Category: Strategy

The Not-So Secret Weapon Behind Your Social Media Metrics

What is the one thing that every business has in common? The answer is data. They are all tracking, recording and analyzing data in one way or another. 

Now, what is the one thing that every successful business has in common? They have learned how to take the same old data and make it stronger. 

Their not-so secret weapon is social listening. This term is not new, but it has become increasingly more advanced with improvements in technology. 

In this day and age, consumers want brand authenticity and transparency, which requires businesses to do more than just analyze data; they must listen closely, respond quickly, and adjust their strategy based on these conversations. Social listening is not only crucial for maintaining your brand’s longevity, but it also dramatically enhances the social media metrics that define your success. 

What is social listening and how is it different from monitoring social media metrics? 

Simply put, social media monitoring is the process of searching and collecting data, while social listening involves tracking online conversations, analyzing the data, and taking action. 

“Where social media monitoring looks at metrics like engagement rate and number of mentions, social listening looks beyond the numbers to consider the mood behind the data.”

With access to billions of online conversations, social listening has made it easier to gain accurate insights based on our data and improve business strategies. The benefits include social media crises prevention, reputation management, enhanced communication, client relationship building, in-depth social media metrics analysis, honest feedback, and real-time monitoring capabilities.

5 Benefits of Social Listening combined with Social Media Monitoring

How to implement social listening into social media monitoring? 

First, you have to know who you are doing it for.

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Social listening tools such as mentions and keyword tracking will help you in every layer of your marketing campaign. Begin by using these tools to conduct audience research. With the most basic research, you can find out simple demographic data such as age, location, gender, occupation, and languages. Social listening tools allow you to dive even deeper and discover the consumers’ likes and dislikes, motivations, how and where they interact with content, and which influencers they trust, a term referred to as influencer analysis. 

To fully understand your target audience’s interests, you must research the opinion leaders they find popular. Search for highly followed accounts within your audience. Use your social listening tools to spot them with keywords, track conversations, and put together a list of top social media influencers. Finally, take the opportunity to reach out and collaborate with these influencers to gain brand awareness. 

Knowing your target audience is only half of the picture. You must also know your competition and your brand’s reputation. 

Set up listeners on your:

  • Brand name
  • Website 
  • Industry terms 
  • Branded hashtags 
  • Competitors 

This is where social media metrics meet social listening.

Your Every Day Social Media Metrics Explained Through the Lens of Social Listening

1) Engagement:

Engagement is exactly what it sounds like; the measurement of how engaged your audience is with your content. This umbrella term encompasses interactions such as likes, shares, comments, follows, and direct messages. 

In an effort to gain insights, many brands conduct surveys, polls, and Q&A’s. Although these types of tactics are valuable, keep in mind that they could result in response bias; due to the format of the questions, people may not always respond in a natural way. 

For a more trustworthy way of understanding your engagement numbers, use a social listening tool that monitors mentions and what people are saying about your brand in real-time. If you see a spike in engagement during a campaign, you can dig deeper to understand why. 

2) Response Rate & Time:

Remember, engagement goes both ways. While you’re monitoring this metric, make sure you’re interacting with your audience, a term known as consumer engagement. 

You can gain trust, build relationships, and manage your reputation by simply monitoring the conversation around your brand. For example, if someone writes a negative review, you need tools that catch this so you can put out the fire before it starts. Most consumers go to a brand’s social media page for support, so you need to be prepared to respond quickly. 

How do you know your social media managers are doing their jobs?

You can use tools in your tracking software to monitor how quickly your employees are responding to customers. One example is the Team Report function in Sprout Social.  

According to Sprout Social, “ 45% of consumers will post about a positive interaction if a brand responds well to their complaints on social media. And 37% will share their story with their friends online.”

3) Brand Awareness & Reach:

Discovering the degree to which consumers are able to recognize a brand has always been one of the hardest things to measure, but social listening makes it easier with these tools:

  • Search volume data tells you the number of times a specific search query has been entered into a search engine. You can use Google Adwords, Keyword Planner and Google Trends to track the volume of searches for your brand’s name over time.
  • Monitor your brand mentions with tools such as Brandwatch, BrandMentions or Sprout Social. These tools give you the ability to listen and track organic conversations about your brand across both social and the web. 
  • Share of Voice tells you how much of the online domain your brand is taking part in compared to competitors and helps determine customer satisfaction. Tracking SOV will likely be an ongoing task since you’ll always want to gauge how consumers perceive your brand. Within this category are two social listening performance metrics that further assess awareness. 
  • Volume– The number of mentions about your brand. A high volume of mentions can indicate brand popularity.
  • Sentiment– Along with tracking volume of mentions, you must also determine whether the tone of voice was positive or negative. Sentiment tells you how people feel about your brand by analyzing the emotion behind the text. 

Social listening tools use natural language processing (NLP) to identify whether a social post is negative, positive, or neutral. Discover how people are talking about your brand compared to your competitors. 

 4) ROI- Conversions and Referrals:

These metrics may be more relevant to business owners with websites or eCommerce platforms.

Conversions refer to when a purchase is made and referrals refer to how a user landed on your site.

  • Lead tracking is a social listening tool that looks for potential leads based on specific keywords or conversations. Finding them early gives you the opportunity to engage and possibly turn that lead into a conversion.

Social media monitoring relies on your ability to listen; Without social listening tools, you are at a competitive disadvantage. Your data will be as flat as the numbers on your screen.  One general goal of every brand should be to create an environment that embodies transparency and fosters consumer trust. The obvious plan of action is not only to listen to the conversation, but take part in it.

You can create a brand your consumers will loyally support by combining your social media metrics with your social listening tools. Use this information to better understand your audience, engage with them directly, keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to improve, monitor your competition, and respond quickly and efficiently to any negative feedback. 

“Real insights come from seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. You will only ever get that by truly engaging with customers and listening to their stories,” Graham Kenny of the Harvard Business Review. 

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Key Takeaways:

  •  Social listening is not only crucial for maintaining your brand’s longevity, but it also dramatically enhances the metrics that define your success. 
  • Social media monitoring is the process of searching and collecting data, while social listening involves monitoring online conversations, analyzing the data, and taking action. 
  • Knowing your target audience is only half of the picture. You must also know your competition and your brand’s reputation.
  • Understand social media metrics through the lens of social listening to capitalize on data you are already collecting.
  • The obvious plan of action is not only to listen to the conversation, but take part in it.

Want to ensure you are taking competitive advantage of your social media metrics? Contact the DCG team for a free consultation and social media assessment.

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DCG Team DCG Team April 21, 2021 0 Comments

How To Run Social Media Ads Successfully [Ad Campaign Structure]

In our current digital age, there are among 3 billion active social media users worldwide, making up about half of the entire population. (Source: Statista) If you run social media ads always keep this in mind, building the right social media ads for your brand on the wide spectrum of media platforms and for numerous users may seem like a strenuous task. Yet, with an effective strategic plan, social media advertising can present many opportunities to reach the right audiences, enhance awareness of your brand, and increase conversions for your business.

This blog will serve as a guide to creating the most valuable social media ads that will contribute to your brand’s overall mission.

 

Know Your Target Audience: Customer Avatars

One of the most essential aspects of designing your social media ad campaigns is to define your audience. In this, you can create the ideal customer avatars that will represent segments of your brand’s potential customer base. When defining your target avatars it’s important to do your research thoroughly. Here are some important aspects to identify: 

 

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The more you know your audience and are able to define their primary pain points, the more valuable your campaign will be; ultimately translating into more customer conversions. It will also answer one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, “What platforms should my business be on, and where should I run ads?”. If you know who you are intending to reach, you will know where to find them. For instance, do you sell products to an older demographic? Facebook may be the best ROI for direct conversions. Are you a B2B service needing to build brand awareness and organic connections? LinkedIn should be one of your main focuses. By understanding the who, you will be maximizing advertising costs with the greatest return.

A different approach to gaining knowledge of your target audience is to analyze competitors and industry leaders. Who are their primary target segments? What social media campaign strategies are they utilizing and what is the response and engagement they get from their followers? This information can serve to not only help define your brand’s ideal customer but also find gaps in your competitor’s strategy to spark ideas in differentiating your approach, content, and social media ad strategy by bringing more value to your audiences.

 

I love the saying ‘success leaves bread crumbs’. There are plenty of models out there to help guide decision-making in your industry. Not only looking at competitors (like, kind, quality) to find gaps that you can take advantage of and gain market share but businesses that have established themselves at a high level that have gone through the heavy lifting of target audience identification and testing content and ad implementation.

– Kate Donadio | CMO

 

Create A Strong Brand Presence Foundation

In order for your social media ads to convert your audience into potential leads, you must first create a brand identity. This begins with establishing a firm foundation for your brand’s social media platforms and website. In terms of social network users, 86% of Americans say a brand’s transparency on social media is one of the most determining factors for deciding whether to take their business to a competitor. (Source: SproutSocial) This emphasizes that brand authenticity will demonstrate credibility and boost the success of your social media advertising efforts. Ensure you have consistent brand colors, voice, and frequency of posting on the identified platform(s), and that you have a systematic approach to driving engaged prospects to a well-designed and optimized website.

 

Create a Sales Funnel

Building a sales funnel is similar to creating a blueprint of the desired outcome to your advertising plan. List what you want to occur and organize it into a chain of events. With this method, you are minimizing steps a potential customer needs to go through and maximizing organization for creating your ads. How many clicks does it take for them to perform the desired action like filling out a form or putting their contact information in to receive a download of valuable information from your website? Are there ways to optimize this process (I.E. have the ad go to a fillable form on the desired platform such as LinkedIn instead of multiple steps of your website)? 

For guidance on structuring a sales funnel that matches your company’s advertising goals, be sure to read our informational blog that discusses the fundamentals of utilizing the AIDA model. Please keep in mind that the funnel you create should be customized to your company, personnel, and capabilities. Do you have someone that can service the leads as soon as they come in? What processes do you have in place to direct leads into a CRM (client relationship manager)? Be realistic with yourself and your team, and literally draw out the intended plan visually. 

 

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Build Ad Strategy Focused on Budget

It’s important to establish a plan of action for your paid social media advertising based on how aggressive you can be with your budget. Create an overall monthly budget that matches your current advertising goals and adjust as needed. 

 A helpful tip in designing your brand’s ad strategy is with a top-down structure:

  • Campaigns (goals and desired outcomes)
  • Ad sets (well-defined target audiences and segments)
  • Ads (variations of messaging, aesthetics, and call to action to specific audiences based on goal)

 

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Organizing your ad strategy comes down to precisely defining your goals. For example, let’s say you would like to increase overall brand awareness and conversions. First, be sure to understand your brand’s bearings. Maybe your company is new, been recently repositioned, had a shift in management, etc. Now, dive into specifics. Think strategically; do you want to increase your number of leads, website traffic, or direct sales? If your brand desires to accomplish multiple goals, create different ads for each category. You may be thinking, “everyone wants to increase their sales”. While this is true, without the proper brand foundation, sales funnel, brand awareness and outreach strategy, and social proof, direct response ads are less likely to be successful. Be realistic with where you are in the process, especially based on your overall marketing budget.

Once you have properly determined your primary campaign outcomes, defined target audiences, and structured your social platform ads, you can begin to focus on what audience is most likely to convert. This allows you to pivot your marketing efforts to that specific target’s needs and grow potential leads.

According to the CMO Survey, sponsored by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, Deloitte LLP, and the American Marketing Association, marketing budgets now comprise 11 percent of total company budgets on average. Meanwhile, companies on average spend 7.5 percent of total revenue on marketing. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends, “As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” This percentage is based on companies that have margins in the 10-12 percent range (after expenses).

 

Craft Multiple Ad Copies and Audiences

The main focus of your social media ads should be centered on your desired audience. We have the tendency to want to believe and act upon our own experiences and biases. By putting ourselves in their shoes, we will be more likely to identify trends in our audience’s behavior, their main pain points, and how to bring them the most value in your ads through strategic tone and language.

Don’t create just one copy of an ad for a specific audience. Design multiple that stay consistent with your campaign’s desired message for a greater selection of options. In addition, allow several pairs of eyes to review the social media ads. By collaborating, your team can provide diverse feedback and ultimately design ads that best complement your advertising strategy, and avoid silly mistakes that can easily turn away potential leads (like spelling, grammar, or tone-deaf content based on current political or economic landscapes).  

For further inspiration and ideas, be sure to research designs and models to help elevate your ad potential. Some examples of utilizing Facebook’s advertising opportunities can be found here. 

 

Execute, Evaluate and Update

The process of running social media ads is not a linear line. It can be unpredictable and may require many changes and updates after it’s been established. Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, evaluate and update your strategy. Be sure to also elevate your strategy to comply with your budget and frequency of actions. For example, if it’s found many customers have left items in their cart, it may be appropriate to launch a campaign such as We Know Life is Fanatic, Take 20% Off Your Purchase On Us. Now, not only have the ads learned customer behavior, you have learned how to properly cater them to your audience’s needs. 

If an ad campaign is not performing as well as expected or desired, it does not mean that it is a failure. With each campaign, ad audience set, and ad variation, you are gaining valuable data about your audience. To truly be effective in ad campaign execution, you must be able to read and understand what the data (and your audience) is telling you.

It is important to develop several ads, and be patient with ad delivery because it takes about seven interactions with your brand before a user takes an action. (Source: B2Bmarketing) 

Paid social media ads can serve as a catalyst to successfully connecting with your audience on the largest media networks. At Dolomites Consulting Group, we specialize in developing strategies that align with your brand’s value proposition. Contact us today to see how we can assist with your brand’s vision. 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Gaining knowledge of competitor and industry leader ad strategies can help define your brand’s ideal customer and spark ideas to differentiate your social media ad strategy to bring more value to your audience.
  • Think of your social media ad as a test run, once you have allowed the ad to learn and have gained analytical data, update and evaluate your strategy.
  • By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will be more likely to identify trends in their behavior, identify main pain points, and how to bring them the most value through strategic tone and language in your ads.
  • The process of running social media ads is not a linear line, it requires time to operate, evaluate, and implement updates.

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Kathryn Donadio Kathryn Donadio April 1, 2021 0 Comments

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping

Every month, a staggering 130 million people explore Instagram’s shoppable posts to discover and purchase products that brands are selling on the platform (Source: Later.com). Many businesses have implemented the shoppable feature on their accounts, and they’re reaping the benefits as we speak. In November of 2020, Instagram introduced a momentous update to the app, making the shopping feature a central aspect of the platform’s layout and overall experience. It is now more crucial than ever for businesses to embrace the new app landscape and make their accounts shoppable. 

For business owners who are not familiar with the Instagram shopping feature, it’s simply a tool that uses product tagging to give users the ability to tap a photo of your product(s) and view the price(s). If a user clicks on the price tag, they will be given the option to either view the product on your website or to add the product to their bag directly through Instagram. 

An additional update expands this access to Instagram purchases, with product tagging not limited solely to posts, but including Stories, Reels, and promoted ads as well. This fosters a smooth buying experience, increasing Instagram’s “shopability” from the moment someone discovers your product, to when they decide to purchase it. And if that wasn’t news enough, the new Google-like search experience for the Explore Feed now includes the ability to search for keywords (in addition to the hashtags, usernames, and location options that were available before), giving users and businesses even more ways to find each other. This plays incredibly well with product tagging, making shopping on the app as accessible as possible. Adopting these new features has essentially made Instagram a second landing page for your business. 

 

If your brand would like to start encouraging customers to shop directly from your business’s Instagram account, there are a few prerequisites that your account must meet before you can start selling on the platform:

  • Keep in mind that your account doesn’t need to have 10k followers in order to create shoppable posts.
  • Instagram requires that your business is located in one of these 46 countries in order for you to apply the feature.
  • Your account should be dedicated to a business that predominantly sells physical goods, and your account needs to be set up specifically as a business profile. Check out Instagram’s merchant agreement and commerce policy to make sure you understand and are in compliance with all requirements.
  • The Facebook Business Page that is connected to your Instagram account can’t have country or age restrictions.
  • You will need to upload your products to a catalog that can then be connected to your Instagram account. You have 2 options for cataloging in which you can either create one yourself using Facebook’s Catalog Manager or you can use a Facebook partner like Shopify or BigCommerce to link an existing catalog of your products.
  • Once you’ve met all requirements, your request to make your account shoppable will be reviewed by Instagram!

Here are the guidelines to set up shopping on your IG account:

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When your account is eligible for the shopping feature, how do you actually set up your IG account to be “shoppable?”

  1. Go to your profile and select the three bars in the top right corner.

*insert screenshot of account w/bars circled or just the bars by themselves*

  1. Tap Settings.

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  1. Tap the fourth item down, it will say either Business or Creator depending on what type of profile you have.

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  1. Tap Set Up Instagram Shopping.

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  1. Tap Get Started.
  2. If your business’s Facebook is not currently connected to your IG account, you will be prompted to connect it at this step.
  3. Follow the steps to connect a catalog to your account. There are two ways in which you can do this: either by connecting to a new or existing catalog, or by using a Facebook partner such as Shopify or WooCommerce.
  4. Follow the remaining prompts to ensure that you have selected the appropriate catalog and submit your account for review.
  5. The review process usually takes a couple of days. Once you’ve been approved, you will receive notifications from Instagram to complete the setup in Settings so you can start tagging products in your posts and stories. 
  6. Start posting!

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  1. Tap Done.

Now your company can utilize posts and stories in a more “boutique” setting like this: 

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The process itself isn’t complicated, but there are quite a few details to pay attention to. Instagram has great resources to help you become shoppable, and once you’ve been approved there are some key aspects to keep in mind as users begin discovering your products:

  • For any shoppable posts on your feed, you can tag up to 5 products per image, and up to 20 products in a carousel post.
  • It’s important to have a good balance between shoppable posts and regular photos on your feed. You don’t want to inundate your audience with price tags, but you also want to make sure they know that the purchase potential is there.
  • Create a highlight that is dedicated to your products and shoppable posts. Give your followers an easy way to view everything that you have to offer!
  • The Instagram explore page has a shopping tab that displays accounts with shoppable posts, so your products could very well end up on the screens of millions of users at once. With that in mind, make sure your shoppable posts feature high-quality images with a strong caption and description of the product(s).
  • Use relevant hashtags to increase the likelihood of reaching greater numbers of shoppers.
  • Make sure your shoppable posts align with your brand and Instagram aesthetic.
  • Always make sure that your shopping tags are linked to the correct products.
  • Use the “view insights” feature on your account to track the performance of specific posts.
  • If you discontinue a product or change the price, don’t forget to update your catalog and feed accordingly.

 

If you are interested in learning more or aren’t sure if your business would benefit from the shopping feature, reach out to us and we can help you determine what’s best for your business!

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DCG Team DCG Team March 20, 2021 0 Comments

2021 Marketing Trends

As if digital marketing trends don’t move fast enough, 2020 saw a significant and unanticipated increase in users’ time online (eCommerce, Video Conferences, Social Media Time, Email Communication, etc.). Companies were forced to adapt quickly to capitalize on this phenomenon, and the lack of in-person interaction saw the birth of major shifts in what behavior trends this increased time online. Though seemingly unpredictable, a lot of these trends were merely brewing under the surface, and the pandemic was the catalyst that brought them to the forefront. Let’s take a look at what’s here to stay, and which key trends will help your business shift with the digital tide in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Online Shopping/eCommerce

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. eCommerce sales grew more than 30% between the first and second quarter of 2020. The reason for this dramatic increase is very clear: as citizens remained socially distant at home, they spent more time purchasing products online. However, the sheer volume of online sales astounded even the most prepared and efficient companies. In some cases, sales halted altogether when businesses just couldn’t keep up with the demand of their customers. 

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No store was safe from the purchasing pandemonium, whether they were brick-and-mortar businesses or strictly online, like Amazon. Toilet paper became a valuable commodity! And because these businesses’ supply chains weren’t prepared for the influx of demand, they weren’t able to replenish their shelves quickly enough. This is a prime example of an opportunity for entrepreneurs to fill a need. Any gap within the business landscape is an opportunity.

Certain companies have adapted to this major shift to online shopping, most notably Instagram, and the substantial updates that were made to the app within the last few months of 2020. Instagram put a heavy emphasis on Reels and their shopping feature, encouraging users to spend directly on the app and giving brands the ability to add a new video-making platform to their marketing strategy.

2. Social Authenticity

As we social distance, there’s an opportunity to close that distance with authenticity, transparency, and relatability. Recognize the problems that your audience could be facing, and connect with them through that recognition. There doesn’t even have to be a concrete solution to the problem – you don’t have to have the solution or the answer. Acknowledging difficult experiences in an honest way can make a monumental difference in the way that your brand is perceived.

3. Companies with Standards

Consumers are actively searching for companies that hold themselves to higher standards, be it ethically, environmentally, socially, etc. They want to give their business to brands that they feel are making a positive impact on the world, and by purchasing from those brands, they are inadvertently contributing to that impact. 

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4. SEO Changes on Instagram

Instagram is putting less impact on hashtags as a way to explore similar posts and becoming more “search-friendly.” Marketing-wise, this means businesses should focus on including more SEO in their captions – smart use of keywords, instead of just trendy hashtags for increased reach and engagement. 

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  1. Reels as a Response to TikTok

Human connection, especially important in times such as these when we have to interact with each other at a distance. With the controversy that TikTok has faced in the past few months, Instagram decided to answer it by facilitating the use of Reels by making it a featured button at the bottom of the app’s homepage. We expect to see more platforms adopting this style of video, including “duet” and response style capabilities.

  1. Hybrid Events

Activities that once we would never dream of hosting online have now become the new norm. Every business has been forced to adapt and make this adjustment, and while it has introduced many difficulties to the usual processes, there are many positive developments to come out of these hybrid events and work environments. 

There are millions of employees all over the world performing their job duties from a remote location, an ability that they never thought possible before COVID-19. 

Try hosting your own virtual event! You have the potential to invite new customers who might otherwise have not been involved or showed up in person, but the virtual aspect makes it much more lowkey and convenient.

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  1. Social Media for Customer Service

Don’t be afraid to use your brand’s social media as a method for customer service. There is something very powerful and special about connecting with your customers via social media platforms. Rather than being a company that simply spits out content, interacting with customers through your accounts gives them a sense of importance and satisfaction. It makes people feel sought out and important, and it will also encourage more interaction from your followers, thus raising the engagement on your social media and giving you the potential to get more eyes on your pages. 

  1. Social Monitoring

It will be easier and more important than ever to incorporate social monitoring into your marketing strategy. There are many benefits to social monitoring, including proactive crisis management, determining your brand’s market positioning, understanding the behavior of your customers, etc. 

As a means of crisis management, social monitoring will allow you to observe the way consumers are reacting to various events in the world, and gauge how you need to respond to these events in order to make the deepest and most lasting connection with your audience. It keeps you from being tone-deaf and saying something that could put your brand in a bad light. Always be aware of what your particular consumer base is saying about current affairs and never take for granted the value of such knowledge can be. 

Social monitoring can also help you understand where your brand is in relation to the market. Listen to the market and to where the demand is, and this will help you locate a particular group of consumers whose needs aren’t being met within the current marketplace. Really listen to what it is that people want/need.

Understanding your target audience’s behavior is essential in order to deliver the best service possible and to prepare for future purchases. If you know your audience well enough, you can predict what their future actions will be, what type of messaging and advertising appeals most to them, and how to turn them into loyal customers.

  1. Voice Search
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Convenience is the name of the game. Make sure your website and social media are optimized for voice search. People are searching the web differently, and video marketing is one of the most affected types of content so far. Voice search is having a big effect on SEO because of the difference in speech patterns versus typed searches. Speech is more colloquial, more free-form, and on the spot, while typing a phrase or question into the Google search bar takes a little more forethought. Most of the time, typed searches involve inadvertently searching keywords or ideas. Voice search is more centered around the thing itself, is often phrased in the form of a question, and is much less rigid or predictable (making SEO more complicated than ever). 

  1.  Video Marketing

With so many people working from home, video content has become more frequent and casual, with glimpses into the life of someone who works at home and what a typical day is like. With the freedom and confidence to make more video content, we are seeing a rise in these more interactive posts that will continue to grow as the months go by. The lack of in-person connections has brought about the desire for continued interaction through social media, and what better way to feel as if you could be hanging out in real-time with someone else than through videos?

Certain platforms, most notably Instagram, are beefing up their video features to encourage users to take advantage of this specific type of media. Instagram has been pushing Reels hard ever since TikTok’s privacy policies were called into question, and Reels has even become the main focus on the homepage of every Instagram user. 

Conclusion

It is clear that the space provided by 2020 has been filled by what people want, and more than ever, the digital world is being dictated by how the general public (and your future audience) is using their time, melding personal behaviors with business opportunities. Luckily, social platforms are fighting hard to evolve to suit the behaviors of the public, which happens to coincide with an opportunity for business.

If 2020 showed us anything, it’s how quickly things can change/are ever-evolving/adaptable. It’s likely that this list doesn’t cover everything we’ll see in 2021, and the best advice we can offer is to stay vigilant, pay attention to how digital platforms are changing and why, and check in on online consumer behaviour regularly.

Interested in how to implement any of these tactics successfully? Request a free consultation with a DCG marketing specialist today!

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DCG Team DCG Team February 17, 2021 0 Comments

4 Reasons Why Good SEO is Worth Your Attention

It’s no secret that search engine optimization (SEO) has become an essential part of doing business in the digital age. While a fair amount of guesswork was necessary for businesses in previous decades to fine-tune the best way to reach their target audience, the sheer amount of data that can be leveraged with SEO has given today’s advertisers a far deeper understanding of their place in the market. This isn’t to say that utilizing SEO means businesses will never have to resort to “trial and error” from time to time, but it does empower them to create a more data-driven approach to marketing. Surprisingly enough, despite how significant the rewards of using good SEO can be, it’s also one of the most cost-effective things you can do to drive sales in the long term (as long as you’re willing to flex your patience while the work is being done).

Whether you’re in the startup phase, or looking to reinvigorate growth in an existing business, here are 4 reasons why good SEO should be on your radar (if it isn’t already):

  1. Organic Search is Still the King of Website Traffic

Simply put, when it comes to driving potential customers to your business, 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search. While it’s true that Google runs on advertising funds, their search engine is still designed to answer people’s questions as quickly and easily as possible. This indicates consumers’ tendency to search for specific products or services when they’re ready to make a purchase; not choosing to buy something simply because they were prompted by an ad. Optimizing your SEO to best answer the questions being asked, therefore, is likely to be favored by search engines such as Google (who, by the way, happens to own over 75% of the search market), helping potential customers find you amongst a vast sea of competitors.

2. It Doesn’t Just Drive More Traffic, It Drives the Right Traffic

Advertising drives your product to the right people; SEO drives the right people to your product. Aside from email marketing, search traffic from Google performs 400% better than any other method. Google Ads, for example, are a powerful way to reach potential customers that you likely wouldn’t get by other means, but, even then, if they aren’t carefully targeting your audience, it’s like casting a large net into the ocean: you may catch a few good fish, but you’re also going to catch a lot of kelp. Whether you’re using it for paid advertising, or organic searches, SEO analysis makes it possible to not only identify which factors are most relevant to your business and target market, but it also helps build a more accurate picture of the people who are likely to buy from you. Since 71% of commercial buyers begin their research with Google searches, knowing your customer means you can more accurately provide what they’re looking for, and attract more people like them.

3. Your Search Ranking Increases Your Credibility

Appearing on the first page of any search is like winning the internet lottery – only better, because, as it turns out, it has little to do with luck, and a whole lot to do with proper SEO practices. Over 95% of people never make it past the first page on Google. And why would they? Thanks to Google being synonymous with “having the answer” to any given question, if your business isn’t listed on that coveted first page, you’re probably not what people are looking for. Moreover, businesses that rank at the top of Google’s search results garner the perception of trustworthiness, reliability, and credibility. This is because Google’s algorithm is designed to display content that it sees as the most relevant (and legitimate) first, and the public knows it. But how do you get there? While it’s true that clever keywords can increase your visibility and cause your click-through rates to skyrocket, it isn’t the search position alone that feeds your business. It’s the use of intelligent SEO that backs up those strong keywords and gets you in the rankings in the first place (and keeps you there in the long run). In essence, it’s not about the clever keywords, it’s about the quality of the information they’re found in.  

4. You Don’t Have to Break the Bank to Get Results

There isn’t much out there you can get for free, so we can understand your skepticism when we say that SEO doesn’t technically require any money at all. No, really. Unlike PPC (Pay Per Click advertising), SEO doesn’t necessarily have a strict, close-ended budget applied to the bookended time an ad runs for. What it does cost is the time, effort, and dedicated commitment to continuously improving the quality of the content your business provides. 

The good news is, there are tons of free SEO tools out there to help make sure you’re spending that time and effort effectively. The even better news is, as you implement SEO to improve the quality of your site (and it’s hub of digital media), you’ll be recognized for it in the form of increased traffic, higher ranking, and ultimately, a boost in overall performance where it matters most: conversion. 

Conclusion

Investing the time and redirecting in-house employees to cover this task can be scary for businesses, and, as a result, the long term benefits of proper SEO are often pushed aside in favor of short term solutions that burn bright and fast. If your business is just starting out, or needs to place its time and talent resources elsewhere, hiring a professional may be well worth it. Yes, this will cost you some, but, that cost will pay for itself as your well designed SEO actively works for you, and continuously enhances every other aspect of your business. 

Not sure where to start? Our team offers website analyses to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your website, including how well your website has been optimized. Start your website audit here

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DCG Team DCG Team January 15, 2021 0 Comments

The AIDA Model: Fundamentals of a Successful Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a tool used for understanding a customer’s journey from thought to action, that will help you define your sales and marketing strategy to reach your business goals. It’s important to have a strong brand communication strategy and know where to find your target audience. You must define what mediums they are on, and what your outreach strategy will be.

AIDA model is a simple and effective model used to understand the path of buyers from their first interaction with your brand to a desired conversion. Below we guide you through each step of the funnel and provide practical tips to keep your efforts focused on elements that will drive success.

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Attention

Grabbing attention is the start to generating a prospective lead or desired action in the sales funnel. This stage is not only the first introduction to your brand, but can also include several touch points in which consumers form opinions. First impressions are lasting. 

Getting attention in a competitive marketplace takes creativity and clear communication. Be sure to focus your efforts on quality content over quantity, where spreading yourself too thin from producing a larger number of posts can often hurt your efforts more than it helps.

Any form of communication that your audience may be consuming has the potential to impact your brand awareness. Examples of attention grabbing content include:

  • A Well-Designed Email Newsletter
  • An Eye-Catching Social Media Post
  • An Aesthetic Website Landing Page
  • A Well-Crafted Blog Headline
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photo courtesy of adweek.com
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photo courtesy of Starbucks Instagram account

Interest

Once a potential customer’s attention is piqued, they’ll want to know more. Quality content is crucial in this stage of the sales funnel to make sure consumers don’t continue to pass you up. What can you do to set yourself apart from your competitors? If you’ve done your research, you will have examples of content that your target audience likes to consume, and be able to have a launch point for developing your own content. Develop a variety of content on multiple platforms to increase the likelihood of reaching your potential clients. 

Ways to make your content valuable:

  • Answer Consumers’ Questions
  • Relate to Your Target Audience’s Pain Points
  • Use A/B Testing to Determine the Best Content
  • Provide Relevant Statistics

Desire

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Shifting a consumer from displaying casual interest to intentional action involves building a relationship that encourages trust and continues to provide value. Consumers are hesitant to provide their information such as email addresses if there isn’t enough perceived value in the exchange. To foster a feeling of desire for your products or services, relate to your audience and show your value proposition in terms of how it will solve the consumers’ problems or make their lives easier. This can be achieved by purposeful, customized, and segmented content. 

Here are a few examples of going above and beyond to create a deeper connection with your audience:

  • Educate Consumers with a Webinar or Newsletter
  • Develop Interactive Social Media Posts and Campaigns that Encourage Engagement Such as Polls, Contests, and Series
  • Master Storytelling to Share Your Company Culture
  • Segment Your Messaging (Ex. Demographic: “Hey Moms, we know you could use an extra hand.” or Geographically: “Can’t wait for warmer weather?”)
  • Build Your Reviews and User Generated Content to Increase Social Proof

Action

In this final stage of the sales funnel, it’s time to advance closing in on the desired action. If all of the previous phases were successful, the action stage will be a natural transition in consumer behavior. The prospect has become aware of your brand, the content piqued their interest, and you have discussed their needs and offered solutions. Now you have built trust and communicated the benefit customers receive from your product or service. If an individual understands and believes in your value proposition, you will not only encourage conversions, but foster long-term and repeat business.

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A few tips to ensure you nail the sale:

  • Make Sure Your Process is User Friendly and Functional
  • Follow Through with Exceptional Customer Service
  • Ask for Feedback, and Update Your Strategy Accordingly

Key Takeaways

  • Sales funnels are like plants, they require continued nurturing to grow.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, use real life models to give you blueprints of successful practices.
  • Create an outreach strategy with your brand voice in mind.
  • Know your target audience inside and out.
  • Data and analysis is necessary to better your funnel and increase your sales.

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Kathryn Donadio Kathryn Donadio December 15, 2020 0 Comments

Building a Business Strategy is Like Throwing Darts

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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DCG Team DCG Team July 9, 2019 0 Comments

Making Your Website Airtight

The time has finally come. You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your most recent content piece, and it’s ready to be packaged up and sent to the client to be pushed live. After a few final checks and only…

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DCG Team DCG Team November 16, 2018 0 Comments