Category: Technology

Chief Financial Officers are always looking for the answer to “What is the Return on Investment?”.  Often with digital and social media it is tough to produce a robust solid response if you lack the architecture to measure.

Mansfield Inc. has developed a Digital Audit Program that evaluates digital presence, generates a report card, and outlines next steps aimed at improving website experience.

Why does your organization need a digital audit now?

If your digital strategist and developer team is constantly upgrading your website, you may feel that your organization is safe, and the technology is up to date. However, if you do have a large team working feverishly, are they just supporting your current clients? If so the conversions that they are tracking for success may not be the same as the conversions that you need to track for client growth. While client retention may lead to increased margins or repeat sales, to grow your business new client acquisition should be a cornerstone strategy.  Mansfield Inc’s Digital Audit can assess and determine how to extend impact to both nurture current clients and encourage new ones.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if your organization needs a digital report card:

  • What conversions are being used to determine if your website is defined as a success? If the answers are only from your marketing department, you are likely missing valuable input, and opportunities for other parts of your organization – impacting your bottom line.
  • Are you leveraging your website users to spread the brand message? If it takes more than one click for a user to share your messaging then you are losing out on unpaid advocates of your brand.
  • How often are you reporting website traffic analytics and how are the changes in user behavior being tracked? If your stats are being reviewed once a year, a quarter, a month, a week then they are out of date in that same time period. The time frame of your content strategies should be at least twice a long as your reporting period to see if they are working.
  • Are social shares optimized and displaying the content according to brand imagery and messaging? Social networks use the information in specialized tags to display links in their user’s feeds. If they are not optimized, your brand messaging could be out of line with what is being shared.
  • Do you trust the information coming out of your data analytics team is accurate and in line with industry standards? If your data team is responsible for the success of your website as well as reporting on the analytics, then there is a conflict of interest. Verification of those numbers and where they appear with respect to your industry peers are key indicators of website health.

Why engagement on social media isn’t enough.

 

Engagement and the measurement of engaged audiences on social media is a good way of building your brand’s audience, but these elements are only the first steps to a highly functional digital presence. A large, captive audience with nothing to convert them to clients is a lost opportunity. Appropriate architecture offers fact-based stats on the potency of your audience. This dataset will measure the visitors from social media to your website and their behavior as they browse content. Tracking conversions for successful content and user drop-offs for pieces that are not succeeding will offer you the data fueled evidence to help evolve the direction of your content and make you more successful.

Why all organizations need a robust website, not just digital companies.

 

Defining conversions are not just for income generating line items for the organization – they are cost saving strategies as well. In fact, a highly optimized website will also help to minimize overheads. For example, a Deloitte study regarding Talent Acquisition, new hire cost $4,000USD each. That spending was focused on the cost of recruitment agencies that accounted for 18% of the money spent to acquire each new hire.

 

With recent updates to the Google search algorithm that has placed open positions for companies on the search engine results page, with one click access to apply to those positions, search engine optimization will pay for itself. Web pages optimized for social media will allow for personal networking on LinkedIn to drive traffic back to your organization with the same techniques used by media companies.

 

 

Contact Mansfield Inc. to set up a digital audit so we can give you a report card on your website for back to school.

Welcome to another Mansfield Thought Leadership post. Our posts our designed to help the C-Suite with Public Relations and Social Media Management.

Should your company’s C-Suite executives be using social media? Even if they should be, chances are they’re not—according to research published in 2016 from CEO.com and Domo, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.

Whether or not the company brass should be publicly active on social networks depends largely on who they are as a person and how they want to be perceived within the company and the industry. Do they want to appear more relatable and connect more genuinely with employees and colleagues? Conversely, executives may harm the brand if their social media is done poorly. Just look at United Airline’s Oscar Munoz’ response to the controversy around their forced removal of a passenger earlier this year.

To give you an idea of the pros and the cons, we broke down the simple reasons for and against your company’s leaders engaging on social media.

 

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Reasons for getting your company leaders on social:

• Shaping brand views: any executives on social media will serve as an extension of the company and their social media posts coming from the top will support the larger marketing activities. This can help the brand appear more accessible to a larger audience.

• Being approachable to employees: any efforts to be more accessible to outside audiences are applicable within the company itself. When employees are engaged on social media with their leaders they’re likely more satisfied in their job which will lead to less turnover.

• Improving relationships with customers and stakeholders: active execs help show the public and future customers how much the organization values customer experience. CEOs engaging with real people on social media can enhance brand opinions and loyalty.

• Talent recruitment: being adept on social emphasizes a CEO’s know-how with technology. Organizations searching for recruits who are invested in tech-friendly companies may value a CEO who keeps a strong social media presence.

• Keeping abreast of company or industry issues: social media allows CEOs to proactively monitor and participate in the relevant discussions that arise in regards to their company or industry. This can help company leadership react quickly to key industry developments.

On the other side, basic arguments against CEOs embracing social include:

• It may be too time consuming: sometimes time is a CEO’s most valuable commodity and forcing social media on them can take their attention away from more relevant pieces of business.

• It could be inauthentic: it’s not uncommon for executives to let their PR or communications teams run their accounts. While they’re most likely approving the posts, the words may not feel genuine which largely defeats the purpose of a personal social media account.

• The risk factor: if they are running their own accounts, giving a CEO free rein of their can be risky if they’re known for contentious or provocative commentary.

• It could harm internal productivity: if company leadership is seen as proactively social it may encourage employees to spend more time than necessary socializing online leading to decreased productivity.

However, if your company execs see the value in social media, launching them on it is a multi-step process. Approach it like any other social media campaign—establish goals and objectives, set benchmarks and most importantly, figure out the personality they want to project to the world.

Above all the brand humanizing, thought leadership and company updates from the top, their personal brands should shine through on whatever they put out.

If you need help navigating the Social Media landscape, we can work with you in confidence to improve your online presence.

Welcome to another blog post on Influencer Marketing. Be sure to check out our other posts in this series.

Are you one of the 84% of marketers that said they were planning on launching an influencer campaign in 2016? Were you one of the 81% that said that influencer marketing was effective? If you are not one of the aforementioned but you’re planning your first influencer campaign, is your website ready for it? It might be the last thing on your mind after searching the social channels for the voice that best fits your brand and putting the final touches on the creative, but your calls to action have to lead somewhere, and that somewhere is your website.

Hardware: Load Balanced or Cloud Based?

Hopefully all your homework and research pays off, you have the quiet little influencer that has a ravenous following. The campaign goes out and you start to worry when you can’t access your website at the same time that your influencer’s tens of thousands followers do. You are caught in the worst situation possible, your web server that runs your website is overrun with request and you can’t get it to load.

This isn’t a new issue, when email marketing was in it’s early days, an email deployment without a staggered delivery schedule would suck your hardware resources dry. Today the same is with influencers once they share their link in their social channel, it hits everyone at the same time. Sure there are longtail stats for the content that gets revisited, but if you want to stay relevant, make sure you content is ready to go live and expand on demand.

Content: Deep Linked or Hide and Seek?

So you have the influencer, you have the hardware, now where are you going to send the users that want to give you money? If your site has gone through a user experience (UX) audit and had a face lift on your chassis, you may have missed one important feature, the deep link to your content.

If you don’t understand the concept of a deep link I try to explain it best like this: if you need to describe to someone over email how to sign up for a service, order a product or reserve a table using more than a URL, you’re going to lose conversions. Javascript has created the ability to float overlays on your content for conversions for those who are just browsing, but if you’re only using that technology to send people to you’re going to have drop off.

Conversions: Calls to Action or Bounce Rate Bait?

If people have made the decision to click through from your influencer, you need to believe they are just as excited to pay or reserve as you hoped your influencer would make them. Always be closing was from the Glengarry Glenn Ross, you have the leads, they have come to you. Make sure your information architecture is set up so you can close with as little effort as possible from the user. One of the first things that your new users should see is an unobtrusive, yet obvious way to let them convert at the click of a link. If you are driving them to take part in your content strategy, have a link to convert when they are done reading it. If your stats are showing that the average video watch time is much less than the total play time, capture them before they disappear and add to your bounce rate.

Analytics: Analyze This or Analyze What?

If I were to make a movie about influencer marketing, my ABC would be “Always Be Checking”. Don’t rely on just one source of your metrics, especially if that only source is your influencer. They can report out of Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights about the clicks from their audience to your site, but are you set up with Google Analytics or your social server to see what your audience is doing after they get to your site? High rates of click throughs from your influencer that don’t correspond to your site’s analytics could be the first indication that your influencer isn’t as authentic as you’d like.

At Mansfield, we don’t want to be the all or nothing agency, we want to do they best for your brand. Our results are data driven, but if you need an audit on your site before you launch your campaign contact us. We are more than willing to help out with one part or all parts of your influencer campaign.

Welcome to another entry in our Tips & Tricks series. In this post we will be cover tips to help with your digital services.

Every year during the weekend prior to Labour Day, Canada’s largest, and North America’s third largest, pop culture event takes over downtown Toronto. If you are unexpectedly caught in the horde, sometimes literal horde depending on the cosplay, you might think that Toronto has been taken over.

At its heart, FanExpo, which covers nearly every square foot of the north and south buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, combines comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming (video and otherwise).

The event attracts more than 120,000 people. They come to shop for artisan jewelry, original pieces of art for all the genres, collectibles of every form. They come to meet the comic book artists that inspired them. Most of all they come for the celebrities. Autographs of Hollywood celebrity or the sci-fi elites are extremely popular. Between $40 and $100 means about a minute of time while talent pen their names. Want a photo? That will be another $100, more for group shoots. The thousands of dollars an hour celebrities earn is nothing compared to the earned media that brands generate.

This year, Cards Against Humanity who are famous for their Black Friday “deals” had people lined up and taking photos of their booth titled “Apologies from Americans” while other attendees snapped shots of those in the line-up. The upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok featured actor costumes in front of a movie poster wall, which drew the attention of fans who captured the image and shared it. The upcoming TV show of Star Trek: Discovery gave fans the chance to play “phaser Tag” while other shared photos of a wall well-branded with the show’s logo.

Competing for each and every dollar are the independent artists as they hustle to position themselves as the next hot property, but these new talents lack the big budgets of the established players.

Here are four tips for low-budget hustle tactics used by the independents.

1. Know your audience, and know what they like. Artists recognized how popular the video game Overwatch is and recognized how loyal their fans are. When the lone voice actor, Charlet Chung from the game with 30 million players came to sign autographs, artists created prints for her to sign. A majority of artists promoting their own original art also featured many renditions of the popular Overwatch character D.Va. The booths that had prints had line ups of fans eager to buy which drew in potential fans for their original material.

2. Be everywhere. Most brands social media extends to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Independents need to be everywhere and their business cards prove it. The majority had at least five to to 10 social network icons highlighted: Google+, YouTube, Twitch, Tumblr, Behance, Pinterest, Dribble, DeviantArt and Patreon on top of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

3. Employ a three step approach to acquisition: interest, entice, engage. The real hustle of the art occurs when artists start selling themselves. They have a few square feet to claim as their own, and they lay it all bare to the world, that is step one, gain interest. Once they have a moment of attention they entice. They know they are surrounded by passionate fans, they quickly identify their realm of fandom and sell directly to it and they do it hundreds of times per hour. Thirdly they engage with the soft sell, offering package deals or simply handing out their business card. These artists sell on all platforms and realize that physical sales are not the only source of income.

4. Be the source. Artists don’t only sell art, they sell knowledge and experience. Patreon has made it easier for artists to receive a monthly income from people that appreciate their art as well as share how they make it. YouTube and Twitch partners share revenue with the content creators that populate their networks.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re an artist or even an established brand. If you would like any help with your digital presence, ask us how we can help you.

Whether you are looking to engage an influencer on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or smaller niche sites, influencer marketing is on the rise in 2017. To stay on top of this trend brands must actively change their strategies to capitalize on this seismic marketing shift.

Influencers are paid to sponsor a product or campaign through their blog, social media posts, other video/written content. The benefit is simply that many of their followers will often take the trusted source, in this case the influencer, as being a good motivation to check out a brand, participate in a sale offering and possibly initiate a purchase.

There are five market measurements of Influencers:

  • Micro (<10,000 followers),
  • Mid (10,000- 100,000)
  • Macro (>100,000)
  • Super Macro (100,000+ and some level of celebrity status)
  • Niche (follower counts can vary from 500-1,000,000s depending on category and expertise).

Most campaigns will take on a blend of influencers with each campaign directly involved in achieving a defined goal: Either brand amplification, general awareness, lead generation or a defined sales campaign.

Influencers are keenly aware of their power, and this is likely to increase as more brands continue to invest in them this year and beyond. Some of the things you may want to consider when negotiating with an influencer:

1) Do I possess the skill set to negotiate an influencer contract or should I be outsourcing this to an agency?

If you have no prior experience in negotiating with influencers you should consider the cost benefit of using a company that has knowledge, is process driven and can display results from past campaigns. Don’t get lured into influencer software platforms that will spit out millions of recommendations without a defined strategy. No two tracking software programs are alike and, at the end of the day, a human analysis will be required to legitimize whom you may be pursuing for your campaign. Most companies that have this area of expertise will have the required information and market knowledge to create a strategy that will get you the results you are seeking.

2) Do the influencer’s profile and audience fit with my brand? If not is there a parallel association that might make sense?

Experienced influencers will be very particular about your brand and their core audience. They will need to understand your campaign and how they might fit into their communications schedule without being accused of product pushing. Remember, they got to where they are by carefully curating their personal brand. Not all campaigns will have a direct relationship to your brand. As you build out your campaign look for audiences that may have similar character attributes that would be transferrable to your brand. For instance, could an influencer who has a large following in travel also have an impact in food? Also, look for niche experts in geographic locations. You may be pleasantly surprised by both finite expertise and local loyalty. You will also like the associated cost benefits.

3) How do I determine the Influencer’s track record?

Most influencers will have a media kit with past performances and results. Be sure and ask for it. If not ask for screen shots of Google Analytics or past campaign performances. A quality influencer will want to share this information as most campaigns today can be easily tagged and tracked.

4) Who controls the content?

Content control will largely depend on the influencer you are working with. Most influencers will want to know the campaign direction you are contemplating and make their partnership decision based upon this information. For the most part, they will want to incorporate your product info into their own vernacular that best suits their community. Try and look for longer-term relationships. One-offs don’t create any value at the lower three levels of influencers. Having said that, manage your expectations on what might be the outcome when you first begin the relationship. For this reason, incorporate a few influencers into your campaign and see which ones are the highest performers.

5) What is fair compensation?

Most influencers will be willing to negotiate their compensation. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $100 – $1,000 per post/campaign depending on their past performance and size of their base. Most influencers will prefer to be paid in cash, but some (few) will take product in whole or as part of their compensation. There will be other variables that will influence the cost such as schedule (theirs and yours), the length of campaign and level of endorsement you are seeking.  The greater the track record, the more money you will likely be paying. If you are prepared to engage celebrity or athlete endorsements, your cost multiples will increase substantially. Some influencers may to try and negotiate some value-add for their community. Be prepared to serve up some free product, brand swag or discount to those who ask.

6) Is there a contract?

Yes. Please make sure you have a signed Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you begin negotiations. This way you are protected from the opportunity being publicly disclosed. From that point on, if you decide to proceed you need to have the terms defined in a written binding contract. A contract is the only way you will be protecting your rights and the content.

7) Should I be concerned about “sponsored” or “paid” labels on the content posted?

Most Influencers’ communities will not be swayed by the tag sponsored or paid. They will consider the merits of the brand and fully understand that the influencer to whom they are following will have made a commitment themselves to your brand.  They must be convinced of your product to take on an endorsement role for it is their community you are trying to penetrate.

8) How do I measure the success of the program?

See point # 1. If you are inexperienced in running these campaigns and seeking help there are a few base ingredients you should be considering such as:

  • What are the business objectives?
  • What portion of the customer journey am I trying to penetrate?
  • Is there a CPA or sales ratio for dollars spent?
  • Are there regional successes that may be transferrable to other geographic areas?
  • Do I have the right mix of influencers in my campaign?
  • Is the audience size right for my brand (Micro, Mid /Niche)?
  • Am I securing the brand affiliations I have identified in my plan?
  • What metrics am I tracking for success?

According to Altimeter’s Traacker report, 71% of marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic area of their marketing campaign this year. The report also noted that while budgets are currently small, 55% plan to spend more on influencers in 2017.

A survey by IAB in 2016 indicated widespread rise in ad blockers, especially amongst younger demographics. A full 47% of people are using them, and this number will undoubtedly continue to rise, making influencers even a more valuable component of your marketing strategy.

Influencer marketing is big business and bound to increase even more in 2017 and beyond. Be careful with your negotiations and if you are just starting out, manage your program and expectations accordingly.

Anyone who plays video games can tell you how engaging they can be. By incentivizing players with goals and rewards and creating competition with between friends, they encourage players to succeed.

So, how can digital marketing companies or brands use these features to reach audiences and keep them engaged? It’s called gamification, and it taps into the desire for competition, collaboration and recognition through rewards, badges or points—turning campaign touch points into game-like interactions to stimulate engagement in a digital campaign or rewards programs. By incorporating competition, contests and achievements in an outreach campaign, advertisers can motivate their audiences to meet goals, compete to win and become more engaged in their brands.

Here are a few ways to incorporate fun and competition in a digital campaign:

Prizes and Rewards for Social Sharing

Share on social, win a prize. By offering your audiences rewards for sharing your promotions and services on their social networks, your brand is automatically invoking competition. Some basic examples of brands employing this technique includes Uber offering your first ride for free when you share their app with a friend.

Download the Uber app and get your first ride free

Download the Uber app and get your first ride free

Influencers

In Convince and Convert, author Kristen Matthews outlines how Delta Airlines leveraged their flight attendants, known as ‘Red Coats’, into influencers by hiding their red flight attendant coats all over New York City. For six weeks, people used clues released through Delta’s social media posts to be the first person to find the red coat. Winners were given a free trip on a chartered and catered flight from New York to L.A. and shared their progress on their own social channels bringing more digital awareness for Delta’s promotion.

In the end, Delta had reached over 70 million people via Twitter and had over 180,000 direct interactions.

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Delta got real people talking about their brand with their gamification program

Easter Eggs

Easter eggs include things like unexpected rewards, inside jokes, a hidden message, or a secret feature that are unexpectedly given out or discovered by users. The sentiment behind this is that people aren’t expecting anything and get rewarded anyway, bringing them a positive impression and making them search for ways to find more.

Google is well known for programming in-jokes, games and references into the search bar function. In Business Insider, Jeff Dunn’s article lists 21 Easter eggs availablethrough the Google search bar, all accessed by entering various phrases into it. Users can play games like Atari Breakout, Pacman tic-tac-toe all within the search page. By adding these tricks, Google gives users a reason to visit even when they’re not searching for something. Use this Wikipedia article for a full list of Google’s Easter eggs.

Play Pacman directly from your browser with Google

Incentives and rewards are a crucial piece in the engagement puzzle. With proper and thoughtful design, they can be effective in providing optimal motivations for driving engagement.

In other words, gamification incorporates fun and a degree of competition into a marketing strategy. It also works with all brand fans and people who want to participate—not just the ones with large numbers of followers.

 

A Review of Canada’s Digital Future in Focus.

Last week, comScore released their 2015 Canada Digital Future in Focus. The annual report covers usage patterns from the previous year, as well as the future of digital in Canada.

Here are a few highlights that caught my attention. more