It was 10:32pm on 17 July 2019.
Instagram, as we knew it, would never be the same again.
The rumours had been confirmed.
The social media platform had just rolled out its newest feature: testing out hiding the number of likes on posts. They claimed the change would be implemented to shift the focus from numbers back to content and that the outcome will ‘benefit everyone’s experience on the app’.
A considerable % of the platform’s 700 million users weren’t so convinced.
The announcement was first made public back in May when Instagram rolled out it’s an initial test across Canada. The user experience essentially remained the same. The majority of Instagram users were unaffected and continued to use the app just as much as before.
The news spread like wildfire and users, mainly influencers and brands, started to feel the heat. But, what happens when this is rolled out to an additional six markets and hundreds of millions more accounts?
It was 2016 when Instagram announced the first major shakeup to its algorithm – removing the chronological feed. Users hated the change so much, it’s still a hotly-discussed topic today. The new ranking system saw the number of likes and comments prioritised over the content or community. The more likes and comments a post had, the more likely it was to be seen by people. It was a classic case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
Some of the sharper influencers and brands quickly clocked on to what this could mean for them: the more followers they had to engage with their posts, the more reach they would have too. The result was the rise of the fake follower and likes phenomenon, proving that you really can buy literally anything on the internet.
Likes and follower count quickly became regarded as untrustworthy but influencers looked to cheat the system and capitalise on this any way they could. The discussion around this style of influencer culture soon became widespread and brands were immediately more aware that it was now more important to focus on engagement as a whole (e.g. followers, likes and comments) rather than just one of these metrics.
These days, brands are learning more about this and the role of the micro vs macro influencer. The bottom line is this: there is more value for brands to collaborate with smaller accounts who have higher engagement, are generally cheaper to work with and provide a better ROI compared to well-known influencers with celebrity status who cost a hell of a lot and whose audiences are much larger, but filled with few who genuinely engage with their content.
After implementing yet another feature to remove the number of bots and fake accounts being used to try and beat the new algorithm, Instagram is now faced with reversing the competition culture created by the removal of the chronological feed. They say that the proposed hidden likes feature will combat the bullying culture that currently exists across the app.
So what does it mean then for influencers and brands when the rate of engagement suddenly becomes inaccessible? Will follower count become the most important figure again? Surely, we all know by now that faking the number of followers you have is way too easy. We like to think that most brands and agencies are aware of that too.
We predict that the rise in popularity of Instagram Stories will only continue and become the most important tool for influencers and brands alike. It is estimated that over 500 million Instagram users use Stories every single day and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses. We know that Instagram is using stats like this to push the Stories function and invest a lot more time and money to make things like shopping through the platform easier for everyone.
Ultimately, influencers will now, more than ever before, be able to work with and promote brands using only Instagram Stories. This means the role of the permanent feed may move back to a more organic space where users post whatever they want, whenever they want.
Whatever happens, we’re sure that this can mean only one thing – more content, more users and more screen time. Isn’t that Instagram’s goal, after all? As for brands, our advice is to work on creating as many influencer relationships as possible now – that will last beyond the hidden likes feature and any other algorithmic changes Instagram has up its sleeve for the future.
Three billion YouTube searches a month.
We know what you’re thinking: That’s a lot of cat videos, right?
Cats aside, YouTube is the second most popular search engine (behind Google). Users are increasingly thinking video-first when it comes to everything – clothes, recipes, sports results, etc.
The rise of the vlogger should come as a surprise to no one. The heavyweights of Zoella and co. – along with the thousands of micro-influencers using the channel – stand testament to this. The benefits of having high-quality influencers talking about your brand are obvious – exposure, advocacy, more sales! – but we’re here to tell you that YouTube offers benefits for your link profile too!
Link building is a must for brands looking to last the fight in the competitive digital sphere. In simple terms, link building can be defined as the pursuit and creation of links on other sites linking back to your website. Good links though.
How do you define ‘good links’? Good question. The chief metric for this is widely known as flow, and this ‘flow’ comes in two forms: Trust and Citation.
Trust flow is basically the value of your site on account of the value of other sites that link to it (in other words, value). Citation flow is the value of your site on account of how many sites link to it (in other words, volume).
There are two types of links – follow and nofollow. Follow links basically pass on their weight as links to the sites they are linking to – specifically, they pass on what is dubbed ‘link juice’. Any way in which you can get these types of links to point back to your own website is a win.
A nofollow link is just the opposite. It literally tells Google not to ‘follow’ that link. This can be defined more specifically as instructing Google that you wouldn’t like to pass on your link’s juice to the site you are linking to. This can be for a number of reasons. This is handy in situations where a page links to something that has spammy elements to it, for example.
Similar to word of mouth marketing, no follow links are still really important. Keeping a balance between both follow and no follow links to create a natural link profile in the eyes of Google – this is key (always assume Google is smarter than you give it credit). In addition, a nofollow link can lead as much valuable traffic to your site to a follow link – and in turn, valuable traffic can then lead to more follow links in the future. Are you following?
It’s at this juncture that YouTube steps into play. Every link from YouTube content is nofollow. No ifs, no buts.
Outreach is largely based around building authority. Gaining links (ideally follow links) from trusted influencers whose audience will find value in your brand and drive traffic to your site. Using YouTube outreach for exposure is clearly a great way to get eyes on your brand – almost five billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.
Combine this with the fact that any links included within YouTube content/descriptions are nofollow (to reiterate for those at the back: very important) and it’s clear that making video a big part of your outreach strategy is a no-brainer!
So, make YouTube part of your outreach strategy and don’t shy away from putting it down as part of your link-building activity.
A few years ago, the only people that marketed products on social media were celebrity demi-gods like Rihanna and the Kardashians. This was when the concept of ‘the influencer’ was completely fresh and therefore, very effective. The idea that Rihanna would willingly promote a product on her personal social media account made people believe that it was worth buying. However, this changed fast.
Soon enough, marketing products over social media became the ‘in-thing’ for brands. This led to lesser-known celebrities and social media personalities transforming themselves into influencers overnight. This effect has spread its way across social media to the point where influencer marketing has become mainstream. Any users with six figure followings can now pack in the 9-to-5 job to become an outright influencer. Whilst this is great for them, it presents a problem to brands.
Unless you’re prepared to enter into a brand-to-brand style relationship, mega-influencers – or even bigger influencers – are no longer accessible. Influencers (like any other avenue of marketing) require payment, otherwise known as ‘paid partnerships’. If you’re a multi-million pound brand with an enormous marketing budget, this isn’t an issue. However, if you’re an SME (like the other 99.9% of companies in the UK) it really is. Unless, of course, you opt for micro-influencers.
Generally, users believe that micro-influencers are being genuine with their opinion or review. This makes sense: unlike mega influencers, there isn’t a massive wodge of dough to have their mind made up for them. For this reason, micro-influencers command a more committed following than big influencers and this is extremely valuable for brands.
The followers of micro-influencers are an extremely valuable resource. If you consider the fact that 82% of consumers would follow a recommendation by a micro-influencer, this value becomes clear. Let’s say you send 50 products to 50 micro-influencers with 250,000 followers combined – your product could be recommended to 205,000 people. Take your budget into account as well and the benefits become even clearer. Why? Because micro-influencers work for free.
This all seems very clever, doesn’t it? Well, you would think so. However, many brands are yet to recognise the effects that micro-influencers can have on their business. We’re not sure why this is but what we can be sure that it won’t stay that way for much longer. The fact that micro-influencers are accessible, cost-effective, reach specific audiences and are trusted by them, is too obvious to stay a secret. Our advice is to strike while the iron is hot before everyone else has caught on.
Annotated Video – Incredibly important that all video content is annotated – is played without sound.
A/B Split Test – Track which content/image/copy performs better in your ads, so that you can apply that understanding to future campaigns.
Attribution Modelling – Building a system that outlines what success really looks like for your brand to manage expectations/goals for the platform.
Analytics – Review information pulled in by the Facebook Pixel (see below) through Facebook Analytics to identify new audiences to target.
Business Manager – Making it easier for various people to create and manage your Facebook ad campaigns. Many hands make light work.
Custom Audiences – can be created from existing customer lists – your email database, for ex. – who you can then target with Facebook ads.
Custom Conversions – Add so that you can create ads specifically for your personal website conversions website.
Diversify – It’s simple: Balance. Mix directly-sales based ads with different types of content-based ads.
Dynamic Remarketing – of your most popular products will allow you to retarget customers/potential customers/clients with Facebook ads.
Event Manager – across your site = More information for Facebook about customer behaviour.
Frequency Cap – Keep ads/communications under a frequency of 3 to keep users engaged and costs down.
Funnel – Understanding which stage your targeted audience are at the purchase funnel model. Then you can target them with appropriate content.
Information – Make sure that your page has as much information about your brand as possible. Keep it short and confident – clearly state what your company or brand is about.
Landing Page Views – Depending on your goal, a guaranteed user seeing the page is often far more useful than a click.
– Always run them with additional targeting in place for maximum results.
Lead Generation – Using Lead Generation to capture users’ information(s) to use in future communications. Think: email addresses for future email marketing.
On-page Engagement – Increasing engagement on your brand Facebook page can increase organic reach, through Facebook’s algorithm.
Planning – Planning out your ads ahead of time allows you to dedicate more time in the ‘here and now’ to monitoring performance, building new audiences, using the data generated on other platforms/projects. Stay ahead of the curve.
Pixel – Putting on your site is essential. It allows you to retarget users who visit your site.
Question Everything – Would you click on this ad? Would you read this piece of content? Would that copy resonate with you? Question everything.
Radius Targeting – Putting radiuses around relevant locations – a pub where your beer is on sale, for ex. – allows you to run specific campaigns targeting customers/users that are highly relevant to your brand/project.
Reporting – Regularly updating people on the success of the campaigns so that key learnings and insights are understood and shared.
Sweepstake App – Data is power. Sweepstake apps are a great way of gathering it.
Willingness to Fail – It’s key that (at least) 20% of your budget goes to testing campaigns with new audiences, new functionality, new content – even if it fails.
Twitter is somewhat of an anomaly as a social network. Nearly all of the content paced on there is topical and reactive, responding to current events. This can make it a tricky channel to use for marketing campaigns yet, it is partly due to its volatility that Twitter is a brilliant marketing tool as you can create content to resonate in the here and now. On top of this, it has an average monthly usership of 335 million people. An audience of this size cannot be ignored. This step-by-step guide will take you through the most important factors to consider when setting up a Twitter campaign.
With other social channels, it is quite simple to identify the people you want to target. You will know your target consumer and will be able to target them. Simple. With Twitter, however, you not only have to know your target audience but also have to know how they use Twitter. It may be that your target audience mostly use Twitter for topical discussions. If this is the case, you will have to tailor your content so that it too it topical therefore likely to come up on their feed. The same would be true if your audience used it for locations or news. For your campaign to have the maximum effect possible, you cannot just target your audience, you have to target the way in which your audience use the platform.
This is a simple element but it can often be overlooked. It is essential to make sure that your profile on Twitter is looking as good as you can possibly make it. Something as easy as putting up a profile picture will instantly make your account more attractive to users. Add a header image, bio, link to your website and get your colour scheme looking on point and your account will be where it needs to be to form the base of a successful Twitter campaign. If your business’s account is eligible for a hallowed blue tick, get one. Being verified by Twitter will instantly let people know that it is your account they are interacting with and not a fake one.
One of the best things about Twitter as a platform is that it can be used in many different ways, allowing you to mould it to fit in with your overall marketing strategy. For example, many companies use it for customer service. Customers can tweet their comments and questions to that Twitter account and they will receive a reply answering them. Amazon, Xbox and UPS are example of brands that run this type of service.
Twitter can also be used to monitor the perception of your brand as the people on it are disposed to being honest and confident in their opinions, allowing you to gather an idea of how you are perceived.
It can also be used more traditionally as a channel on which to push your content to let people know about your business’s products or services.
Creating a content plan ensure that your social feed will never dry up. Due to the up-to-date nature of Twitter, it is almost impossible to plan ahead effectively, meaning that some posts will have to be ad-libbed. A content calendar, however, is still an important asset to create. It allows you to keep your channel active by padding out your feed with strong content that you have had time to prepare in advance. Interesting facts, funny jokes, questions/polls and links to your blog content are all good example of posts that, if they are well executed, are likely to be retweeted.
You have to engage with you followers on Twitter. If your account regularly interacts with your consumers and other businesses, it will make it seem more human. Conversing with your followers is key. Reply to people’s comments on your posts and, if they tag you in a Tweet, make sure that you respond to it. This can be a lot of work but, if you put in the effort, you will be sure to reap the rewards.
Engage with other brands, preferably those that are larger than your own. If they respond, the activity may appear on the feeds of their followers, meaning that your account will be shared with many more people. If the brand is in the same sector as yours, it will have the added benefit of spreading your account to people who are interested in what your business does.
Luckily, Twitter is aware that it will be used for marketing and, as such, has developed a powerful analytics tools so you can track how your account is performing. While Twitter is arguably the most difficult social platform to use effectively due to how quickly it moves, the size of its user base means that it is one that cannot be ignored. If you follow these five steps, you will be able to start and run a successful Twitter campaign.
LinkedIn is an excellent platform to market on because it is a professional network; you know that everyone there will be, in some way, receptive to B2B marketing. In addition to this, the way that LinkedIn lists its members allows you to use it as a highly accurate targeting platform so that only the people who might be interested are pushed your content. Here are Terrier’s 6 steps to get you going at LinkedIn marketing:
The first thing to do to make sure that your LinkedIn marketing is as successful as possible is to optimise your business’s profile. It acts as the hub for your company on LinkedIn. People may also be able to find it in search engine results and it can sometimes appear in the rankings ahead of your own company site. It is not hard to get your page looking good. Fill in all the information about your company that you possibly can. When your page is looking good, you can use it to advertise jobs and share content. Encourage employees to list on their own LinkedIn profiles that they work there. With your employees on board, you can ask them to share your content too so that it reaches into their networks too.
Content is everything. It is not merely about the quantity of content that is posted onto your LinkedIn page, it is more about the quality of your content. One post that is very widely shared and read will be far more effective than posting many that only a few people read. If you are posting blog content from your website, for example, make sure that you do not simply post the link. Include an accompanying caption that outlines the article’s subject or an interesting fact related to the content. Use this as an opportunity to spark their interest so that they want to read you post.
Infographics are an example of the type of thing that works well on LinkedIn. An illustration of a piece of information or trend in a colourful and visually appealing manner will do far better than something that has no accompanying visual; in fact, LinkedIn’s own best practice advice suggests that post with an image have a 98% higher comment rate.
The idea behind this is a simple one. LinkedIn groups are formed of people who share a similar interest or profession and, therefore, make a good place to focus your marketing as you know that the audience is likely to be receptive to your content. What is most important about using LinkedIn groups for marketing is that you do not annoy the group’s other members. By using your expertise in group discussions, your credibility is likely to rise amongst your target audience, making it more likely that people will seek your professional guidance on a particular issue.
The nature of LinkedIn means that its members supply it with information that allows for the very specific targeting of adverts. You can pay for ads on LinkedIn and there are three types that you can list on the site. Sponsored content will appear in the newsfeeds of people that LinkedIn thinks will like the content. You can also have PPC text ads that appear on profile pages and group pages as well as elsewhere. The final type, and the one with which you may be the most familiar if you are a LinkedIn user, is Sponsored InMail. This is like email marketing but for LinkedIn. People are sent ads straight to their messaging inbox. LinkedIn only sends the to users who are active, making them more likely to be noticed.
Like other social platforms, LinkedIn has analytics that can be accessed by the page’s owner. LinkedIn’s own research has suggested that content posted in the mornings tends to receive the most engagement, followed by posts that shortly after business hours. Use this information to schedule your posts so that they can get the maximum number of people seeing them. In order to access LinkedIn Analytics form your company’s page, click the ‘Analytics’ tab where you can find information on all of you page visitors, updates and followers. This is a valuable tool as it allows you to accurately asses what types of posts are receiving the most engagement. Knowing this allows you to create content that conforms to what people want.
There is a fair amount to do in order to get a LinkedIn campaign functioning at full capacity but, when it is in motion and has continuous good content, it is a hugely powerful marketing tool.
With more and more brands and pages appearing on social media, there is more content available now than ever before. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this; however, the way that this development has happened has left people with a lack of content that they actually want to see and engage with.
There is too much useless information that they do not wish to see and not enough good quality and interesting content. As a result, people are growing tired and sceptical of traditional branded social media output.
Running alongside this, and perhaps fueling it to some extent, is the difference between the content marketers want to push and the content that social media users want to see. According to Sprout Social, 72% of consumers said that they wanted information regarding sales and discounts and 60% wanted information about new products. This is in stark contrast to marketers and social media managers, 61% of whom think that the consumer wants to be taught something in social posts and 58% think consumers want posts that tell a story.
What all of this boils down to is that people are not engaging with a lot of the social media content that brands are pushing out, especially as the public’s trust in big business has not truly recovered from the 2008 financial crash. Given the current place we are in regarding the relationship of brands and consumers on social media, what do these brands need to do next?
The primary thing brands have to do is to rebuild trust. It is all well and good to make this claim, and few would deny it, but it is far harder to actually repair this relationship. To go about rebuilding trust is hard. The first step to doing this should be to produce content that people want to see. If 72% of consumers want to see sales and discount information, give them this type of content. Likewise, if 60% of them want information on new product, make content for this. If you produce content people want to see they are far more likely to engage with your brand over social media. This is especially important when 96% of people who discuss a brand online will not actually follow that brand’s own page. Producing the content, they want will compel them to follow your page.
Rebuild trust by engaging with people on social channels rather than using these channels to broadcast to people. Broadcasting will inevitably have a larger audience; yet, this is of no use if the content will be ignored and passed over. You have to engage with people. This could be as simple as responding to their messages that they might send you. If you want to become more involved, start replying to their comments and liking their posts. The more you engage, the more you will increase the perception of your brand as personable. Appearing more human will, in turn, make your brand seem more trustworthy.
Social media accounts are essential for brands today. However, brands must be wary of how they use them. Creating disengaging content will take time and not be worth the effort as it will make people disinterested in your brand. If you give them what they want, however, and engage with them, they will start to engage back and, eventually, begin to trust businesses’ social account again.
Brands are only beginning to realise the importance of conversing with their consumers online. To give an indication of just how important it is, 83% of people say that they are more likely to make a purchase if they have had positive social media interaction with a business. In addition to this, auto-posting to Facebook decreases the likes and comments a post will receive by 70% on average. If you only using generic content, you could be missing out hugely on potential business. In order not to miss out on these opportunities, engaging in conversation with your consumers is an absolute must in today’s world.
Conversation is important for many reasons. Marketing used to be more personal as many sales took place on a one-to-one basis; however, mass marketing removed this individual aspect, causing businesses to be out of touch with the consumer. This was often in the form of developing specific, business related jargon that the everyday person would not understand.
Social media allowed for mass marketing as it enabled businesses to push content but this changed as people realised that they could reply and engage with the brand on these platforms. This has made it essential that brands respond to this communication to capitalise on conversing with customers.
Conversation is needed to capitalise on the use of social media primarily because it lends an authenticity to your brand that is almost impossible to achieve by any other means. Conversation is undeniably authentic as our ability to edit speech in real time is limited. It means that they have to respond to what you say and do not have the time to go through several drafts of a response. Whether this is in face-to-face conversations or through an instant messenger on a social platform, it does not allow a brand to hide behind a façade of media that it pushes. It lends a human side to your business as it ceases to be a corporation pushing content and becomes a partner in conversation. The value of this transition cannot be underestimated.
It may, at the outset, be hard to see how a business can actually engage in conversations with consumers without is being forced or potentially unwelcome. One of the best ways to initiate this is to respond to their interactions with your content. Respond to their comments, questions and complaints. Starting a conversation in this way shows that, as a brand, you are listening and a conversation cannot happen without this element.
To be sure that what you are saying to your consumers is understandable, make sure that you use language that they are likely to understand and, even better, use themselves. The use of company jargon that was built up with mass marketing has broken down now as brands are adopting the language of their consumers. Target, for example, realised that consumers were using the term ‘(to go for a) Target run’ and began to use the term in their own messages. Deploying the language of consumers in this way is far more likely to make them think that they are making a genuine connection with your brand.
With 83% of people more likely to purchase from your brand following positive digital interaction, conversation cannot be ignored and represents both a step forward and a step back in the marketing world. It is a step forward for how businesses use social media to engage with their audience. Conversely, it appears to be making a step back as mass marketing is dropped in favour of a far more individual approach. Given the potential to convert on social platforms, it is a facet of social media marketing that businesses cannot afford to neglect.
B2C marketers have been engaging with their clients digitally from the get-go yet, with B2B audiences, this type of marketing has not really been used, let alone deployed, to its full potential. B2B marketing has not really moved on from the idea of sales people calling potential clients consistently until they either agree to the sale or refuse. This is a time-consuming process and many leads will not develop into new business. Using digital marketing techniques can make B2B marketing more efficient and cost effective.
One of the key things to do in order to engage your B2B audience is to push them content they will be interested in. It would be time consuming to individually create and push tailored content to potential clients but, broad customisation is possible. Developing a robust tagging system for your content is a must, especially if using platforms such as WordPress. Following on from this, you can split your clients and prospective clients into personas – simply: groups that share interests/industries/ages, for example. Then, when pushing out this content via digital ads on platforms such as Facebook, build new campaigns based around each persona and target them with content that’s relevantly tagged to the persona. Simple.
The content that you are giving to your audience needs to move beyond the traditional channels such as on a company’s website or in a newsletter. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have been used for B2C but never fully used for B2B marketing. One exception to this is Cisco. Their Instagram account has 192K followers, allowing the company to reach an audience of people that it would not have been able to reach with the same ease through more traditional methods.
While those following a business account might not be as interested in the business in the same way as those who are specifically targeted by phone calls, Instagram, for example, has two advantages over traditional telesales. Firstly, its reach is far greater. A single Instagram post will appear to the followers of your account whereas a phone call will only get to a single client. Secondly, Instagram is a free platform to use!
Another advantage of using digital channels to engage your B2B audience is that you can use interactive content. Whether this is in the form of a video they can watch, a podcast they can listen to or a survey for them to fill in, it will allow you to track the number of engagements that your posts are having. It will have the additional benefit of adding personality or a face to your brand – something that’s notoriously been lacking in the B2B sector.
Digital channels can give you better client retention. Bain & Company have estimated that boosting client retention by only 5% can lead to an increase in profits anywhere from 25-95%. These are huge margins and effectively marketing on digital channels can help to achieve this. Early phase contact is key here as they would have just brought into your brand so will be receptive to your content. Immediately engaging them, as well as, continuing to give them relevant and personal content will help to keep your clients and boost your profits.
Here, there is a wealth of untapped resources for B2B marketing which some brands are only starting to use. Breaking away from the old way of sales will allow you to reach a larger audience by putting in less money and booting your retention rate.
Thinking about running an effective outreach campaign? Outreach is simply the process of selecting influencing people to tell your brand’s story in their own words. But how does one maximise their outreach campaign? Fear not! We have five easy steps you need to follow (you can thank us later):
The most basic concept behind outreach is getting the right people to talk about your brand. As long as you put in the research from the off, your campaign could really take off and showcase your brand to previously-untapped audiences. However, at the end of the day, it’s important to remain flexible – no overly forced messages, no unreasonable time constraints – and keep things fun!