social media

  • Dark Social: What It Is and How To Deal With It

    The Dark Ages, the dark side of the moon, fear of the dark… What do all of these references to the dark have in common? Ignorance, or the unknown. And that’s exactly what dark social is all about. Dark social refers to the ubiquitous practice of sharing content privately; that is, not sharing something openly via social media, where shares can be tracked by companies, but instead, cutting and pasting links or even whole blog posts into emails to send them to friends. This creates a dark spot for businesses and marketers trying to keep tabs on where their web traffic is coming from, and which content is encouraging engagement. And this dark spot is significant. According to a June 2016 report from RadiumOne, 82 percent of content shared on mobile is shared through dark social – via messaging apps, email, or text. That’s up from less than 50 percent in 2014. And although we’re all very familiar with Facebook’s “share” button, it turns out we don’t use it as often as we might think. Just 13 percent of content on mobile is shared via Facebook, and 10 percent on all other social networks. Worst of all, sometimes, in all…

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  • 10 Ways to Amplify Your Brand Reach with Live Streaming

    With the entrance of Facebook into the live streaming space with Facebook Live, live streaming has suddenly become mainstream. Despite the fact that live streaming has been available for years from tools like Periscope, UStream, and Livestream, many brands weren’t taking advantage of the power of live streaming – even if they’d already fully adopted the use of video. Now that’s beginning to change. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are seeing the power of live streaming: more views, higher engagement, and most of all, higher quality engagement. Whether you’ve been live streaming for years or you’re a total newbie to the game, there are lots of ways you can amplify your brand reach using this excellent tool. 1. Just do it. With all due respect to Nike, in this case we’re not talking about running a marathon or any other feat of athleticism. Similar to adding video to your marketing strategy, the great thing about live streaming is that you’ll increase your brand reach simply by doing it – as long as you take into account certain considerations. According to Facebook numbers from earlier this year, Facebook users spend 3 times longer watching live video than pre-recorded video. This bears…

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  • The Ultimate Guide to Digital Marketing for Product-Based Businesses

    In the olden days of marketing – like, 20 years ago – designing a marketing plan for your product-based business was pretty straightforward. Mostly, you had to show how much better your product was than its competitors. That could mean running a taste test with random consumers and then telling people about it. It could mean paying a celebrity to wear your product to a major event. It could even mean just spending tons of money on commercials in which an actor looked really happy eating/using/looking at your amazing product. That is somewhat of a simplification, sure, but in general, that was the idea behind product-based marketing before the digital age. Today, things are different. Consumers are way more savvy. They can price-shop for products just like yours across the entire internet, which basically means the entire planet. They’re wary of the hard sell, and want to feel in control of the purchasing process. On the marketer’s side, the channels through which you can reach consumers have exploded. It’s not just TV, radio, and print anymore. You have mobile ads, browser ads, mobile apps, email, social media, live chat, text alerts…you get the idea. When you add in the fact…

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  • 6 Critical Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

    A strong business relationship, like a strong marriage, requires a lot of give and take. Your agency needs to have the knowledge, expertise, and moxie to give you the strong digital presence that businesses need to succeed. They have to stay on top of the latest developments in digital marketing, and be ready to try new strategies when the old ones don’t work. As a client, you need to communicate your needs openly and clearly. You need to be responsive with feedback. You have to trust your agency enough to let them seek out opportunities to build your brand, and when they do, be able to let them know what you think. Of course, just as in marriage, there’s also an undefinable element that can make a business relationship not just good, but great. It’s a sense of fit, of “clicking” – of knowing that you and your agency won’t have trouble staying on the same page. This isn’t something you can find out from an agency website. When you’re thinking of hiring a digital marketing agency, you’ve got to start by asking them the right questions. In addition to asking about things like their client base, history of success,…

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  • 21 Common Questions About Social Media Marketing Answered

    Here at Marketing Zen, we often get questions from businesses about online marketing, and we do our utmost to answer every one. But it occurred to us recently that it might be helpful for us to put together a little blog series answering some of the most common questions we get related to web marketing. Today’s installment? The 21 most common social media marketing questions we receive, answered just for you! 1. Can social media marketing really help my business? Most definitely! It’s been proven again and again by business after business. In fact, 73% of businesses surveyed by Constant Contact in 2011 had already started using social media marketing with measurable results.  Not utilizing social media marketing can actually harm your business, since having an online presence on social media is simply expected of any reputable firm these days. 2. What are the benefits of social media marketing for my company? Whether your business is taking advantage of it or not, social media has forever changed the way that consumers communicate with businesses, and vice versa. Being accessible to your customers – and your prospective clients – via social media is a vital means of developing relationships with them…

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  • Social Media Optimization – 10 Important Factors for 2016

      From years of executing SEO and SEM campaigns, I am now more than ever seeing the parallels of  social media and SEO/SEM as well as how they all work together. Ten years ago, business owners thought their only option to improve their SEO was stuffing their meta tags and submitting their site to 1,000 search engines. Similar to SEO and SEM, business owners now realize it’s not enough to just plug the social media hole because they read in some business magazine it was needed. A new phrase has joined the lexicon of business buzz words, and rightfully so, showing a more sophisticated marketer: Social Media Optimization. You should not have a social media campaign for your business just because everyone else is doing. CEOs, marketers, entrepreneurs are now seeking solutions to optimizing their social media marketing campaigns. What do I mean by Social Media Optimization? I’m not Shama. I didn’t write the book on social media and I’m not a social media speaker. My name is Angela and although I have been blogging since 2001 and have been learning online marketing since 2005, my main area of expertise is SEM/SEO.  The reason I say this is I don’t…

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  • Shama TV: 3 Secrets to Perfecting Your Personal Brand

    Think you don’t have a personal brand? Think again. This week, Shama discusses three key steps to taking charge of your personal brand. Scroll down for a transcript! Hey Zen Nation, Shama here. In this episode we talk about branding. Do you ever think about yourself as a brand? Well news flash, whether you think of yourself as a brand or not, you are one. We all have a brand, whether you like it or not. In fact, AVG did a study a few years ago and found that 92% of kids under the age of two have some sort of digital footprint already. What does that mean? A digital footprint simply means I can find information about you – a “footprint” – and here’s the kicker. You don’t have to actually have contributed to having a footprint. It might be friends who put up pictures, or family members. Now there’s a whole trend of parents putting up sonogram pictures, so a child has a footprint even before they are born. Interesting times we’re living in! Now that we all have a brand by default, the only question that we get to answer is: do we want to cultivate that brand,…

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  • Shama TV: Is Social Media Fake?

    Another week, another Shama TV post! This week, Shama discusses the recent controversy of Australian Instagram model Essena O’Neil, who’s come out strongly against social media after amassing more than half a million followers on Instagram and almost 300,000 on YouTube. Watch the video to hear Shama’s take on what can be learned from O’Neill’s high-profile turnaround. For a transcript, scroll on down. Full Transcript: Hey Zen Nation, Shama here. Today we answer an age-old question: “Is social media fake?” Recently, an 18-year-old Australian Instagram model named Essena O’Neil has sparked quite a controversy around social media. She has come out with a very strong stance against social media claiming that a lot of her pictures were contrived and she wasn’t really happy when she was actually positioning herself as positive and happy and gleeful. She’s gone back actually to a lot of her Instagram pictures and re-captioned them with what she considers “the honest truth.” So, for example, she talks about taking hundreds of pictures just to get it right and going without meals just to look good for a picture. She has really come out swinging against social media and getting people to realize that a lot of what’s…

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  • 4 Ways that BuzzSumo Improves Your Digital Marketing Efforts

    As digital marketers, we are constantly trying to keep up with all the things technology is making available to us. Thanks to many different applications and software, we’re able to increase our marketing efforts when strategizing for a client. One tool we’re really loving here at Marketing Zen is BuzzSumo. Whether your focus is social media, content, search engine optimization, or outreach, there is a ton of data and metrics you can get from the site to incorporate into your marketing strategies. Today we’re going to show you 4 of the ways that BuzzSumo can make your marketing team better.

  • The 5 Best Social Media Tools to Free Up 2 Hours a Day

    Here at Marketing Zen, we are fortunate enough to be a virtual team. This means more or less that we all work from home, workspaces, cafes, or anywhere with Wi-Fi—and we love it. However, when you work from a remote location and don’t commute to an office, time tends to get away from you and you end up working long days (not on purpose). Our eyes are always peeled for new tools and apps to help us work more efficiently and of course, free up some time. Recently I did an interview with Media Shower where I shared some of my best advice on creating strategies that result in high engagement and ROI. These tools below won’t only help increase your engagement, but improve the quality of engagement, and your overall day-to-day efficiency. Buffer Buffer is a content scheduling and publishing app. Here at Marketing Zen, we favor Buffer when it comes to managing our personal LinkedIn presence. The tool is helping us grow our footprint on the B2B channel and draw more attention to our content, whether it’s Marketing Zen blog posts, trending articles, or current events in the marketing world. While most applications which allow you to schedule…

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  • Creating Loyal Customers Via Social Media In 2015

    Or: A man and his chicken, and why they’ll change how you think of promotion Today we are honored to bring you a guest post written by Peter Shankman. Peter is a marketing and customer service futurist, whose latest book, “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans,” comes out January 27th. Imagine a scenario, if you will. You run a restaurant in Seattle. You serve chicken. All kinds. Fried. Breaded. Boiled. Souped. You name it. One morning, a potential customer, let’s call him “Joe,” leaves his apartment in Manhattan on a business trip to Seattle. Joe loves chicken. All types of chicken. If it clucks, Joe wants to eat it. Now – In the past, perhaps you’d advertise to get Joe to your restaurant. But how, specifically? I mean, Joe lives in NYC, and it’s not your target market. Which is a shame, really, since Joe really loves Chicken, and happens to be in charge of finding a restaurant for his 20-person meeting in Seattle, the one for which he’s flying out today. Let’s now take a different tack on this story. Joe has obviously made his love for chicken known in the past. He’s told friends about his best…

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  • The AntiSocial CEO: What’s At Stake

    It’s no secret that more than a few CEOs are at best wary of social media. Dismissed as a fad or a marketing platform with low ROI, senior corporate management in many companies consider social media to be an exclusive concern of marketers. Because they misunderstand social media. There are those who are out of step with the technological changes that are producing a new way of doing business. And the disjunction exists not only in regard to CEOs’ being active on social media, but to their view of the utility of social media itself. They risk becoming the dodos of the digital business world. Successful leaders will no longer be measured just by stock price. Managing and communicating with shareholders, employees, government, community, customers will be table stakes in the future. They are talking about your business anyway. Why not be included in the conversation?[1] Old Habits Die Hard “Social media is an on-line marketing tool that allows marketers to build enthusiasm about products and services and then convert this enthusiasm into direct sales.” To many corporate executives, that definition of social media is set in stone. Social media is something you do at potential consumers that will make…

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