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Facebook F8 2017 – What marketers need to know

The 10th edition of Facebook’s F8 Developers Conference took place last month in sunny California, with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and fellow executives pitching the future of the popular platform to the gathered masses.

Facebook has become a key marketing platform for brands everywhere given the juicy consumer targeting it offers, allowing engagement with an audiences that were unprecedented only a few years ago.

The ongoing buzz around Augmented Reality was the key topic at F8, with Zuckerberg addressing the need for “an open platform that any developer in the world can build for augmented reality without first having to build their own camera and then get a lot of people to use it.”

Facebook wants us to connect with each other on a deeper level through AR, using augmented masks, special effects and 360 video, with a phone’s camera acting as a mainstream augmented reality platform, in a similar way that Pokemon GO did in 2016.

Mass market AR on Facebook is probably two years away. However, marketers should prepare themselves in readiness for launch – Google figures released recently show 82% of smartphone users conduct research on their phones while in stores (seen as a key AR user case) ahead of making a purchase. Facebook hopes AR will transform the way consumers purchase products and interact with retail businesses. Nike has already started using custom-made branded overlays exclusive to Facebook, and many other brands will follow their lead.

Virtual Reality was the next big topic, with the announcement of Facebook Spaces, “a new VR app where your can hang out with friends in a fun, interactive environment as if you were in the same room”. It was clear when Facebook purchased the US-based VR technology company Oculus it was looking to connect people outside of its mobile app.

For marketers, the possibilities are endless: estate agents could show potential virtual buyers properties from anywhere in the world; students from across the globe could attend online education platforms; travel agencies could show holidaymakers around hotels and locations ahead of buying tickets. Again, mass market use of VR is probably half a decade away, but its evolution and applications are evolving at breakneck speed.

Using QR codes with the messenger camera is another way in which Facebook is trying to help people connect with businesses in the physical world. By scanning codes, information about an event or business can be released through a Facebook Messenger bot, providing a touch point between customers and businesses and adding extra value.

New and enhanced analytics for Facebook business pages was also announced at F8, including artificial intelligence to help “scan your analytics and highlight important changes or your best performing content”. Previously only for apps, analytics will now be provided for Facebook Pages and also offline conversations, giving businesses the ability to measure and understand customers’ journey across Facebook Pages through to purchasing on their websites.

Basically, Facebook Analytics will make it much easier for marketers to assess the ROI for their social media activity, allowing businesses to better understand the user journey from commentating on Facebook posts through to purchasing items on websites.

Forum Insight: Top tips for social media success while attending B2B events

Whether you’re going to a big industry expo, specialist conference or attending one of our Forums or Summits, social media can help you get the most out of the event.

So we’ve pulled together five top tips to get you going…

  1. Get yourself up to date

Whether you’re an attending as a delegate or a supplier, make sure your personal and company social media profiles are up to date.

That’s everything from the logo and description to posting a few things to the account (whether that’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) to make sure it looks active.

Don’t forget, a lot of the people you meet at the event will do some research on you and your company by way of a follow up ­­– you want to ensure they have a great first impression when they stumble across your social media on Google.

If you don’t have a social presence, you really, really, should. It takes no time at all to get the basics set up on Twitter or Facebook and there are plenty of ‘how to’ guides out there if you need some help with brand pages and the like.

  1. Do some research

So your social media accounts are up to date and ready to go, now you need to find out where the conversation’s going to be happening.

Twitter is will be where you’ll see most activity during a live event, so spend a little time before you get there doing some research – find out what the event Twitter handle is (follow it if you haven’t already) and what the official hashtag will be.

Also, make sure follow a few industry media outlets ­– this will help you keep track of what’s happening at the event while you’re ensconced in meetings all day.

  1. Start the pre-event hype

During the lead up to the event let everyone know you’re going – @mention the official account and use the hashtag. Let the world know you’re super-excited, particularly if you’re exhibiting or speaking – tell them what you’re going to being talking about or the products you’re going to be showing off. You can do this across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also, think about using a company or campaign hashtag if you’re going to be doing special promotions during the event.

If you are promoting specific products or services, create a landing page on your website with data capture, just for the event in question – you can then push people there via social media so they can request more info.

  1. On the day…

The first thing to do is to check yourself in virtually across your social accounts – you’re in the building and you’re ready for business.

Now, if you have a busy event itinerary you’re not necessary going to have time to live tweet the entire thing. If that’s the case, say it with pictures – busy stand? Take a picture. See a great product on display? Take a picture. Sitting in an interesting conference session? Take a picture. It’s a quick and engaging way of getting your message across.

And if you spot something compelling, post a video.

You can also schedule posts in advance using tools such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to drive stand traffic or promoting products – and don’t forget to push people back to that website landing page.

Keep an eye on those industry news feeds – retweet or pass comment on any big announcements and get involved in the conversation.

  1. After the event

This is when you can have some fun. If you have a company blog, write up your experiences of the event. You don’t have to write an essay – 350-500 words would be sufficient – and then push that article out across your Twitter, Facebook and Linked in accounts.

Perhaps the most important post-event task is to follow up on all those delicious new leads and contacts you made – make sure you follow and like their social media accounts, both personal and company.

Finally, it’s worth searching the event hashtag and scrolling back through its timeline to catch up on the show news and, perhaps more importantly, see what your industry peers were up to…

Hootsuite highlights social media significance across the customer journey…

Companies that are not investing in their social media strategies may risk losing touch with their customers and being outdone by competitors, a new Hootsuite survey has discovered.

Surveying 2,048 adults in the US and 1,029 adults in the UK, 48 per cent of Americans have interacted with companies or institutions on at least one of their social media accounts, and 41 per cent say it is important for companies they engage with to have a strong social media presence.

In regards to UK consumers, 40 per cent of agree it is either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very important’ for a company to have a significant social media presence, and more than one in three (34 per cent) would rather engage with a brand or company on social media than visit a physical location. 

Penny Wilson, chief marketing officer at Hootsuite, said: “This research underscores the pervasiveness of social media and the massive opportunities available for organisations that use social to engage with their customers. 

“Today, social plays a key role in determining and influencing customers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviours. Now, more than ever, there’s an opportunity to tap into social and connect with customers when, where and how they want, helping to maximise sales.”

US and UK respondents also find customer service via social media has made it easier to get questions and concerns resolved, with 59 per cent in the US and 56 per cent in the UK, respectively.

Read Hootsuite’s 8 Social Media Tips for the Retail Industry here 

Hootsuite partnerships to bridge the paid and organic gap…

Considered to be the most widely used social media management platform, Hootsuite has announced its new partnerships with six leading technology and social advertising solution groups which, in turn, will allow users to complement their organic social media efforts with optimised social advertising campaigns.

The six partners are:

  1. Popimedia – a subsidiary of Publicis, and an Ad-Tech company that helps brands optimise spend, save time, and scale media on Facebook.
  2. AdEspresso – the best-in-class self-service solution for Facebook and Instagram advertising optimisation.
  3. Mediative – one of North America’s largest integrated digital marketing and media companies.
  4. Kenshoo – the global leader in agile marketing.
  5. Adaptly – a technology and services company that enables advertisers to scale campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  6. Nanigans – the leading provider of advertising automation software for in-house marketing teams.

According to the company, users will now have the flexibility to choose ‘best-of-breed’ technology and service solutions to help optimise and manage social advertising campaigns across all major social channels. In particular, integrations with Kenshoo, AdEspresso, and Popimedia will make it accessible for users to manage paid social campaigns and organic social channels all in one place, directly from the Hootsuite dashboard.

Senior vice president of Labs, Corporate and Business Development at Hootsuite, Matt Switzer said: “More than ever, brands are investing in paid social media advertising to complement their overall social initiatives and marketing campaigns. Hootsuite’s partnerships with these market-leading social ads solutions will help give our enterprise customers a cohesive and comprehensive view into their entire social strategy.”

Forum Insight: Business-proof your company and personal social media…

Of course, garnering a substantial social media following is important to all industry professionals and companies as a whole; however, a select few are still not implementing the basics to optimising their social presence. More than likely, your profiles will be the first thing new users look at to find out more information, and often dictate how your business, and you as an individual, appear in search results. 

Here, we breakdown the essential elements to maximising the potential of your social accounts, and why this is important for generating new business and creating a lasting impression…

 

  1. clear job title: How many times have you searched for someone’s profile, only to find the individual considers themselves to be a sales manager, commercial development director, project coordinator, and all of the above? May sound simple, but you’ll be surprised by the number of job titles people list as their current employment; therefore, to make life easier for all parties involved, just stick to one! Short, concise descriptions of your role within a company instead of laying out extensive, essay-style paragraphs will also help users and clients to stay engaged.
     
  2. Keep updating your accounts: Posting daily, or even multiple times a day, is crucial to sustaining a loyal following as well as how others will perceive both your company and your role. Granted – it’s tough work keeping on top of an average of four social accounts, nevertheless, as multiple marketing industry reports suggest, consistent use of social media can boost a company’s site SEO and allows instant communication with your clients. To share out the workload, why not create a weekly schedule where every member of your marketing team is responsible for a particular day of the week. 
     
  3. Select a professional image: I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, but your choice of profile image for both a personal and business account greatly impacts a client’s perception of you; and, with my recent experience of following up with leads after a networking event, some are still choosing to ignore this basic component. Don’t just leave it as a generic grey box; and definitely don’t upload a picture of you and your friends on a night out along the Magaluf strip – for a business, a logo image will allow clients to instantly find you among the other accounts with a similar name. For personal, stick with a simple yet professional, smiley and welcoming headshot.  
     
  4. Include ALL direct contact information: Don’t forget to include information on how people can get in touch with you. Include your preferred contact methods, such as phone, Skype, email, website,  The inclusion of both a professional and personal blog presents itself as a way of existing and potential clients to learn more about you. 
  1. Recommendations: If a social platform provides the opportunity (particularly LinkedIn) it’s a good idea to take full advantage of their ‘Recommendations’ feature. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask a bunch of your loyal clients and even some colleagues to write short recommendation paragraphs for you – but expect to give a little guidance on what they need to write, and be open to doing the same for them. 

Guest Blog, Keren Lerner: Social media in business – who’s responsible?

Social media is undeniably a key factor in business success.  In an era where prospects and supply partners will Google both company and management team before even considering any further interaction, social media content has evolved to be more than a shop window: it is the chance to display the essential voice and vision of the business – and who better to deliver this than the senior managers that define them?

Yet far too many innovative, exciting businesses now mask their true nature by opting to delegate all responsibility for social media channels away from the team’s founder, owner or leaders – often due to the mindset: “I’ll leave this to the experts, it’s not my field, and I am too busy anyway.”

Granted, experienced marketers have the skills and techniques required to create content and manage social media output, but it is the voice of the business owner or managing director that needs to be heard, and the role of the marketer to ensure responsibility isn’t abdicated entirely, but intelligently.

 

Mechanics plus vision

Most businesses that do recognise the need to embrace a dynamic and interactive approach to social media – and, unfortunately, far too many don’t – assume the entire process can be delivered by marketers, either in house or via third party agencies.

But this is not an out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all scenario.

Marketers are fantastic at putting the right mechanics in place, ensuring social media feeds are integrated and link back to original content. But does the marketer have that essential business vision or understand what led to the creation of the company in the first place? Not unless the marketer was the founder.

It is only the owner who fully understands why the business was set up, the problems it was designed to solve or the customers it wants to help. And a failure to communicate that message is a real missed opportunity.

 

Capturing the voice

The voice of the company should have an interactive social media strategy, coupled with an engaging website, well-written blog posts and content marketing. But it is also important to gain input from across the business – so the founder and the leadership team coming together to discuss ideas in keeping with the company ‘voice’ is invaluable.

The right line of questions and facilitation can prompt new insights and make it easier for a marketer to harness the essential nature of the business.

 

And it doesn’t end there

Following an initial discussion, senior management needs to stay engaged with this key aspect of business success and identity. It doesn’t need to be onerous – a scheduled time each week or month discussing ideas, from customer issues to market change, is essential to ensure published content and messages truly reflect the nature of the organisation.

 

Conclusion

Marketers must steer senior management to re-evaluate how they approach their company’s social media presence. This is a portal to the business, a way to drive engagement with prospects and customers, suppliers and business partners – and it needs to be as compelling and engaging as possible – with real insight, real stories and real experiences.

Although it is widely thought that business leaders are typically driven, opinionated and focused – that is what underpins success. So, harness that uniqueness. Generic content completely masks the true nature of the company – make sure the critical business lens of social media channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn are a true reflection of its core beliefs, passion and expertise.

 

 

Keren Lerner is founder and managing director of London-based design and marketing agency, Top Left Design and holds regular social media workshops,  with her next event – ‘Nine things you need to do on LinkedIn for business’ – taking place at Soho House on September 23,  2016, at 1pm. Email keren@topleftdesign.com for more information.

Forums vs Expos – how to maximise your precious time out of the office…

With a majority of ‘expert’ advice on Expos being somewhat outdated or, like with many businesses, asserting too much emphasis on easy routes rather than methods that actually work, it’s no wonder people get frustrated and disconcerted when they are looking to effectively network and source new connections without it lessening quality time spent in the office.

Amplified by the dominant presence of social media quick fixes such as: setting up a LinkedIn profile; increasing your Twitter presence; scheduling a large number of email marketing campaigns; and collecting as many business cards as possible at industry events – are key solution in helping you to be astute in intelligently selecting what methods best suit you and your way of working.

Expos can also have a somewhat ‘lazy’ association to it: people picture the huge halls and countless stands as a way of picking up leads and justifying their time out of the office, but realistically a large percentage of exhibitors won’t be of necessary relevance, or the person you need to speak to has decided not to attend at the last minute.

So set aside any previous experiences you may have with networking and Expos, and garner some quality connections by attending one of our Forum Events. Our formula ensures that buyers can increase their knowledge of how, why and where to invest without hanging around waiting for the wrong supplier; as well as ensuring that all suppliers are provided with qualified leads and valuable business is made as a result.

Events relevant to you may include the Marketing Business Forum taking place on November 8, 2016. Contact the team today…

lastminute.com group acquires WAYN to boost content offering and audience reach…

The European leader in the online travel and leisure industry, lastminute.com group, has confirmed that it has acquired the largest travel social networking platform, ‘WAYN, Where Are You Now?’, in a bid to garner further traction across the group’s portfolio of travel sites.

It is thought that WAYN will be integrated with lastminute.com group’s new media business, the ‘Travel People’ to mark the next step of its ‘ambitious’ strategy to help advertisers showcase stories through powerful content – engaging a captive audience with WAYN’s 20 million registered members, as well as continuing to attract lastminute’s 43 million monthly unique visitors.

Chief audience architect of lastminute.com group, Marco Corradino, said: “WAYN is the perfect fit for lastminute.com group. The WAYN team is a group of exceptional entrepreneurs who have created a vibrant community of travellers who enjoy sharing millions of travel opinions. Its business complements and expands our offering in Europe and, with its strong social travel network platform; it will become the content hub for our entire group.”

The group’s current network of leading online brands consists of: lastminute.com, Rumbo, Volagratis, Bravofly and Jetcost.

More marketers turning to Facebook with paid-for marketing budgets…

In a survey collecting opinions on organic and paid-for marketing from 300 social media marketers, the B2B research and marketing firm, Clutch, found more than 60 per cent are approaching Facebook with paid-for marketing budgets; with the video platform YouTube coming in second at 34 per cent; 33 per cent for Twitter; and LinkedIn amounting to 30 per cent of paid budgets.

Although the majority of respondents (80 per cent) generally opt for a combination of organic and paid-for marketing, there are companies that have chosen not to use paid-for (13 per cent), despite 60 per cent claiming paid-for social media marketing is much more effective than organic.

In addition, the survey also acknowledges some significant differences between the social media marketing of B2B and B2C; however, both sectors are using the mediums in the same context.

Read the full survey here

Could Snapchat be moving from apps to hardware?

The photo-sharing app, Snapchat – which is considered to be the most popular social networking platform among teenagers – has strongly indicated that it could be making the transition to hardware devices from apps; joining  a Bluetooth consortium that manages the ‘wireless standard’.

The app, which is reported to have acquired 150 million daily active users, is fuelling speculation from initial industry discussions back in March that experts from Logitech and Nokia had joined the Snapchat team to work on development plans for new hardware products, and is now listed as a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s website. It is thought that they are planning to create a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses.

It has also been reported that the social networking app will be introducing a behavioural targeting tool, in a bid to attract more advertisers. Brands using the social media network to advertise will be granted access to personal user data in order to provide more personalised and relevant campaigns.

Read more about Snapchat’s potential hardware plans here

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