Tag: Digital

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 If your stats are being reviewed once a year, a quarter, a month, a week then they are out of date in that same time period.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.

There is only so much sand in the hourglass and if you haven’t already figured out what your social media game plan is during a company crisis, please read on immediately.

In today’s age of communications having a social media crisis engagement strategy is critical to preserving your brand. Now more than ever, the public expects an immediate response on social media when a crisis hits. Every minute that passes by without a response is a slippery slope to disaster. According to a recent study on Hubspot 72 per cent of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour. Moreover, 60 per cent of respondents in the survey felt negatively about the brand if they did not receive timely responses.

Here are a few steps to consider on how best to develop a minimal defence on social media when dealing with a crisis:

1. Social Media Monitoring

There are many different software platforms out there but if you do not have a full-time person involved in this process or a person who fully understands how to monitor and what alerts to establish you are far better off to engage the services of a firm that can manage this process for you. The cost of such a monitoring service can run you anywhere from $500+ per month depending on the size of your company. Though software platforms typically cost within this range, the advantage of having an agency manage this for your company is that you don’t carry the additional costs of an employee. At that rate, it makes much more economic sense to outsource.

 

2. Understanding the difference between and issue and a full-blown crisis

Having a clear understanding of the issue is your first step. You should develop a cascade of responses and protocol to ensure that you don’t escalate an issue like an ice cream spill in a retail store to a crisis like a bank robbery in progress.

Make sure the Crisis Communications Team (CCT) has assigned a senior member to be responsible for any communication approvals for rapid response requirements. It is very important that you don’t delay in responding to customer enquiries even if it means providing placeholder responses noting that you’re aware of the issues and you will get back to them promptly. If you have been in these turbulent waters before you understand how quickly a poorly managed issue can soon escalate into a crisis.

 

3. First Responders

Know what the program is once your issue has been detected. Every great crisis management plan has protocols and messaging created in advance. Everyone should know who is on the team and what previously crafted responses are ready to go or need to be quickly modified. Your social media responders have to be empowered with baseline responses and a priority sequence on response levels and messaging. Make sure you have a consistent message that can be adapted across all social media channels.

 

4. Get the message up

Do not waste time pursuing the perfect detailed response. Even if you do not have all the required details, at a bare minimum, you need to inform your audience. Tell them you are aware of the situation and expect to be addressing it more formally within the hour or whatever immediate timeframe possible. This conveys your understanding of the urgency and immediacy of the situation. Also, be sure to display the highest amount of empathy possible. Being abrupt and unsympathetic will only add fuel to the fire.

Make sure your team has a standing ‘if in doubt’ response so that no enquiry goes unanswered. Furthermore, once the correct, informed responses to your issue have been created, make sure your social media manager is able to respond expeditiously, and in the event of uncertainty, that the appropriate level of senior management is available to sign off on the post. Ultimately you will need to post an official response to a situation on your website which will be used by the media, blog writers and others who will be reporting on your issue.

 

5. Pause your scheduled posts

Nothing can be worse than seeing a light-hearted acknowledgement of an unrelated event magically appear during the heat of a crisis. Disable your scheduled posts immediately. Your customer base needs to know that your priority focus is on the issue at hand and nothing else.

 

6. Create a crisis FAQ web page

Having a web page that addresses the most frequent questions around the issue gives you the ability to link to answers more efficiently. Details of the occurrence, contacts at the crisis site, lists of products impacted, geographic regions in question, etc., should all be aggregated in one place that can be easily referenced and shared throughout your social media posts.

 

7. Engage

Once the message is up, make sure you immediately engage with your audience responses. Make sure that you are consistent with your messaging and responding in a polite and caring manner. If you have positive responses, make sure and thank those supporters immediately. There will be individuals that cannot be pleased no matter what the effort and you need to understand this going in.

One tactic you should consider in your response is offering to take the conversation ‘offline’. While you may get a few people accepting this offer, at the very least, you are indicating to the broader audience at large your willingness to address heated and repeated comments directly. Remember, if you are satisfying the majority you have preserved your brand and supporting community.

 

8. Internal Employees

Your employees need to be made immediately alert to any social media crisis response campaign. It is critical that company employees do not randomly respond or engage in conversations on social. This protocol should be addressed in your employee handbook to protect the company/brand from rogue engagement. Make sure that all employees are aware of the situation when it breaks and to refer to the section in their handbook for references regarding proper behaviour. Also, make sure you keep your employees up to date on all developments and conclusions as they are reached.

 

9. Document Everything

Make sure you create a log of engagement. Tweets, status updates, blogs, comments on social media—everything needs to be saved in a central repository for future references. Make sure copies of all your emails are recorded. Also, review your campaign. Understand what worked, did not work and your social media activity as it relates to the time series of the event. Review web site traffic patterns and understand where visitors were engaged. Reviewing what happened will only make your campaign stronger the next time it happens.

 

10. Continue to monitor

One of the most common mistakes to crisis management is thinking it’s over and having it rear its ugly head again four days later. Keep a close eye and adjust your monitoring to key in on higher influencers. As well, make sure you are monitoring key date milestones. In other words, expect that someone will trot out “it was one year ago today…” these are common occurrences, and you need to be prepared.

These are but a few ideas that should help you better prepare. Until your next crisis…
HM

Since its adoption by brands and business, social media has evolved beyond a broadcast platform to a tool that enables you to gather insights about your customers, industry, products and competitors. With the right tools, a social listening strategy can help you earn valuable business intelligence by tracking, analyzing and responding to targeted conversations and keywords.

If you think of the information you can gain from market research, you can implement the same approach to learn from people on social who are already engaging with your brand and your industry. If you approach social media as a giant focus group, ask yourself as a brand, “what problems are you trying to solve, and what data do you need to solve it?”

We can define social listening as the act of monitoring social media platforms for conversation around your brand, clients, competitors, keywords and any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business. The next step is where we find the real value of social listening: analyzing the information for actionable insights. Those actions can enable you to engage customers, determine consumer behaviour models or shift your overall product or brand positioning strategy.

Social listening is different from social media monitoring by looking beyond social metrics like engagement rate, mentions and followers to learning what the feelings are behind the posts—how people actually feel about you, your competitors and the industry overall.

Make it part of your business strategy

Social media listening should automatically be part of your business strategy—even if you’re already engaging in market research studies, social listening will provide you with scores of actionable data from real people who are actively discussing the subjects you’re monitoring. Last month, Mansfield attended a seminar in Toronto from NetBase, a leading social listening platform. Guest speaker Ravi Imam from 113 Industries spoke about “finding David in your data.” Michelangelo’s David was sculpted from a single block of discarded marble, and just as Michelangelo saw something beautiful in an unwanted piece of marble, there could be a masterpiece waiting in your data—it’s just a question of listening to what it’s telling you and taking action.

 

There's a 'David' in your data somewhere

There’s a ‘David’ in your data somewhere

On their blog, Hootsuite has a useful list of what to track when starting your social listening monitors:

  • Your brand name and handles
  • Your product names
  • Industry buzzwords
  • Campaign names or keywords
  • Your competitors’ brand names, product names, and handles

Because your social listening monitors will pick up what people are you saying about you and your competitors, you’ll be able to determine how your brand fits within the industry, relative to customer perspectives. You’ll see the types of content your audiences are most engaged with and higher level insights around customer behaviour.

With a properly implemented social listening strategy, you will gain a deeper understanding of your brand and industry with insights on how to improve in all areas of your business. Sales teams will learn more about how customers really feel about products and services, marketing personnel will see what content is most valuable to audiences and R&D teams will have direct access to real-time customer perspectives on your products those of your competitors.

With the right tools and keywords, you’ll have the infrastructure in place to mold a David of your own. Read through Mansfield’s entire digital offering here and let us know when you’re ready to put social listening to work for your band. 

 

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.

 

pexels-photo-219003

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 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.

April 2017 saw significant (and avoidable) PR crises for two major brands in the span of one week—United Airlines’ violent passenger removal incident and Pepsi’s “protester” ad featuring Kendall Jenner and its ensuing backlash.

With Pepsi, the brand admitted it had “missed the mark” in their internally-created ad where celebrity Kendall Jenner mitigates tensions at a racially-diverse peace demonstration by offering a police officer a can of Pepsi. The ad brought in nearly 1.6 million views on YouTube within 48 hours, earned five times as many downvotes as upvotes, and attracted criticism from people such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter, Bernice King, who took to Twitter to mock the ad.

With the bad press for Pepsi still flowing, United Airlines staked its own claim for the worst PR disaster of the month when news emerged that a paying passenger had been dragged bloodied and screaming off a flight due to an overbooking debacle that other travelers caught on video and quickly uploaded online.

So when bad press emerges about a company, how should brands approach the crisis, how can they mitigate the damage and what can we learn from their mistakes?

Act fast

The faster you react and respond, the greater the chance you have of being able to control the message instead of allowing the media to form their own stories about it. Speed is critical in these situations and by letting the crisis build up before addressing it, you’re inviting unpredictable media consequences instead of maintaining a controlled, manageable new cycle for your company.

Take responsibility

Taking responsibility or ownership of the crises, putting your spokesperson out in public and being approachable about the situation gives you the opportunity to say how you’ll prevent the problem from happening again. By being upfront and owning the message, you obstruct the blame cycle and prevent others from assigning blame. The more effective you are in applying these crisis communications methods the faster you can control the damage.

Have a “holding statement”

Along with the speed with which you address the crisis, having a prepared holding statement that lays out the basic facts regarding the incident while laying out how you are actively dealing with it demonstrates recognition, ownership and professionalism while leaving time to formalize a more thorough response.

Your company’s communications staff should frequently draft and evaluate holding statements for several potential crises situations and revisit them regularly to decide if adjustments are necessary.

Make the apology right

Finally, when making the formal apology on behalf of your brand, try sincerely to express emotion and be empathetic to the experiences of those affected by the situation—and above all—get it right the first time. United’s CEO was widely mocked for using airline jargon in the first apology, expressing regret for needing to “reaccommodate customers”. The next day he attempted a more authentic apology, saying he “deeply apologize[s] to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard.”

When you find yourself addressing a crisis for your company, be up front with your customers and those affected, accept responsibility and be transparent about your course corrections and you will be able to manage the situation much more easily.

Learn more about Mansfield’s in depth experience in Crisis Communications and brand management here.

 

 

7 Tips for Branding on Social Platforms.

Building a company brand  is a marketing strategy that is used to differentiate one business from another. This includes recognizable designs, symbols or icons that make your company stand out in a crowd. Social media can help you build your brand in ways you can’t with traditional advertising.

Social media is becoming so vital to company brand growth, that 71 percent of brands plan to invest more heavily in social media in the coming year to get followers and build brand reputation.

Here are some simple tips to get you thinking about your company’s brand and how you can improve your social relevance. more

 Say goodbye to digital marketing in the dark.

Have you ever had a “great feeling” about a marketing strategy, but aren’t quite sure what the results will look like? Say goodbye to shooting in the dark, and say hello to the world of digital marketing where everything is measurable and accountable.

Digital marketing makes up 52% of overall marketing spending. CMOs expect to spend $228 billion on digital marketing in the US market alone this year. Digital marketing budgets are expected to outgrow TV in 2017. Considering your audience will be obtaining most of their knowledge online about your product offering, you should be creating a digital strategy for this year and next.

What are the basic ingredients of a digital marketing plan? Your plan should have a seamless transition from one media channel to the next- including mobile. Here’s 5 tips you should always think about when measuring your digital marketing success. The following list of simple components should be considered in your plan: more

Don’t be Overwhelmed by Big Data.

Recently I wrote a blog post celebrating the change of our name (A New Direction, 2015) and our company’s new direction into data analytics and digital marketing. In that blog I suggested that science is forevermore linked to marketing and communications. The reality of marketing today is that if you are not generating meaningful, measurable results than you are still working in the past and risk being left behind.

Many Chief Marketing Officers are fearful of changing direction to campaigns that are uniquely different. Many CMOs are also in the prime of their careers and have earned the right to set the strategy for the brand. Some CMOs may be asking themselves: Why change now when so much of what I have implemented in the past is working today? Why risk my legacy in favour of a trending topic?” Or do I even have the skill set or time to learn such a dense subject matter? more

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