Over the last decade consulting hundreds of businesses and communications professionals on digital and social media communications – “What are hashtags and how should I use them?” have been two of the most common questions people ask. It has also become clear that many businesses that think they understand hashtags are actually not using them to their full potential. For that reason I put together a short and sweet summary to help you understand hashtags and how to use them to get more customers while engaging your current audience.
Contrary to what some might think, the human brain does not like making logical decisions. Over time we have developed cognitive shortcuts to save mental energy. People use these shortcuts for decision making more than they think and are usually unaware they are even using them. Decision science is the practice of understanding these shortcuts and structuring offers and processes to take advantage of them. The key take-away for me from Nancy Harhunt’s impressive session at SXSW 2015 was that consumers are not always rational and that decision science provides valuable insight into the choices people make.
5 Science based tactics for more persuasive marketing:
1. Offer “social proof”
The actions of others inform what decisions you are comfortable making. You’re more likely to buy something you see someone else buying as you take this as evidence that the value, quality or utility are good. Shopping malls create a social environment that surrounds you with social proof — scores of other people buying in general, and more specifically buying the same brands or products you are considering. Replicating this phenomenon with your online sign-up or e-commerce purchase processes can positively effect conversion rates. Provide plenty of social evidence by including customer testimonials or emphasizing the number of people that have already signed up or bought from you.
In a past post at FLIPP.ca I explained the opportunity of providing “social proof” through using curated crowd sourced product images on your e-commerce pages.
2. Loss aversion
Psychologists have proven that people are more motivated by the desire to avoid loss/pain than by the desire to achieve gain. Pain is twice as psychologically powerful as pleasure. The most effective marketing messages often emphasize the downside of life without a product or service, rather than emphasizing the benefits of life with them. Consider showing the other side of the coin in your campaigns. The miserable, empty, new jean free side of the coin 🙂
3. Emphasize the new and novel
For survival, humans have evolved to detect novelty and change. What is different about the immediate situation that could be a threat? Even though all the saber-toothed tigers are gone decision science shows we are still primed to dedicate attention to the novel.
Eye-tracking tests confirm that we’re automatically drawn to words that suggest a change like: “new,” “now,” “announcing,” “introducing,” “discover,” “finally,” and “soon.” You can significantly improve your click-through and open rates by using these words whenever reasonable.
4. Keep it simple
“Cognitive fluency” is the notion that people prefer things that are easy to understand and judge them to be more accurate. When you want people to feel comfortable making decisions, remove the cognitive clutter. Keep marketing messages and creative concepts single focused. Communicate one thing then give a clear and complimentary call to action.
5. Commitment consistency
A common mental short cut is to keep doing what you are/have been doing. Once you’ve said yes to something once, even a small request, you are more likely to continue to act in a way that is consistent with that commitment. This phenomenon is the basis for the foot in the door sales technique where an initial simple ask like signing up for a newsletter or accepting a free trial can get a prospect moving down the path to becoming a customer. Try it.
This is one of five posts which were also published at FLIPP.ca on the some of the top insights I gleaned from SXSW 2015. More to come tomorrow. Read the rest at here.
Follow me on Twitter @trevorjurgens to be notified when new posts come out.
Once upon a time before Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards your website was likely the beginning and end of your online marketing. But these days you may focus more on your Facebook timeline than your landing page. What if you could put all the social activity you’ve worked so hard to stimulate to good use, improving the effectiveness and profitability of your website?
As social media publishing matures, and the tools evolve along with it, smart marketers are integrating social content into their web experience to engage visitors and drive sales. Way more (and better) than a feed of the latest tweets, social content is being included in-line as part of the overall content mix. User generated images, tweets and videos are being automatically pulled from Instagram, Twitter and other networks to be displayed on home, community and product pages. Traditional assets like product shots are being replaced by their user generated cousins.
What’s in it for you?
Social/User generated content ticks many of the boxes for what makes web content effective in general, with the added benefit of being created by your most passionate brand evangelists. User generated content can be a great addition to your website because it’s:
Sticky and Novel: We’ve all had our inner voyeur pull us down a social media rabbit hole. Social content keeps people looking longer. And the promise of something new with each visit gets people coming back more frequently.
Timely and Adaptive: Social content captures your products in the season, style or meme of the minute. Rainy days bring pictures of rubber boots and sandals fill the feed when it’s sunny.
Compelling for Selling: What is more convincing, a stock product shot or an authentic pic of your product in action? Social content means social proof. According to HubSpot, more than 8 in 10 Gen Yers say social content from people they don’t know influences the way they buy and indicates brand quality.
Social content can even be “productized” for “social selling”, linking directly to e-commerce pages. Leading retailers like Urban Outfitters are using Curalate to create and manage shoppable community driven catalogues around #UOONYOU. Imagine making your most passionate customers your best sales people.
Abundant and Economical: Producing quality content takes time and resources. A steady stream of new free content is out there to compliment your in-house efforts, you just have to funnel and manage it. Promote a hashtag as part of your overall brand strategy, set up your filters and watch the content flow in.
Cooperative and Inclusive: Your marketing team can’t be everywhere at once but your customers, ambassadors and staff can. Empower them with a hashtag and let the people living with your product every day have a starring role in your brand story, wherever they are. You’d be surprised, Steve in accounting makes great Vine videos.
Things to Consider
When done properly integrating social content on your site can deliver big benefits. Consider the following to make sure it clicks and gets people clicking.
Presentation: First thing, is your overall site experience set to impress? Next, is your social content integration on point? Simply “plugging in” your social content can distract rather than delight. A widget with tiny Instagram thumbnails can do more harm than good. Invest in web development that accentuates the social content in a way that feels like it belongs. Rockefeller Center has used #topoftherock content in a way that leaves an impression that’s more about their brand than Instagrams’.
Moderation: Don’t let the unfettered firehouse of social content loose on your webpage. The results can range from embarrassing to disastrous. Use a system that lets you quickly and reliably handpick the best bits and filter the rest.
Speed: Make sure the task of curating and sharing content does not become another “to do” that never becomes a “done”. Help yourself succeed. Don’t try to publish manually, use tools that let you moderate and publish fast. I’ve personally found TradableBits’ “Stream” to be a great tool for the job. Publishing can’t be instantaneous, find the pace that’s reasonable for you and your community.
Location: Can you use social content beyond online? Live events and retail locations are the perfect place to showcase your brand and fans via curated social content. Why not make your community part of the atmosphere and animate your spaces with their photos? TEDx Portland used Postano and guest generated content to colour the auditorium for their 2014 conference.
How are you using social content on your website? Well, poorly, not at all? Is it distracting or compelling? Are you capitalizing on all the social activity around your brand? Why not? We’d love to hear your comments. Tweet me @trevorjurgens.
Since I have been using both my iPhone/Instagram and my DSLR while working for different organizations over the last few months I wanted to bring a bunch of my favourite pictures together in one place. Events featured include: the 2011 Vancouver Grey Cup Festival and Game, 2011 The Calgary Stampede, 2011 Women’s World Cup qualifying in Vancouver, various events at Canada Place as well as my personal life. I hope you enjoy them. Spot yourself in the action? Have feedback or advice? Leave a comment.
The opportunity is rife for social media agencies to leverage blogging and walk the talk. Potential clients are proactively seeking out answers in the rapidly changing realm of social media and what better way to demonstrate your expertise and the value you provide than by playing Gordon Ramsay to their Kitchen Nightmare (with fewer expletives).
A corporate blog is a great place to answer questions for potential customers and start a relationship. There is nothing better than a free trial to get customers to act and that is possible through a blog. Think of it as a buffet of your best ideas that potential clients can test out and develop a taste for. This is not an all you can eat Smörgåsbord but a way to show you know your flan from your crème brûlée.*
On this site I offer a “one good idea guarantee” to anyone who wants to let me know their industry and social media or marketing challenge. This lets me demonstrate how I can help them with their digital strategy and I encourage other marketing professionals to do the same. Running a business? Fire away!
* Special Note: This sentence sets the new record on this blog for “most foreign accents used” at 5. And use of asterisks at 1.
As part of my semi-regular series “Show Don’t Tell” let’s take a look at http://www.facebook.com/6smarketing to see how these Vancouver Social Media leaders are using the medium.
Welcome Tab and User Experience
I noticed right away that 6s wisely lands visitors on a Welcome tab that:
– introduces the page
– delivers a promotional message
– encourages visitors to participate
– has a call to action and link to a contact form.
I agree with this strategy. Many companies land visitors on their wall where they may see a more timely post as their first impression but there is no opportunity to give them a clear and consistent initial experience. Perhaps realizing that many people are using Facebook as a directory to find and contact companies in the same way as a corporate webpage, they have prioritized making it easy for visitors to understand them and make contact over entertaining and informing. If visitors are looking for a more general impression, they can easily click to the Wall.
They say the medium is the message, as an added bonus the very fact that 6s doesn’t default to the wall post communicates to prospective customers that they have FBML skills and are conscious of strategy on Facebook.
Intrigingly, when I visited the 6s page for the first time they had exactly “666” fans. 6’s are prominent in the company folklore and I was so curious to see if they had figured out a Facebook hack to keep the number at “666” that I “liked them just to see if I could push it to 667. Did it work? Do their numbers roll? Visit the page to see…
Rockmelt Beta made its way into the market over the last few weeks and social was the name of the game; access was only granted through Facebook invites that made the rounds via influencers over time. The alliance with Facebook is strong, a Facebook login is required as is granting full access to your profile. Keep this in mind as it plays a role in both the positive and negative opinions on the browser.
In order to gauge the response to Rockmelt over multiple social media channels I used HowSociable.com (HS) which according to the creators (inuda.com) “… provides a simple way for you to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social web.”
Mario Canseco, Vice President, Communications & Media Relations
+1 877 730 3570
Vision Critical Launches New Site Focusing on Global Partnerships
- The new Vision Critical Technologies website (www.visioncriticaltechnologies.com) enables interested parties to become engaged in the modern way of conducting market research by licensing out Sparq™.
- Vision Critical Technologies appeals to potential partners who are looking for more information about online panels, technology, or expertise in managing online panels.
- Sparq™ is the most adopted community panel technology in the world
- Sparq™ allows companies to leverage internet and social media technologies to conduct product testing and market research at a fraction of the cost of traditional market research.
My aim is that if this blog were a person, you would want to sit beside them on a long-distance flight because they’re friendly, funny, share the good section of the newspaper and know when to shut up. Life can be too serious. People are busy and if they are going to take the time to read, I need to at worst give them something to grin about and at best give them a new perspective, while grinning.
I write about communications, advertising, sports, food and media. So do a lot of other people. So, my words need to stand out from the herd like pink pandas. Friendly pink pandas you want to take home to be your pets. Communicating in a way that makes people take notice and then take action is my product and if I can’t do it for myself, how can I suggest I’ll do it for clients?
Plus, like attracts like and I want to work with fun companies, companies that are serious about not taking themselves too seriously. Companies like Threadless.com.
Threadless’ fun loving and informal culture comes through in their social media campaigns. They even almost make myspace seem cool http://www.myspace.com/threadlessdotcom.
Threadless is brief in their social media communications. They talk about the important things, like cool t-shirts and food. For a week all they really used Twitter for was to get street food trucks to set-up in front of their office so they could dine.
Even when they are mad, Threadless is friendly. And smart about spreading the brand love. When one of their contributor’s designs was “appropriated” by a visual artist for a gallery show, they took effective action and blended it with a good dose of humour. Via a flash-mob they staged a silent protest. Most wore t-shirts featuring the stolen design, bar one who wore a full-size panda costume. They snapped some great pics and made sure to get them up in their flickr account. Of course the activation got mentioned in many other blogs because people don’t like cheaters and they love pandas.
Hopefully Threadless doesn’t forget their persona and their community as they continue to grow. Of late on Facebook they seem less neighbourly. Listening less and taking a longer time to respond to customer comments on the wall, sometimes not at all. They are becoming somewhat one-sided in the conversation, pushing recent promotions and products is becoming a bigger portion of their Twitter pie (where once meat-pies served from trucks were the order of the day). Their community is following suit, most posts are just plugs for individual designs trying to score enough votes to get printed. And last time I checked that type of banter is rarely grin inducing.