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.
On their blog, Hootsuite has a useful list of what to track when starting your social listening monitors:
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to creating images to represent your brand, you want to make sure they are aesthetically pleasing. These images can be used on various platforms, such as YouTube, blog posts, Instagram, Facebook, website pages, videos and even logos. To create images that please the eye there are some basic principles of art that are easy to understand and fundamental to create an attractive image; these include colour, composition and text.
First, use colours that complement each other: the colour wheel.
The simplest way to do this is to use colours at the opposite ends of the wheel (as shown above). These are called complementary colours. For example, yellow is complementary to purple, as green is complementary to red. Another option is to use three colours that are an equal distance from each other, such as red, green and blue, or orange, purple and turquoise.
In the image below, you can see where complementary colours are used. The green and red trees complement each other, the same way that blue complements the orange.
Other tactics you can use are to use all different shades of the same colour such as light blue to dark blue (called analogous) or create a black and white image with a strong accent colour.
Second, use strategic composition: the rule of thirds.
Have you ever seen the grid on Instagram before you upload an image? This is a common practice used by artists and it is called the rule of thirds. It is a grid placed over the image that is made of three horizontal and three vertical lines. The theory behind it is that the subjects of your image should be in a box or on the line. Using this principle makes the image more pleasing to the brain and makes it appear balanced. Notice how in the image they are also using complementary colours- blue and orange.
Third, do not use more than two fonts and make the size legible.
Using one to two fonts will make your text easy to read. Too many fonts will be distracting to your audience.
Keep in mind the destination of the image. If it is a picture going on Instagram where people will be seeing it on a smaller screen, the font should be larger. However, if this is for a poster, the text can be smaller relative to the image. For example, Guinness used smaller font in this image as it was going to be printed large for distribution. They also included only two types of font on their image, incorporated the rule of thirds and complementary colours (although muted, the yellow Guinness symbol complements the purple undertones of the image)
Finally, listen to your gut.
These principles are great tools to creating a pleasing image, but ultimately it must look right to you. Do not be scared to try new things.
Find out more about how we can help with your social media accounts here.
Instagram is growing at a rapid rate. According to Time, in the past four months Instagram reached 700 million active users, which is the photo and video sharing app’s quickest growth spurt to date. Nowadays, it’s rare that a business doesn’t include Instagram in their social media marketing strategy. And there’s a good reason for it. Instagram is one of the best ways to visually promote your business and engage your audience.
A successful account isn’t measured by just the amount of Instagram followers, but rather is measured by the engagement rate. In the age of buying followers and likes, it is still possible to grow your account’s following and engagement rate organically. The best recipe for a high engagement rate is consistently posting aesthetically-pleasing, relevant and creative photos and videos. However, there are certain tricks you should implement into your Instagram strategy that will help you to organically improve your Instagram’s engagement rate.
Follow these four rules to see organic and substantial growth on your Instagram account:
1. Have a full content strategy:
With 700 million active Instagram users, you’ll need to be unique to stand out, and behind every great Instagram is an even better content strategy. Merely posting photos on Instagram does not mean you have a content strategy. The most successful brands have a method to their madness and it’s no secret as to why their social media accounts are so popular. A good Instagram strategy will take planning, research and some experimental posts before you find out what works for your account and audience.
Ask yourself these questions when working on your content strategy:
2. Use quality hashtags
Hashtags are used on every social media platform, but they seem most effective on Instagram. Use the proper hashtags to reach a larger targeted audience than just those already following you. Instagram allows users to post 30 hashtags per post, and a TrackMaven study found that posts with more than 11 hashtags have the highest engagement rates.
What hashtags should I use? The four types of hashtags to include on every post are Instagram’s popular hashtags, local hashtags, related hashtags and branded hashtags. The actual hashtags will differ depending on your content, but there are a few tools, like Hashtagify, that will quickly discover the best ones for your content.
3. Be extra social
It’s not enough to just consistently post quality content on your account. What separates the great accounts from the good accounts is the level of socializing you participate in with your followers. This ranges from just “liking” a follower’s comment on your post to sharing user-generated content. Other than liking and commenting on other accounts’ posts, which you should do often, try out these socializing tips to gain traction:
4. Only post quality, creative photos
Visuals are everything on Instagram so make sure to only post high-quality, crisp images. There’s no need to invest in a professional camera to ensure maximum quality images, as any smartphone camera can do the job. Steer clear of mainly product photos and instead give your audience a look into the culture of your business. Introduce your employees and office, share cool shots of the cities you work in and give some behind-the-scenes looks.
Candid photos will give your audience an inside look at the personality of your brand. Quality over quantity, so make sure to avoid blurry, low-resolution and over-filtered photos and instead share well-lit, tastefully edited and clear focused images.
Learn more about how Mansfield can help improve your Instagram here.
Building a personal brand means optimizing and managing the way that your identity is received online. In this blog post specifically, we will give 12 tips on how to clean up and improve your personal branding using social media. Social media is probably the biggest key to building your brand, since it can be so personalized. more
Branding today isn’t just about having a nice logo, a digital marketing strategy and a variety of social media handles. We’re now in the age of millennials who want meaningful connections, innovative yet community focused brands, relevant and useful information and top-of-the-line product. Simply covering the bases of traditional marketing won’t cut it anymore. Thankfully, a lot of brands out there are creating content and strategies that we can look to and learn from. Here are some top brands who are going beyond the traditional landscape to gain new customers each day. more
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
If you’re anything like me, you looked down at your iPhone or Android phone last week and noticed a strange new app on your screen.
You think to yourself, “wait a minute, I didn’t download a new app.” You tap the box, curious to find out what it is. You quickly realize it’s not a new app at all…it’s Instagram! The social media platform prides itself in creating what they call a minimalistic, more refined and sleek design. Their rainbow gradient coloured flat design app is certainly a big change from the classic logo.
Twitter and Facebook have been blowing up with commentaries on the logo since the update, with trending hashtags #instagramicon and #instagramupdate. The response has been positive from some, but a majority of angry users have taken to Twitter to voice their concern. more
When marketers develop their social media strategies, their focus is typically on a tier-one, revenue-driving campaign. To drive sales however, an emphasis must be placed on the overall brand narrative, as users seek out authentic and timely interactions.
As Gary Vaynerchuck might say, ‘right hooks’ convert traffic to sales, but your social media ROI is dependent on the quality and context of your content1. Timing is everything.
"We believe that technology, like artificial intelligence combined with cloud technology, can be a game changer, helping save more lives, alleviate suffering and restore human dignity...", @Microsoft President Brad Smith ow.ly/8zsf50jmKgP