzSumo, Topsy or Google Search to some extent. To read more on building skyscraper content, check out this article by Brian Dean.

7. Writing Testimonials

You can write Testimonials for products / services that you have used for your brand with a backlink to your website that demonstrates how you have leveraged that product. It would be better to write a quick case study to add more value to the testimonial.

8. Content Curation & Industry Round-ups

You can curate the top articles in your industry, take interviews of top experts or compile the insights from the latest industry report & convert it into a case study. Once the post is ready on your website, share the link with the experts and let them know you have linked to their content or have published their interview. For content curation, you can make use of tools like Scoop.It, Feedly, BuzzSumo as well as Google Alerts. Apart from gaining potential backlinks, this would also help you make your property more informative for your audience.

9. Internal Linking

Effective internal linking performs three important functions:

  • It makes your post informative for your readers by providing them relevant information for reference
  • It signals the search engine that you have more content relevant to the topic, thus boosting the site credibility for the topic.
  • Increases discoverability of your existing old content

10. Linking to Expert or Authoritative Sites

Apart from linking to your own content, you can also link out to expert articles which are ranked on top of search results. This way you are linking and connecting content to sites which already have an established authority in your niche. While linking to external sites, do not forget to use the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tag prevents the link juice from passing on to the external site. Even in this article you see we have linked to the likes of Brian Dean, Moz & BuzzSumo amongst others.

11. Leverage Q&A Forums like Quora

Platforms like Quora have rich discussion on varied subjects. You can find topics in your niche and answer relevant questions with reference backlinks to your content articles. This would provide the information to audience who is already looking for similar information and at the same provide you good quality backlinks. Quora also has a blog section where you can submit your existing blog content with a link to the original piece.

12. Repurposing old content

You can repurpose old content in different forms to allow it to reach maximum number of people. You can convert your blog article into a presentation, or downloadable pdfs, Videos or infographics and submit it on multiple platforms. You could even translate the content into different languages if relevant for your brand. For example, a presentation can be submitted on Slideshare. You can also add more juice to your already existing blog content by updating it with latest insights, images, presentation and reference links

13. Guest Blogging

Search and connect with high-quality portals or websites for guest blogging. If done properly, it can be an effective link-building measure. Avoid low-quality websites or duplicate content as part of the guest blogging initiative. It can result in penalty from Google. Even commenting on relevant blogs is still  a good practice in case you are unable to get guest blogging activated.

14. Leverage social media platforms effectively

Build an engaged community on Social Media platforms & share your content regularly to amplify the reach of your content. On platforms like Twitter, it is important to share your content multiple times. To prevent repetitive posts, use different post copies, images and stats for sharing. Your engaged follower community is more likely to share or talk about your content. Linkedin has its own blogging feature and you could repurpose your content and publish it there for increased reach. For ecommerce websites even Pinterest can be a very interesting source for quality backlinks and traffic.

15. Ask for backlinks

Last but not the least, ask for backlinks from quality source. For example, if you have great content on Personal Finance, look out for portals which list quality content from different Personal Finance resources and reach to them. If they find your content relevant, they might link back to it. Once they backlink, don’t forget to drop a thank you mail with links to other helpful content which might be useful to them.

16. Reclaim your brand mentions

Tools like Google Alerts, Talk Walker and Mention can help to track the mentions for your brand on the web. Track all mentions for your brand and see if these mentions have linked back to your website/blog. If the backlink is missing in the mentions, mail or reach out on social media and see if that can be converted into a backlink.

17. Keep an eye on your competitors

Track and analyze the backlinks to your competitor websites and check the source of their backlinks. Look at content and pages that have got the maximum links to see if you can produce better content on those topics. Watch out for aggregator sites or industry curators that link to their websites and reach out with links to your content.

18. User discussion platforms like Zomato, TripAdvisor

Platforms like Zomato and Trip Advisor drives millions of visitors to their website daily. Leveraging these platforms in the right way can help claim relevant backlinks and at the same time, drive relevant traffic to your website. Partnering with top reviewers on such platforms (for example – see our list of top food bloggers in India) to seamlessly integrate their reviews / posts with links to your products can go a long way in providing quality backlinks. Forums likes MouthShut.com even have a blog section apart from the review section; you can submit your blog content there with links to the original article hosted on your website.

19. Refresh old backlinks

Old backlinks to your website can return a 404 error over a period of time, resulting from a new site or a change in url. Even in case of new backlinking, there is a possibility that the source site might make a mistake in typing the url to your site. You can use online tools to research the broken links to your site and redirect these.

20. Feedback Site Submissions

Highly recommended for product based websites, submission to feedback sites can help drive lot of traffic to your website & also boost the conversion rates. LaunchSky, Valid8or, Product Hunt, Startup Lift and Beta List are some of the websites that can be used for review submissions.

21. Help a Reporter Out

Help a Reporter Out or HARO as the technique is better known as, is an excellent way to get backlinks from news portals. Once you sign-up on the reporter help portals like HelpAReporter, you are likely to get mails with requirements on information the reporters are looking for. You need to respond with the information from your end, along with helpful links if available.

Few Fatal Link-building Techniques to Avoid:

Sometimes, websites, in their quest to achieve quick results, resort to negative techniques which are not seen in a positive light by the search engines. I would like to list out some of those techniques which should be avoided at all costs to prevent any penalty to your website.

  • Do a proper study of the directory where you are submitting your website. Simple submitting your directory to a website for the sake of getting a backlink might not add great value to your site. In fact, Google excludes many such directories from its search engine rankings. Checking the Moz Domain Authority & Spam Score is a best case practice.
  • Never buy backlinks or establish a barter system for backlinks. Google Considers backlinks as votes ups for your website and paying for a vote cannot be seen in a positive light
  • Excessive keyword optimization in anchor texts in articles
  • Spammy comments on 3rd party blogs and forums with links to your website

Hope these techniques can prove handy to generate good quality backlinks for your website. In case you know any other method that works well and deserves to be a part of this article, please feel free to comment and let us know.

Complete Guide to Twitter Ads

As a brand, you might be confused on whether Twitter Ads can provide a good ROI for your marketing budget or pushing more money on Facebook Ads can deliver better business results.

Before kick-starting Twitter Marketing, it would be great if you can set clear the goals you need to achieve from the ads. Any marketing strategy implemented without a clear objective would fail to deliver results, and Twitter is no exception.

Why should brands leverage Twitter Ads?

Facebook & Google Ads are undoubtedly quite popular among marketers. So, it’s important to know the reasons why brands should leverage Twitter Ads:

Brands-Leverage-Twitter

  • No Text Limit on the images

Facebook has a very powerful targeting back-end but the text limit of 20% sometimes can be a hassle. Communicating the message with call-to-action & brand logo might seem difficult sometimes. Twitter doesn’t have this limitation & this is a major advantage for running detailed offer ads.

  • One-click seamless Lead Generation

Twitter Lead Generation Ads have a great advantage that it generates lead with one-click on Twitter, without the need for the interested audience to click & go to the landing page or a website. This reduction in the funnel length increases the conversion rate for your lead generation. Recently, Facebook has also launched its Lead Generation Ads on similar lines (currently this feature is only available through the Power Editor).

  • Easy Ad interface

The Twitter Ads dashboard is simpler in comparison to the more complex Ads interface of Google. It requires practice & time before the Ads creation can be mastered. Facebook Ads interface can fall in between Google & Twitter.

  • Target users based on Accounts followed

Twitter allows you to accurately target the followers of a particular account. This can be a great way to target the fans/customers of your competitors. Facebook allows you to target the fans of a page only if you are the page admin.

  • Keyword Targeting

Keyword targeting feature is similar to Google Adwords where you can target people who have tweeted using certain keywords or have interacted with tweets containing those keywords. Broad, Phrase & Negative keyword targeting is allowed.

  • Detailed Ad Content

Twitter has 140 characters restriction for tweets but you can leverage the Twitter Cards that allow you to add more text content along with links, quite similar to Facebook ads. We shall look at the different Ad types in the late section.

Different Type of Ads on Twitter

Twitter offers many different type of Ads such as Promoted Account, Promoted Tweet, Website Click/Conversion, App Install, Lead Generation, Promoted Trends and Video View ads. Let us have a look at each of these types below:

Different-Type-Of-Ads-in-Twitter

Promoted Account / Follower Ads:

When someone follows you on Twitter, you get the chance to engage with them over time. Studies show that followers just don’t follow you, the interactions with them benefit your business over a period of time. As per the Small Businesses Customer Insights Survey conducted by DBS, 70% users who follow SMBs provide free advertising via retweets & 43% will make purchases from them. This percentage can vary based on the quality of the follower you have & hence, it is important to acquire followers who can become your potential customers.

Before creating the ad, you should create a strong short description that focuses on why potential fans should follow your account. If you are an ecommerce player, you can showcases shopping deals. These ads will appear in the following places:

  • Home Timeline
  • “Who to Follow” widget on Home, Profile, Notifications & Search Results pages

Lead Generation Ads

The Lead Generation Ads are ads implement using the Lead Generation Cards. These Lead Generation Cards can be used to collect email addresses and qualified leads. It’s designed in a way that the user doesn’t have to click on the ad and go to an external website or a landing page. If interested in the offer description, the user can submit his information with one-click from within the Twitter App itself. His Twitter handle & email address is directly sent to you as soon as a user submits the lead. The Leads can be downloaded from the Twitter Cards dashboard.

Promoted Tweet Ads

The Promoted Tweet ads help amplify the reach of your tweets to a wider audience. This can help you get more engagement on your tweets & at the same time showcase your content to your target audience. These appear in the home timeline of the targeted users. The setup process of these ads are similar to the Promoted Account ads.

Website Clicks / Conversion Ads

The Website Click Ads are implement using Website Cards. The Website Cards are ad units which allow users to preview horizontal creative image, descriptive text, website Url & a big call-to-action in their timeline. You can also link the preview of your website in these website cards.

App Install Ads

With more than 75% users accessing Twitter from a mobile device, brands have a huge opportunity to tap & drive downloads for the mobile apps. An App card is to be created – it has title, description, app icon and the option to highlight features such as your App’s rating. It requires your App ID to submit the card. Once the card is ready, it can be linked to the app install ad. Users can install or open the App directly from the tweet.

Promoted Hashtag Ads

Trends that appear on the left side of your Twitter page is one of the most watched sections on Twitter. It’s a great way to keep a tab on current hot topics. Hence, promoted hashtag ads allow you to be in the right place & a perfect trigger to grab eyeballs, trigger conversations and launch new products/brands.

Platforms and Placements

The Twitter Ads allow you to select the location of the display of the ads to the targeted users. You can select to show the ads in their timelines or search results (in case of promoted tweets / app install ads alone). The platform selection is limited to iOS devices, Android devices, Blackberry phones, Desktops, Laptops & Mobile Web on other devices.

Targeting Options on Twitter

Targeting is undoubtedly an important part of the ad creation. Targeting the wrong audience can waste your marketing budget while proper targeting can help you have a great ROI and help you reach your objectives. The available targeting options on Twitter are discussed below:

Targeting-Options

Keyword Targeting

The Keyword Targeting Ads are used to target users who have either used the keywords in their tweets, engaged with tweets around those keywords or have searched for those keywords on Twitter. The matching options for each keyword are as follows:

  • Exact Match – targets users who have searched for this keyword content & not as part of their tweets
  • Broad Match – targets variations of keyword & any order of keyword
  • Phrase Match – targets exact order & words in the keyword with no variations in the terms
  • Negative Match – these keywords are excluded from the targeting
  • Negative Phrase – targeting excludes all matches of the keyword in the exact order with no variations

When typing the keywords, Twitter will allow you to choose between the above options. You can also import a matching keyword or a phrase from another document. On the selection of the keyword & modifier type, Twitter gives an estimate of the audience size for that keyword.

Interest & Follower Targeting

This option allows you to target the users based on their interests and the accounts they follow. Interest targeting on Twitter is very wide hence, it is advisable to use only the popular interest that are recommended by Twitter. Follower Targeting is very accurate and is recommended. You can manually type the Handles you want to target (for example – @MurugappaGroup) or import the list of usernames from a document. You are not required to be a follower of the account you are targeting. On selection of the handles, Twitter provides you an estimate of the reach as well as the other suggested handles in the same reach. There is also an option of Lookalike Audiences through which you can allow Twitter to target users similar to the followers of handles you want to target.

Television

In recent times, leading Television Shows & News Channels have leveraged Twitter to engage with their audience. Twitter allows you to target users who engage with such TV Shows on Twitter. This is an option currently limited to few countries like US, UK, Italy, Spain, etc.

Tailored Audiences

From the ROI point of view, this is one of the best form of advertising on Twitter that allows you to target fans who have already interacted with your brand. This interaction includes visitors to your website and are more likely to convert. You can also use an existing customer database & import the Twitter-ids or mail-ids.

Location Targeting

The Location targeting feature allows you to select the geographical location of the users who you want to target. You can target a country or state or a city.

Tracking & Reporting – Metrics that matter

Now, the last but an important part of any ad campaign – measuring the performance and results of the campaign. The summary of your campaigns are displayed on immediately logging into your Twitter Ads account.

Some metrics that are important in terms of performance measurement are:

Impressions: The number of times a tweet or an ad has been displayed

Engagement: Action taken by users such as a follow, click or an install

Follows: The number of users who have followed your handle based on the ad

Spend: The total spend for the campaign (the cost per action would vary based on the campaign types and campaign goals)

Conversions: This shows the number of users converted (if you have used conversion tracking for your campaign). This is an important metric for Offer campaigns or for ecommerce players. For Follower campaigns, the conversions would show the number of followers gained for the promoted account.

Audience Interests, Demographics & Locations: This is an important metric to check the accuracy of your targeting. It shows the topics your acquired followers are interested in, their geographical locations, tweets they engage with (based on Interest cluster) and the demographics. The demographics data would be of real interest to brands that go after a niche audience say, only females or youth.

Twitter is not radically different from other ad platforms in its basics – you have got to be prepared with the details, run the ads & test to see what works for you. Deep dive into the reports and see whether your campaigns are delivering and what needs to be optimized. Keep a track on all campaigns regularly.

Customer Lifecycle Value vs Cost of Acquisition in Ecommerce

You cannot acquire a customer for life. In ecommerce, loyalty is a thing of the past. Many startups and new businesses struggle to find the right balance between customer acquisition & retention. This is especially true for the ecommerce industry. In the quest to growth hack to the next level, ecommerce businesses go all out to acquire new customers sometimes at unsustainable costs.

Over a longer term, online retailers might want to discontinue the channels that have a consistently higher cost of acquisition (CoA). But customer acquisition cost alone is not the right metric to evaluate the performance of an acquisition channel. Ecommerce businesses should instead be including average customer lifecycle value for customers from a particular channel as an important metric for strategic decision-making. This article can help ecommerce businesses garner a better perspective to guide their business decisions.

Customer Lifecycle Value (CLV)

In simple terms, customer lifecycle value is the projected value a customer generates over the entire lifetime of their interaction with the brand. Focusing on CLV can help a company determine optimize the marketing spends, allowing it to focus on more profitable customers.

CLV as a metric assumes greater significance when put together with CAC. The CLV:CAC ratio is a powerful metric to define the Return on Investment (ROI). Focus on both the levers can help you devise a winning strategy.

Let’s take a look at the comparative illustration of 3 customers from different acquisition channels (A, B & C) assuming 1 year as the time period under consideration:

blog

How to calculate the Customer Lifetime Value

First step would be to segregate the customer acquisition and purchase data on the basis of marketing channels. Once this is done, there are 2 principal models of calculating the customer lifecycle value:

  • Historic Model

Under this model, the gross profit from all historic purchases of individual customers is summed up & divided by the total number of customers. This gives the average CLV for each acquisition channel.

  • Predictive model

This is an advanced method built upon the historic model. Predictive model uses the past customer behavioral pattern to predict the lifetime value of customers. This factors taken into account by this model are as follows:

  1. Number of visits per month (N)
  2. Average customer basket size per visit (B)
  3. Average profit margin per customer (m)
  4. Historical customer retention rate (r)
  5. Discount rate for future cash flows (d)
  6. Average customer lifespan (l)

Assuming next 10 years as the time period (T) for consideration, let us look at the formula that can help you arrive the lifetime value.

Average customer value per month (v) = N*B

Total customer value per year = S = v*12

Total lifetime spend of the customer = L = S*10

Average gross margin per customer lifespan = G = L*m

CLV 

= N*B*12*m*[r/(1+d-r)]*T  

= S*m*T*[r/(1+d-r)]

= G*[r/(1+d-r)]

 

The final CLV value obtained can be plugged in the ROI ratio (CLV:CoA). Greater the ratio, the better the impact on the company’s growth strategy.  The ROI ratio can be used as a good measure to evaluate the performance of the marketing channels and accordingly optimize the budget allocation.

Factors boosting customer lifecycle value

For the CLV model to work, the data set under consideration has to be long enough to provide. CLV is not just for evaluating the marketing channels and campaigns, it can be a great lever to look at the overall business strategy for ecommerce businesses. There is nothing wrong in looking out for new customers. But, it’s important to look at the value brought by ten new customers acquired vis-a-vis ten retained customers. From the cost perspective, it mostly turns out cheaper to retain existing customers. With the wide array of choices thrown open to the consumers with just a click of a mouse, brand loyalty and customer retention becomes more important.

A quick look at Nielsen’s Global Loyalty Sentiment Report provides good insights into the consumer sentiments that result in switching retailer & brand-hopping.

blog-customerlifestyle

The 5 factors listed above- price, quality, service, selection and features; can together drive the lifetime value of your customers. Doubling the CLV of existing customers is equivalent to doubling the customer base. Here’s some handy tips that can help online retailers increase the CLV:

  • Loyalty programs has been used by offline retailers for a long time to create long term loyalty and drive repeat purchases.
  • Do not charge for product returns. It does put in a load on the operations side but brings in the baggage of good experience and more future purchases.
  • Size Fittings is one of the major reasons for product returns. Interactive tools for size fittings can go a long way in aiding customers to find the right size for categories like footwear, apparels, etc.
  • Ecommerce is all about providing easy access to products and services from the comfort of the home. Similarly, customers expect an excellent 24*7 support to aid them for their queries and complaints.
  • Wider range of custom delivery options is required. Ecommerce players like Amazon provide different delivery options that allow you to get the product delivered even in 1 day. Other possibilities can be incorporated like the option for nominating friends, etc. to be delivered the product in the absence of the customer.
  • Being in touch is important. Sending post purchase emails and festival wishes can be a way to continue to have relevant mind space. We usually recommend using Mailchimp or Sendgrid for sending out emailers and tracking its results.
  • Do not fail to surprise them. Sending a small reward or gift along with their purchased product can win their heart and create a long term goodwill for your ecommerce brand.

Don’t stop marketing on unprofitable customers but start actively engaging with profitable customers

In the rapid-growth ecommerce boom, it’s easy to get lost in the race for acquiring new customers. Brands go upto the extent of acquiring new customers at 10x the historical averages. They fail to remember that retaining your existing customer can cost lesser and would pay in the longer run to get hold of these low-hanging fruits.

For any marketing and strategic assistance with your ecommerce business, feel free to reach out to us at team@socialbeat.in.

Digital Media & Entrepreneurship in India – MOP Vaishnav College

This presentation on the topic “Digital Media & Entrepreneurship” is from the talk for students of Department of Media & Communication at MOP Vaishnav College in Chennai, India. It was conducted on 3rd September, 2015. The talk evolved around questions such as

  • What is digital marketing? Is it relevant more than ever before ?
  • What does all the growth in digital mean for the youth of this country?
  • What is influencer marketing? How does it work?

Check out this presentation that to get answers to the above questions & many more!

Twitter Marketing Guide for Businesses in India

Businesses across the globe leverage Twitter for marketing their business. And, India has not been a mute spectator to the rapid rise of Twitter as a micro-blogging tool. This presentation can help you learn about important aspects to be considered for marketing your brand on Twitter.

Brands have achieved a considerable amount of success on Twitter, marketing their products and services to people. But, it has also created uneasy spots for brands which have been at the receiving end of consumer’s ire. On one hand, you have businesses who taken to Twitter to connect and engage with the fast-growing audience and on the other hand, you have the Influencers right from Bollywood stars and sportstars to leading bloggers. Building a brand on Twitter requires commitment and you cannot expect a big return on investment overnight. Of late, it has also emerged as a customer service & a market research tool. It is helping brands to understand what their consumers say about their products and at the same time service any concern raised by them.

Top-5 Content Management Systems for your website

If you are planning to build a website in the near future, you might be confused on which platform to use. While there is a whole bunch of content management systems (CMS) in the market, you might want to use the platform that allows you to do it without worrying too much about the technical aspects like coding.

What is a Content Management System?

In simple terms, a Content Management System is a software tool that allows you to create, edit, publish and manage web content. The main objective of a CMS is to provide an intuitive interface to manage your content on the web.

There are many good content management systems like WordPress and Drupal; and they are all fantastic. But choosing one among them can be difficult because you do not know if the website is suited for the needs of your website. The server can sometimes be a challenge in having an effective CMS and we usually recommend the Linux based servers being provided by Bluehost or Amazon Web Services.

This article shall make you aware of the different aspects of the Top-5 Content Management Systems in the market and help you make an informed decision.

  1. WordPress

Homepage: www.wordpress.org

One of the world’s most popular content management systems, WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but has grown and advanced significantly over the years. Based on PHP & MySQL, WordPress is used by almost 23% of the top 10 million websites around the world. Examples of WordPress websites are Social Beat, ithought, etc.

Advantages:

  • It’s free and the easy installation offered does not require complex technical know how to maintain the website
  • User friendly dashboard for managing content
  • Multi-user and multi-blogging support
  • Wide number of plug-ins and themes, both paid and unpaid, for customizing your website
  • A large developer community and plenty of tutorials and documentation available for support
  • Easy linkage to your email platforms such as Mailchimp to allow you to keep in touch with customers

Disadvantages:

  • Standard installation can have security issues and is vulnerable to attacks. Needs to be addressed with continuous updates and monitoring of the website

 

  1. Drupal

Homepage: www.drupal.org

Drupal is the 2nd most popular PHP-based content management system. It’s a powerful, developer friendly platform that can be easily used for building complex websites. In the latest releases, database management modules have been added that allow managing SQL operations without writing SQL queries. Many big companies like General Electric, Time Warner and Sony Music, are using Drupal.

Advantages:

  • Less resource intensive than WordPress
  • Technically advanced in comparison to peers like WordPress and Joomla
  • Very flexible; has the feature to even edit the root files of the program
  • Easily customizable with numerous plug-ins & 6000+ modules available for easy extension of functionality
  • Powerful taxonomy & ability to tag and organize complex content
  • Faster load and response time
  • Powerful use cases available

Disadvantages:

  • Basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and other common programming languages is required
  • Theming system is complex along with a lack of high-quality plug-ins
  • Site complexity beyond a simple website or a blog requires technical know-how to keep it running

 

  1. Joomla

Homepage: www.joomla.org

Joomla is quite often, an intermediate choice between WordPress and Drupal, having the power of a Drupal website and at the same time managing the user-friendly nature of a WordPress website. Joomla has a lot of plug-ins and themes available to choose from, so you can easily customize your website based on your requirements. It’s suitable for creating back-end networks for a wide range of purposes like inventory control and reservation systems to online commerce websites.

Advantages:

  • Faster and easier to setup an online store; has more native support online commerce
  • A great platform to create social networks
  • Long history of development and an active developer community
  • Tons of plugins and add-on tools available
  • 7000+ plus extensions and an extensive help portal

Disadvantages:

  • Not easy for beginners
  • Modularity & expendability puts greater demand on server parameters
  • Lack of high-quality themes when compared to WordPress

 

  1. SilverStripe

Website: www.silverstripe.org

SilverStripe is another open source content management system, best serving the needs of developers slightly comfortable with coding. Built on an object-oriented framework called Sapphire, it has multiple platform modules allowing it to support a content formats like blogs as well as forums / communities. SilverStripe code is bound together through independent frameworks; thus providing it the capability to support any CSS Style Sheets and HTML codes.

Advantages:

  • Open standards for development leading to high development versatility
  • Easy back-end functions
  • Powerful content authoring tool with ability to publish/unpublish content on specific dates
  • Differential permission levels for different parts of the site to manage your own editor/author network
  • Strong developer community SilverStripe LTD to fall back for technical support

Disadvantages:

  • Less intuitive back-end in comparison to peers like WordPress
  • Less than 200 extension modules and not many high-quality themes available
  • Lack of documentation support

 

  1. TextPattern

Website: www.textpattern.com

A highly flexible content management system, TextPattern is a free, PHP based CMS that is more often skipped when looking at the top CMSs for websites. It leverages Textile to quickly convert plain text to XHTML, making it user-friendly for beginners.

Advantages:

  • User-friendly for non-technical users
  • Suitable for websites of varied sizes
  • Great documentation; complete manual available online

Disadvantages:

  • Minimal variety of themes (~120 front end themes available)
  • Fewer plugins
  • Small developer community

How to Leverage Instagram for your business: A marketing guide

leverage_instagram_blog

If your brand has visually appealing products or a unique story to tell, there cannot be a better stage than Instagram. From luxury brands to media houses to automotives, each have carved a niche of their own and are leveraging Instagram for their businesses. In fact, automotive brands are the most engaged and well-represented. Lot of marketers contemplate whether Instagram can be an effective social media platform for their brand? Even if many marketers want to leverage Instagram for their business, they lack a quick guide that has the tips to build a successful presence on Instagram.

According to a McKinsey study,

  • 75% luxury shoppers carry smartphones
  • 86% brands among the Interbrand 100 have an Instagram account
  • 45% of these shoppers’ purchase decisions are influenced by digital content

A quick look at the above stats convey the fact that 50% of the sales funnel can be readily delivered to potential customers even before they step into your store. This raises an important question: does the might of premium luxury brand correlate to the might on digital platforms like Instagram?

Luxury & retail brands are way ahead of the pack: A Case Study

Hermes, that promotes a lifestyle rather than products, have leveraged videos, short poetic films on Instagram that strikes profound luxurious experiences. For brands like Gucci & Louis Vuitton, the majority of posts revolve around showcasing new collections and designs and getting engagement for the same. In many cases, they have also leveraged digital influencers to promote the products by tagging them and showcasing shots taken by them. Tiffany is another brand that a strong following on Instagram that is just not nominal. The strength of relationship can be gauged from the fact that the engagement on follower base is the highest among the brands mentioned. Let us look at some top tips to help build a strong Instagram presence.

Top 6 tips for deriving maximum returns from your Instagram presence:

1. Long captions aren’t a big NO! 

Including hashtags, the average caption length on Instagram is 135-140 characters which marks a significant focus from brands to avoid long captions. But there is no apparent proof of lower engagement rates for posts with lengthier captions as long as it adds to the visual story of the post.

2. Hashtags rule the roost! 

Hashtags allow access to specific interest groups and they are a great way to mark content that are discoverable organically. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used, and studies show that posts with at least one hashtag get ~12% more engagement. Then, there’s no reason to shy away from using them.

3. Caption content is a NECESSARY integral!

@mentions generally results in more engagement underlying the fact that though the caption length may be immaterial, caption content definitely matters.

4. Geo-tagging boosts engagement 

The posts tagged with location gets ~30% more engagement when compared to their orphan counterparts because there are multiple apps and 3rd party discovery tools that allows location-based searches and content discovery.

5. Videos ≠ Photos 

It’s good to mix the content form and it’s true for any channel. On its own, videos are a great form of content but cannot replace photos on Instagram. Hence, it’s suggested to focus on photos as the central pillar of your Instagram strategy.

6. Call-to-Actions are important

A simple CTA like “select the design you like most” or “Tag your friend who would like this” would be ideal to help boost the number of comments and tags your post gets. The virality of your post has an exponential relationship with the number of comments and tags you get.

Instagram is cool, but it isn’t for our business! 

Does this quote have any resemblance to your boardroom discussions on your marketing strategy? The apprehensions are misplaced.

If your brand doesn’t have glamorous models to endorse your product or a Louis Vuitton bag to display, then does your brand have a place on Instagram? The answer is YES. There are ample examples of brands who lack stunning images but have succeeded in creating an engaged audience on sheer basis of their creative prowess and evoking original content.

From Google to conglomerates like GE to tractor manufacturers like John Deere, most brands are fast coming on Instagram and have many have quickly built an engaging community around their brand. In fact, General Electric is one of the biggest B2B companies on Instagram with ~180000 followers.

Intel definitely needs a mention considering the impressive posts that showcase their products and common problems to solve using technology. This gains good traction as it’s not just hard-selling Intel’s products. In recent times, Instagram has emerged as an effective platform for the hospitality industry with players like Raintree Hotels leveraging geo-location tracking to get walk-ins & bookings.

Measurement: The final frontier

Whether your brand is new on Instagram or have built a strong presence, measurement is an essential part of the strategy to optimize the efforts and extract maximum returns on your investment. Some of the metrics that can help you in this direction are:

  1. Total Engagement

The total engagement is the sum of likes and comments garnered by your posts. This gives basic insights on how well your strategy has worked to keep your audience active.

  1. Engagement per Post

When some posts get impressive engagement while others fall flat, this metric can work as a good measure to optimize the content being pushed on the basis of what is working well with your audience.

  1. Interaction Density

In a given time period, the total engagement gained divided by the total followers shows engagement as a %age of followers; which can be used to study the period-on-period impact of your strategy.

  1. Hashtag Volume

This is only applicable in case of unique hashtag campaigns with affinity to our brand. In such cases, it’s a fair measure of how ‘viral’ your campaign has been.

  1. Total followers

This is an important metric to track the popularity of your Instagram account. The higher the number of followers, the better the chances are of gaining engagements on your post, thus boosting the other metrics discussed here.

  1. Follower Sensitivity

It’s the rate of growth of followers, period-on-period; that can act as an essential measure to track the best performing campaigns and content types.

In case you would like any other information to be included that can be helpful for marketing businesses by leverage Instagram, please do let us know your thoughts as a comment to the post. We shall be more than happy to explore your feedback.

Popular Influencer Marketing Campaigns in India

The latest buzz word in the digital marketing world that is steadily catching up with brands is ‘Influencer Marketing’. Western companies have leveraged this strategy of marketing for the past few years and the trend is quickly catching up with Indian brands as well. Brands in India have actively come up with successful influencer campaigns for the past 2-3 years.

We also have a list of top influencer marketing campaigns that ran in 2017 and 2016.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a term that has risen from the realization of brands about the power, peer influence and customer recommendation has over other forms of marketing. Especially in a time, where consumers have started using social media in huge numbers and have been public about their views about brands and products. Brands have realized that people are largely influenced by second-hand information from opinion leaders and this has led to a lot of brands identifying top influencers in their respective fields to try and reach out to consumers better.

Once brands have identified Influencers in their particular domain, it is important that they find a means with which they can connect to them and make them speak about the particular product. The engagement plans have to be well thought out and shouldn’t look too commercial. Here are a few popular influencer marketing campaigns in India, that companies have used to engage and leverage the power and reach of influencers.

  1. Lenovo Yoga 2 tablet – YoGa2bFree

One of the top influencer marketing campaigns in the country came from Lenovo for their Yoga 2 tablet range. Lenovo hired four famous twitter celebrities namely film critic Mihir Fadnavis, gadget guru Ankit Vengurlekar, actor Ashwin Mushran and food blogger Kalyan Karmakar. Rather than using these four influencers to simply do the customary sharing of features of the tablet, they were actually shown being trapped inside a box.

The campaign invited consumers to answer questions and find clues that could help free their favorite Twitterati. Participants who answered all their questions rightly would win a free Yoga Tablet. 

  1. Launch of Cadbury Glow

 A few mid-range twitter influencers along with Bollywood fashion and lifestyle blogger Miss Malini were roped in to promote Cadbury Glow which targeted the super-premium chocolate market. The campaign focused on the key aspect of Cadbury Glow which allowed people to share personalized notes, songs, photo albums and videos along with it.

One of Miss Malini’s friend made a video for her and shared it on twitter which she retweeted bringing in a lot of traction towards the product.

  1. Philips Air Fryer 

Philips had introduced its latest kitchen appliance Air Fryer in 2012 and there were very few who knew its application and use. It allowed deep frying of a variety of food items with 80% less oil consumption. Despite such a huge feature, the Air Fryer remained relatively unknown in the market.

This is where Philips along with its digital agency Ogilvy One roped in Sanjay Thumma who is known for his cookery channel on YouTube called Vahchef. The campaign started a six month long show called “Philips Superchef” that managed to create a lot of awareness amongst consumers.

  1. Colgate Charcoal Toothbrush 

Colgate launched its new SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush and decided to bring it into public view using an innovative and unique campaign. The campaign was for 3 days where key influencers targeted by Colgate were sent an item that was completely black in color each day. The first day was a black mug followed by a WhatTheBlack Times newspaper and on the final day the black charcoal toothbrush.

At the same time Colgate also started a #WhatTheBlack contest on Twitter where bloggers and top Twitteratis had to write their top 5 black things without actually revealing anything about the brand or product. This led to a lot of speculation among consumers who came up with a variety of guesses as to what the product was going to be. These two campaigns brought about a great deal of attention to the debut of the Charcoal Toothbrush.

  1. The Madras Song 

The Madras Song was released by the Murugappa Group to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Madras. Murugappa Group teamed up with socialbeat.in and roped in bloggers from diverse fields to blog and talk about the song. The song went viral and within 5 weeks generated almost 2.5 lakhs views.

Twitter hashtags like #FavMadrasMemory and #Madras375 Celebrations were created which turned out to become very popular among Chennaites.

  1. IBuyFresh

IBuyFresh’s campaign to reach out to its audience interested in cooking & recipes online invited influencers to visit their warehouse and blog their experience to help spread the word. The campaign received attention from local bloggers in the respective field and helped a great deal in popularizing the brand among consumers.

  1. Raintree Hotels

Popular luxury hospitality chain Raintree started an interesting influencer campaign to promote their recently renovated hotels. They invited top travel bloggers to stay and share the experience to fellow travel enthusiasts following them. The campaign worked remarkably well in letting people know about the renovation and the various special services offered.

  1. Opera Coast Campaign 

Opera’s latest browser, Opera Coast had features that would change the way people would use a browser in the iOS. The browser was designed without an address bar, forward and backward button and other features that made it completely unique from any conventional browser.

The campaign used kinetic sand which is a soft, stretchy and non-sticky sand that can be used to make innovative shapes. The brand identified a particular set of creative professionals as influencers which included artists, media & ad folks, illusionists, entrepreneurs and musicians. Each of the influencer was sent a surprise package containing kinetic sand and a personal note asking them to spend time making something with the sand.

The influencers pleasantly surprised by the package, shared their experience about the iOS browser and also how they liked the surprise campaign.

  1. Ford India Campaign 

Ford launched Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic via social media to promote the ‘Real People, Real Experience’ approach. It invited auto enthusiasts in the country to drive the newly launched car and thereby prompted them to share their experience through their respective media.

The event was held in Buddh Racing track in Noida and the track was specially designed for drivers to discover the key features in the car. The list of people included bloggers, businessmen, photographers and designers who were all known to be auto enthusiasts. The campaign drew a lot of attention from people across various social media like Twitter, Facebook etc.

  1. Allen Solly #ShootforSolly 

To promote the brand’s entire chino range, Allen Solly came up with the #ShootforSolly campaign. The brand handpicked 22 people across 7 cities in India consisting of 11 eminent personalities and 11 budding photographers.

The models were asked to pick up a pair of Allen Solly chinos and shirts and then coordinate with the selected photographer for a photo shoot to be planned completely by the model and photographer.

Allen Solly not only managed to make the 22 influencers talk about the campaign, but also created a buzz about the chinos and how they suited different styles and body types.

All these campaigns focused on the essential aspects of Influencer Marketing. They targeted the right influencers and built a campaign that would naturally make influencers directly or indirectly endorse their product. These campaigns are excellent examples of Influencer Marketing done right.

Click here to launch your Influencer Markerting campaign in India

Are you going to be hit by Google’s Mobile Friendly Update

Almost a year back we had created a list of top Indian Websites that were not responsive. A lot has changed since then. Myntra has moved to an App Only approach and closed down their mobile site. In the same context, Google’s next update is expected to be rolled out on April 21, 2015 and will concentrate largely on positively impacting sites that are mobile responsive. There will also be a marginal negative impact on mobile search results for websites that are not responsive.

So the question to ask here is, whether you site is mobile friendly? Google has its Mobile Friendly Testing Tool which can help you check. If you get a message “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.”, then you have little to worry as you will most likely be on the safer side of the line.

However, for those who haven’t made their site responsive this Google update is going to put in jeopardy the search traffic and eventually ranking. Here are some tips to help you get started on this front.

  1. How to Ensure You Site Is Mobile Friendly 

Creating a mobile responsive site will be the key step towards being in tandem with the Google update. This was Google’s announcement earlier this year which clearly indicates Google’s focus on mobile friendliness. “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” 

The main reason behind the update taking this path is Google’s consistent stand on giving users the best online experience. With mobile traffic having significantly overtaken PC traffic in the past two years this update seems all the more relevant. Google even has an extensive guide on creating mobile friendly sites. If you have Google Webmaster they have a new Mobile Usability feature to showcase if there are usability issues that still exist.

If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) To make your site mobile friendly here are a few essential tips:

For Word Press Sites: If you own a word press site you can simply use a plugins available online. The three best plugins available are 

  • WP Touch: This plugin converts your website automatically for mobile devices. The admin panel of the plugin allows you to modify various aspects of the site’s appearance enabling you to provide a simpler yet stylish version of your website. They have a free theme which works wonders but they also have premium mobile themes if you are looking at something more specific. It essentially takes your existing content on wordpress and embeds it into the mobile theme.
  • WP Mobile Detector: This plugin works by automatically detecting whether the browser being used is from a normal phone or smartphone. Once detected it loads a compatible version that suits the particular browser.
  • Mobile Press: Renders a mobile friendly version of the site when accessed via a phone. It also provides options to use other custom themes for better user experience. 

For Magento Sites: Using existing mobile responsive themes is one option that many are considering. If you have an existing theme which is non-responsive then there are plugins to help with this.

  • ShopGate: This plugin allows you to launch your own mobile website or native app with your existing magento installation. The look and feel may not be identical to your existing desktop design but its a quick fix.
  • SimiCart: Another way to handle this issue on Magento is to have a native Mobile App connected with your existing Magento installation. Simicart is an amazing tool to accomplish this.

The last option would be to adapt the existing theme to being responsive, but it requires extensive changes to be made at the code level.

  1. Increase Speed of your Mobile Site

The time your site takes to load plays a strong role in improving your page rankings. Despite the best mobile data connection, sites sometimes take a while to load and the reason behind it could be due to complex codes, slow server and other factors. Analyzing these problems and addressing them quickly can help give your site an advantage.

Using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Speed Test tool can help give you an insight into the changes you can make in your site to make it speedier.

Once these changes have been made appropriate modifications have to be made in the Google Webmaster Tool as mentioned in the steps below.

  • Sign into your Google Webmaster account and add your site if you haven’t already.
  • Once done click on the crawl option in the sidebar and then click on the ‘Fetch as Google option’
  • Select the mobile and desktop options one by one and click ‘fetch and render’.
  • Once rendered you will then have to click on the ‘submit to index’ button to let google crawl your updated site.

With the update coming out today, it would be prudent to make these changes to your site as early as possible. Making changes sooner will help your traffic remain higher after the update. If you are having difficulties in making these changes, hiring good developers to make them is always a recommended option.

We would love to hear from you if you have seen any positive or negative mobile traffic from today. Please do share it in the comments below.

5 ways to optimize your YouTube videos

Videos are a powerful form of content. You may easily get bored reading long articles but watching videos cannot easily tire you. According to Digital Sherpa, watching videos comprises 1/3rd of all online activity & increases people’s understanding of a product/service by 74%.

And speaking about videos, YouTube is the biggest platform used for uploading & sharing video-form content. We bring you top 5 ways to optimize videos on your YouTube channel to provide you a better ROI on the content created.

  1. Creation of relevant playlists based on search

YouTube uses playtime or watchtime a factor in the algorithm to suggest videos and creating playlists can be used to boost the overall playtime for your videos. When the next video automatically starts playing at the end of the first video, there is a higher probability to keep the viewer longer on your page. A playlist created on YouTube looks like this:

  1. Carry out keyword research to develop optimized Titles / Descriptions

Doing keyword research to arrive at top relevant keywords that can be used in the title always provides an edge. Also, look for video keywords which are keywords that have video results in the 1st page of Google search results. There are many free tools that allow you to do keyword research. 

  1. Ensure descriptions are optimized

Brief descriptions are a crime as long form text around the video is used by search engines to understand the video. You should consider keeping the primary keywords towards the beginning of the description. Also, provide relevant links & hyperlinks to the playlists or videos in the description.

  1. Comments & Plus Ones help boost the video ranking

Google+ is an integral part of a YouTube video promotion. Engagement gained by the video is one of the important signals considered to rank the videos in search results. Comments from your community & fans help in providing positive signals, hence whenever the video is shared on social media, it’s great to put in relevant text asking fans to share their feedback & like if they find the video interesting or useful.

Comments

  1. Use Call-to-Action for subscription in the video to enable more channel subscribers & engagement

YouTube has a feature to create “Subscription Links” that asks the visitors who click on the link to subscribe to the channel before playing the video. This can help gain more subscribers for the channel, thereby boosting the long term reach & engagement. This is how many brands have grown their subscriber base.

Subscribe

The above tips can go a long way in optimizing the video, thus allowing you to rank on top of search results as well as allowing you to gain more subscribers to your channel & views for your video.

For more tips on how to rank your videos, read our in-depth article: YouTube SEO Tips: The Secret Sauce to Ranking Your Videos in 2019.

Top 20 Free Tools for Search Engine Optimisation – 2015 Edition

In today’s digital world the key for your business to perform well online is to reach the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and for this to happen your website must deserve to be at the top (We have a slideshare on basics of SEO from an entrepreneurs’ perspective which may be of interest to you).

With Google’s smarter algorithm the need for unique content along with SEO strategies has become a necessity. So has the need for your site to deliver best user experience in the particular niche. Fortunately there are a lot of free SEO tools online that can help you assess the work done thereby helping you achieve your SEO (and business) goals.

Tools for Keyword Research

  1. Google keyword planner

Google Keyword Planner

The keyword planner tool in Google Adwords forms the basis of most SEO strategies today. This free tool from Google can be used to search keywords, ad group ideas and also get an understanding of how a particular keyword might perform. You can also get help in choosing competitive bids and budget to go with your SEO campaign. While this is a free tool it requires you to setup a free account with Adwords before accessing the tool.

  1. Keyword Eye

Keyword Eye

Keyword Eye is a free tool for keyword research and helps mostly in PPC/SEO campaigns. This tool can be effective during brainstorming of keywords.

  1. keyword.io

Keywordtool.io

Keywordtool.io, provides about 750+ suggestions for every keyword you enter. Thereby enables quick identification of top keywords in less time.

  1. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest

One of the most used free tool in the industry today, Ubersuggest provides a neat and organized list of keywords that many other tools fail to do.

  1. Incognito google.com search

Incognito Google Search

This one though not a tool, goes a long way in helping identify top keywords that are being searched worldwide. When searching for a particular keyword the suggestions provided by google gives an insight as to what users are looking for in the particular field. Simple shortcut to Incognito is Ctrl + Shift + N.

Content

  1. Siteliner

Siteliner

The site helps identify duplicate content within the site, be it in the meta-tags or content within the site. In today’s scenario where Google algorithms strictly check for duplication Siteliner is very beneficial.

  1. Copyscape

Copyscape

A special tool to check for copied content from other sites. More often than not bloggers are seen referring content from other sites and using them without any modification which is strictly against SEO rules. Copyscape can help detect any copied content to be placed within the site.

  1. Anchor Text Over Optimization Tool

Anchor Text Over Optimization Tool

Once you have created your meta-tags, it is important to check the optimization levels of the keywords used in them. Google has penalized several sites for over optimization and hence using Remove’em over optimization tool to check the same is highly beneficial

Technical Tools

  1. Google & Bing Webmaster tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Google and Bing have their own respective Webmaster tools that can help keep your site optimized and also help check the site’s indexing. Apart from this the tool also provides insight on website traffic patterns, reach, visibility, speed-metrics and authorship statistics.

  1. Moz open site explorer

Moz Open Site Explorer

Moz is considered to be one of the pioneers of SEO and their open site explorer sites will help you understand the various off-page SEO techniques. With Moz open site explorer ou can gauge site’s influence, view subdomain, inbound links to the site, root domain and analyze the link pages.

  1. Google Developer PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights

The tool helps analyze the performance of a webpage. Based on the speed at which the site loads you can quantify and estimate the performance on all devices.

  1. Pingdom Website Speed Tool

Pingdom Website Speed Tool

Pingdom Website Speed Tool helps check the time your website takes to load. It provides ample details on average load time and also provides suggestions to help improve the speed.

  1. robots.txt generator

robots.txt generator

As the name suggests, the tool helps create a robots.txt file which can be used to instruct the search engine about pages in your site that are allowed to be indexed. Apart from generating the file you can also enter pages that you want the search engine to not crawl without having to do manually.

  1. Ahrefs – Backlink Checker

ahrefs site explorer

Ahrefs is a site explorer and backlink checker and is probably one of simplest yet effective tool available. It is well known for its ability to filter backlinks and referring domains. Can be useful in analyzing online strategies to compete with your competitors.

  1. Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO

A complete SEO service tool that shows results specifically on link building and domain-based metrics. The free services provided include Site Explorer, Backlink History tool and Keyword checker.

  1. Schema Creator

Schema Creator

This site will help you create a schema based on which Google and other search engines make sense of content in your HTML. For people new into SEO creating a schema might be difficult to grasp and Schema Creator will turn out to be a huge help for them.

  1. SEO Chat

SEO Chat

Useful in developing new SEO strategies. This tool shows how search listing will appear in Google and this search list can be downloaded for further analysis.

  1. Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Xenu's Link Sleuth

This is a spidering (crawling) software that will show broken links in your website. It validates text links, images, maps, backgrounds and frames in your website.

  1. Yoast Plugin for WordPress

 Yoast for WordPress

WordPress has become an extremely common platform to submit content online. The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin goes a long way in taking care of all the technical optimization and helping write better content in terms of SEO.

Tracking SEO Results

  1. Google Analytics


Google Analytics offered by Google, is a service that provides detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and its sources. It also keeps track on the conversions and sales. You can look into our article on Google Analytics for more insight into using the tool.

Are there any other free SEO tools you use that you feel should be on this list? Do let us know in the comments below.

Influencer Marketing–Final nail in coffin for traditional marketing?

Voice of the Brand or Customers?

Social media marketing has brought about a quantum shift in the way marketing is done. It has moved the focus from “The Voice of the Brand” to “The Voice of the Customer”. The balance of power in the purchase funnel is now more skewed towards the customer & his peers, slowly changing the way brands market themselves. Earlier, the entire focus used to be about roping in a brand ambassador and roll out your story. Today, your story is okay but what really matters is the story that’s going on between the millions of bubbles on the social cloud. Add to that, the “bigger bubbles”- the social media influencers, and you are in for a different game altogether.

Word-of-mouth results in 200% sales in comparison to paid advertising

Yes, the above statistic is true, according to a McKinsey study. To delve deeper, they also result in 37% higher retention rate of customers1. Riding this trend of word-of-mouth/recommendation marketing, a form of marketing has gained prominence – Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

The term “Influencer” in itself can be defined in 10 ways by 10 different people. And, each can be vindicated. A 2014 study by Augure2revealed the following:

  • 79 percent say influencers are able to mobilize opinions and create reactions
  • 73 percent say influencers have large online communities focused on specific topics
  • 62 percent say influencers have a significant share of voice on a given subject

In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).

With the explosive growth of social media, the process explained above happens digitally. The influencers talk about your brand on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or on their blogs, which impacts the purchase decision of their followers.

How do you get to know if he/she is the “right influencer”?

Who knows, he might be! Okay, so a brand wants to engage with influencers to talk about the brand and their product / offerings. But, who to connect with? It can be quite tempting for a brand to connect and partner with an influencer with large number of followers but is “number of followers” the right metric?

Brand Influencer selection is very important step for a brand before jumping in. This has to be dealt with in 2 steps:

1.  Qualitative Filtering

The first step is Qualitative Filtering that allows you to filter out the “Social media influencers” who cannot be “Your Brand Influencer” no matter how many followers they have. The parameters to be considered here are:

  • Content Relevance & Quality – Look at the domain of the influencer and whether the domain matches your brands requirements and the quality of the content being churned out is right for your brand to be associated with. Example- A sports blogger cannot be the right influencer for a packaged food brand)
  • Audience Relevance & Quality – The followers of the influencer might or might not be the audience you are looking out for. Example- If you are a lifestyle brand, targeting a premium audience, then it would pay to target influencers with a similar audience following.

2.      Quantitative Selection

Once you have a shortlist of Influencers you can associate with, comes the next step of finalizing the list of Influencers you would like to reach out to. This can be done based on the following formula:

Influencer Influence = Audience Reach*Audience adhesiveness*Quality Score

Audience reach: calculated by the no. of followers

Quality score: a relative scale of 1-10 for the expertise & credibility of the brand

Audience adhesiveness: Engagement with his audience; can be based on the number of retweets, likes and replies over the period of last 2 months

This approach can provide you a decent shortlist to kick-start the influencer marketing efforts for brand-building and lead generation. There are umpteen case studies that showcase how brands have been able to amplify their marketing efforts. Most importantly, it has not been the case only with the medium/smaller brands but the bigger brands too, are laying focus on influencer partnerships.

Miss Malini makes Cadbury ‘Glow’- a case study!

When Cadbury Glow was launched in India by Mondelez International, it turned to social media influencers to create buzz around the offering. It roped in Miss Malini and other Twitter Influencers to talk about Cadbury Glow, its special features like personalization with notes, songs, photos or videos. For example- Miss Malini’s friend did a video of her and uploaded on Cadbury website. The link was then shared and tweeted by Miss Malini.

Start building influencer relationships before need them – it’s a coin with 2 heads!

Building relationship with influencers and leveraging them, works on a foundation of quality offerings and superior customer experience. In cases of mismatch between expectations and offerings, social media easily amplifies negative sentiments about your brand. This not only puts your brand at stake, but also marginalizes the credibility of the influencers associated. It is possible for some brands that at this point you may not require influencer marketing. But, as the proverb goes – you don’t dig a well when you are thirsty. Drawing an analogy, this is the time to build a strong influencer network. Moreover, influencer partnerships act as a validator for your own content marketing campaigns. So you see it’s not a zero-sum game. One of the few ones that give you a win-win hand! Whether this rings the death bells for traditional marketing, only time will, tell but what’s for sure is that marketing shall never be the same again.

References:

  1. http://tribalmedia.co.uk/blog/2015-online-influencer-trends/
  2. http://www.augure.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Influencers-marketing-Report-2014-Augure.pdf

 

Our co-founder Suneil Chawla featured in The Times of India

Social Beat co-founder Suneil Chawla featured in The Times of India coverage on how companies are leveraging the reach of bloggers and influencers for building their brand visibility online. We have also recently launched our new initiative for Influencer Marketing in India which can be seen at www.influencer.in

TOI Coverage1

 

Top-5 social media campaigns of the year 2014

As the year 2014 draws to an end and we heartily welcome 2015, we bring to you the list of top 5 social media campaigns of the year 2014 that created a huge buzz for all the good reasons. Here goes the list:

  • #RiceBucketChallenge – the Desi Tadka to the #IceBucketChallenge

When the #IceBucketChallenge was trending across the world, a journalist from Hyderabad, Manju Kalanidhi, had different ideas brewing in her mind. Instead of wasting water in a country where there is a scarcity of this essential life resource, why not do something that attempts to feed the millions of poor and hungry. The challenge put forth by Manju on Facebook required friends to cook or donate one bucket of rice to poor and hungry in the locality and post a picture on Facebook / Twitter doing the same with the hashtag above. Within 4-5 days, the page had more than 40,000 fans and 35000+ mentions. Even celebrities like Priyanka Chopra came out in support of this noble campaign.

  • Maggi – #HealthyIsEnjoyable Campaign

When one of India’s favorite noodles brand launched a new, healthier variant – Oats Noodles, they had a tremendous task of spreading awareness about this healthy variant amidst the frenzy for its other cousins. They cashed effectively on the Selfie craze – asking fans to tweet their Selfie having breakfast with the hashtag #HealthyIsEnjoyable. Daily 10 winners were announced, each winning the monthly supply of Maggi Oats Noodles. The campaign reached 2 million+ fans and had an increase in brand engagement by more than 50%*.

  • Quickr – Buyers & Sellers ka Perfect Matchmakers Campaign

Quickr, one of India’s most reputed online classifieds, leveraged content marketing to the fullest for their Diwali campaign “Buyers & Sellers ka perfect matchmakers”.  Quickr encouraged customers to blog about their shopping experiences via BlogAdda resulting in immense customer engagement & boost to the traffic to the website. The campaign was extremely successful as it cashed in on the festive shopping season and customers didn’t mind blogging about their experience as they were rewarded with cashback offers and other prizes, resulting in huge buzz creation online.

22nd August, 2014 marked the 375th anniversary of Chennai, earlier known as Madras. As part of the 375thanniversary celebrations, the Murugappa group has launched the #TheMadrasSong to celebrate the occasion & give a fitting tribute to the history, tradition, and culture of this city.

The digital campaign for the song involved a multi-channel campaign, right from evocative content such as Madras Trivia, engaging contests and apps like the Madras Favorite Memory App that asked people to vote for their favorite spot in Madras. The entire campaign was a big success that allowed the video to garner 2.5 lakh+ views on YouTube. You can view the song here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAqtE4KdJL8

  • P&G – Gillette #MyRoleModel

Procter & Gamble launched the #MyRoleModel campaign for Gillette during Father’s Day. With the target being men between ages 15-45 years, the campaign asked the father-son duos to put shaving foam and share their Selfie to win exciting prizes. The standout factor for the campaign was the 360-degree approach with even the TV Commericals sporting the hashtag. The blogger partnerships were leveraged in a big way to spread awareness about the campaign, which was endorsed by Mr. Dependable-Rahul Dravid.

Note: Other campaigns could have made to the list and missed out narrowly based on considerations of organic virality created.

Social Beat Influencers & Bloggers Meet in Chennai

IMG_20141213_193554

Riding on the social media wave, #Influencer #Marketing has emerged as the next big thing. We have also recently launched our new initiative for Influencer Marketing in India which can be seen at www.influencer.in. In this context, the Social Beat Influencers’s Meet was held at the Hotel Vestin Park today. The guest list included content marketing experts, bloggers and social media influencers, as follows:

  • Mr. Rajasekar, Head – Content & Social Media marketing, Bharat Matrimony
  • Naveena Vijayan, Sub-editor, The New Indian Express
  • Sarath Babu, Twitter Influencer & Blogger
  • Shrinidhi Hande, Travel & Lifestyle Blogger
  • Pari Vasisht, Food & Home Blogger
  • Balaji Vijayaraghavan, Co-founder, Insightz Media Pvt. Ltd.

The agenda revolved around content marketing, its evolution and future trends. The key discussion points that came up for discussion are briefly mentioned as follows:

  • Content Strategy for blogs: With content marketing driving businesses, brands who haven’t taken to blogging as a marketing medium are missing out. According to Mr. Rajasekar, Head of Content Marketing at Bharat Matrimony – blogging by brands should not just revolve around lead generation in the short-term. The blog strategy should have a 360-degree approach whereby they should look at brand-building as well as providing relevant information to the readers who can be their future customers. This is a long-term strategy that can yield multi-fold returns for their efforts.
  • Key goal of influencers: The influencers need to develop a niche for themselves in their area of  interest, like lifestyle, travel, etc. Apart from various monetization opportunities, it also gives them a chance to establish themselves as an industry or domain expert.
  • Monetization of blogs: If you have an excellent blog, then you can look forward to monetizing it easily via various ways like collaboration with brands and Google AdSense. Google AdSense is an advertising program that works based on relevant content targeting. For example, in case a food blogger activates the AdSense program, then ads related to restaurants, food, etc. shows up next to the blog posts.
  • Freedom of speech working with brands: The freedom of speech issue discussed was one of the key points discussed. When bloggers work for brands, there is an important question involved – while reviewing a product, a blogger has a responsibility towards his readers but when one is paid by the brands on the other side to review the product, do you have the freedom to write about the cons? What should be done in such a case of conflict in interest? The panel was of the view that it’s ultimately the readers who should be the priority in the above scenario, as they have a responsibility towards their followers.
  • Creating the DNA in organizations to take user feedback from social media and implement policies: When brands go online, it is a double-edged sword. While it makes it easier for brands to reach their customers, it also opens an easy way for their customers to share their feedback in the public space. While good feedback is welcome, but negative feedback is dreaded by many brands. The discussion brought about an important aspect that it’s not the negative feedback that matters, but how you handle them. The organization’s DNA should have the ability to quickly handle negative feedback and improve the organization. Once a negative feedback is addressed appropriately, the now-converted happy customers will be the biggest brand ambassadors for their brand.

The meet ended on an enthusiastic note with demand for more such events in Chennai. We are equally excited about the next Influencer meet. Watch this space for more updates.

 

Rohit featured on NDTV – talks about digital marketing in the real estate sector

Rohit Uttamchandani, Head – Digital Marketing (Real Estate), has been featured on NDTV where he talks about the digital marketing in the real estate sector. The talk, as part of the NDTV Prime show, can be viewed here:

Some of the key takeaways of the talk are:

1.       A large chunk of home-buying research is being done online prior to making visits to project sites. This has prompted real estate companies to go digital and use it as an effective lead generation tool.

2.       The Cost-Per-Lead from digital media is much lower as compared to print media, with a good number of these leads converting to sales as well. This results in a much better ROI from digital as compared to print.

3.       Digital media is also being used by real estate companies for branding and customer engagement in addition to lead generation.

4.       These companies are adopting newer technologies like employing drones for construction site surveillance as well as providing online payment options to enhance buyer experience.

5.       The final purchase decision is still being made offline in most cases after ascertaining the factors such as social infrastructure etc. This trend is bound to change with technological advances and increased trust and confidence in the system.

If you’d like to know how digital marketing has been changing the landscape of real estate, read our comprehensive guide on digital marketing for real estate.

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