Quality Content Costs More, But It’s Worth It

With the surge of activity and budget allocation to content marketing and native advertising, and the quest to engage target markets, brands have to struggle over the choice between quantity and quality.

Producing high quality content takes time and money, unfortunately. Many times marketers assume “the technology” will take care of more traffic, more conversion, and more interaction. It’s easier to pay for a solution that implies less work in exchange for higher numbers: more likes, more hits, more page views, more opt-ins, and ultimately more revenue.

But in the end garbage in = garbage not appreciated, as no one wants to consume content that is not exceptional (as in immediately shareable with friends and other influencers). When’s the last time you posted an article or video that was obviously self-promotional and lacking in uniqueness, inspiration, or insight?

You can read various opinions on this topic, Jay Baer being one of the more outspoken proponents of quality over quantity. He has a NY Times bestseller called Youtility about just that issue, and you can read one of his blog posts about the subject here.

Our view is that great content, no matter what the vehicle or purpose, can only come out of paying attention to what the market is saying – in the place where social listening meets social engagement. What’s happening in the mind of the market? What are the pain points? And what are members of your market looking to resolve in their own words or perspective?

Photo credit: Quality Ice Cream Mural, by Kevin, https://flic.kr/p/wUCau


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What Is A Social Mention?

social mentionsIt’s important to understand the difference between social mentions and social metrics, and it’s easy to get the two confused. After all, we’re talking about social media activity aren’t we? But it’s more about understanding where the real value lies.

A social mention is the text inclusion of a monitored keyword in a post on a social media platform, in an RSS feed, on a forum or board, and in places like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Social mentions are acts of self-expression, where an individual or organization invests some time and effort to be part, or start, of a conversation.

In the traditional media world of metrics, the number of impressions is usually a measure of value and reach. In social media, it’s the number of people who choose to take an action in creating or sharing content (true engagement). As well, a tweet that has 10,000 impressions and no engagement is a weak signal (low value), whereas a tweet with 300 impressions that gets 20 retweets is a strong signal (high value).

Likes, loves, and faves, while not as passive as views or impressions, are a sign of approval and some action. As we have discussed in other posts on this blog, their value can be easily questioned since they can sometimes only serve as “vanity numbers”. Active participation and engagement is better achieved through social mention activity, monitoring and then joining in on the conversation at hand.



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How Social Platforms Give Brands a Competitive “Moat”

Harvard Professor Mikołaj Jan Piskorski has written an interesting book on how brands have used social media to foster connection between its own customers, and creating a community around their brand in the process.

What’s enlightening is his distinction between using social media to just “broadcast” the message, and getting engagement with likes or follows (know as vanity numbers), as opposed to using social media to have customers benefit from actually interacting with each other.

“Drawing on his analysis of proprietary data from social media sites, Piskorski argues that the secret of successful (companies) is that they allow people to fulfill social needs that either can’t be met offline or can be met only at much greater cost. This insight provides the key to how companies can leverage social platforms to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Companies need to help people interact with each other before they will promote products to their friends or help companies in other ways. Done right, a company’s social media should benefit customers and the firm. Piskorski calls this ‘a social strategy,’ and he describes how companies such as Yelp and Zynga have done it.”
Amazon Book Description for A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media. 

In a Forbes interview he talks about how Cisco, with its Cisco Learning Network, was able to stave off a lower cost competitor because of the community they had developed for engineers using Cisco equipment and training. He also touches on the power of “one-to-one” marketing using matching information inside CRM and social media ad platforms, confirming the advantage of garnering market intelligence that is relevant to an individual or special interest group.

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Data Visualization – Are You Ready?

datavizThe era of Big Data has arrived but, on many levels, most organizations are woefully unprepared. Award winning author Phil Simon takes aim at antiquated ways of data visualization. Enterprise take heed! It’s time to up your game and start to visualize data with tools that help you exploit all the opportunities inherent in the information available.

“Far too many enterprises erroneously believe and act like nothing has really changed. As such, they continue to depend exclusively on reporting stalwarts like Microsoft Excel, static dashboards, basic query applications, and even traditional business intelligence tools. And they are missing out on tremendous opportunities.

For instance, Netflix builds cutting-edge dataviz tools to better understand its 40 million customers. And it’s hardly alone in its innovative use of new data visualization technologies. Employees at Autodesk use a remarkable and interactive tool that visualizes current and historical employee movement. From this, they can identify potential management issues and see what a corporate reorg really looks like.

Through cutting-edge dataviz, startup Wedgies instantly serves up real-time poll results while monitoring poll traction and site issues. The University of Texas is bringing a visual type of transparency to academia. It makes unprecedented amounts and sources of institutional data available on its website. Anyone with the desire and an Internet connection can slice and dice UT data in myriad ways. And then there’s eBay. Powerful data-discovery tools allow employees to effectively “see” what ebay.com would look like as a brick-and-mortar store.

In The Visual Organization, award-winning author, keynote speaker, and recognized technology expert Phil Simon demonstrates how progressive enterprises have turned traditional dataviz on its head. In their stead, they are embracing new, interactive, and more robust tools that help locate the signals in the noise that is Big Data. As a result, these enterprises are asking better questions and making better business decisions.” – From the book description, Amazon.com 

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Social Advertising: Promote What They Said

Now that you now what native advertising is, a new service called InPowered lets you find articles and other content that say good things about your brand, and then lets you either share them organically or pay to promote them. Promoted Tweets, Sponsored Stories, and Paid Discovery are all apart of the mix, making up the universe called social advertising.

Native ads have become a key part of Internet advertising, even thought they are a bit controversial. One of the reasons for their popularity is because of the very low conversion rates that banner ads and other website ads get – think about the last time you actually clicked on an ad, let alone looked at it.

Publishers have been pressed to accept this new ad format, and even respectable publications such as the New York Times have been “doing it”.

“At inPowered, we’re introducing a fundamentally different approach where everyone can utilize our free content discovery and amplification platform and see real results, then they can upgrade to paid amplification services, if they choose, for greater impact.” Peyman Nilforoush, CEO of inPowered


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