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March 2016

Viewing posts from March , 2016

Increase Brand Loyalty Through Earned Media Influencer Marketing

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Despite seismic shifts in the landscape of advertising over the last century, the goal has remained unchanged since the beginnings of commerce: get people to talk. Yes, for all the fancy, flash-in-the-pan marketing strategies in existence, nothing beats good ol’ word of mouth. And that’s what influencer marketing is: priming a target audience to speak enthusiastically about a product or service. Here’s what brands need to know right now about a trend that is only ascending.  

 

The future is wide open

 

In 2016 few advertising tactics are as effective as influencer marketing. According to a statistics from Burst Media, influencer campaigns are earning almost $7 for every $1 they spend. So if money is changing hands, how is this not negatively impacting brand perception or the credibility of the influencer? It’s because successful marketers and opinion leaders have found a way to turn paid media into earned media.

 

YouTube is much more than a repository for funny cat videos. Influencers have found their home on YouTube, and they’re racking up subscribers by the millions. These stars of new media have become such a force in marketing that Ogilvy & Mather have put out a list of the top influencers on YouTube. These are often regular people who have created channels that cover everything from health & fitness to sports and gaming. In a way, you could say that the diversity of these YouTube influencers makes sense, since they represent the demographics that they’re talking to. And speaking of audiences…

 

It’s an efficient way to reach a target audience

 

You could draw a direct line from the rise of influencer marketing and earned media to the coming into their own of the Millennial generation. This group is defined as those born after 1980, and they represent hundreds of billions in annual buying power. To tap into this robust market requires a conduit. Magazine ads and billboards are relics of the Mad Men era; the hard sell turns Millennials off. They value authenticity above all else, which is why they turn to social media to see the products their peers are buying and sharing. Influencers have tapped this vein, thus becoming the conduit to which the new generation receives their marketing messages. Align yourself with the right influencer speaking to the right audience, and loyalty will follow.

 

To pay or not to pay

 

That is the question. The conundrum has to do with the fact that much of earned media is actually paid media. And many marketers are all too happy to promote this canard. Even so, the lines can easily be blurred because each influencer is different. Some, like Felix Kjellberg, whose gaming site Pew DiePie channel boasts some 42 million subscribers, are content to receive free products they can sample and review. Others, like Kelli and Daniel Segars of the YouTube hit Fitness Blender operate under the philosophy that their work is their livelihood, and they utilize the exposure the platform provides to launch their own commercial endeavors. The trick is navigating the ethics that varies from influencer to influencer and thought leader to thought leader. To go from paid media to earned media is to first and foremost ensure that the partnership doesn’t lessen the credibility of the influencer. Such tactics are transparent to today’s highly engaged consumers. Brands need to ensure that their product or service fits in the wheelhouse of the opinion leader.
These facts on the ground should act as a springboard for every marketers looking to round out his or her social-media strategy. Influencer marketing should be a major component (if not the component) of this endeavor, because doing it successfully is all but guaranteed to increase ROI and brand loyalty.

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Three Ways to Get Your Product Reviewed on Amazon Right Now

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With as much noise as Amazon.com likes to make whenever it launches something new, the addition of Video Shorts to its website in 2014 was conspicuously subdued. Essentially the section was created to be a repository for short video content in the same vein as YouTube. However, the interesting thing is that Video Shorts isn’t trying to go head to head with the YouTube juggernaut—it’s acting as a promotional tool for Amazon’s retail department. Why brands should take note is because Amazon’s smaller library of videos means less competition for views, so video content producers can disseminate a targeted message as widely as possible.

But, as with anything regarding video marketing, the name of the game is getting eyeballs on the content—and more importantly, racking up those video reviews. Here’s how brands and marketers can get more reviews for their product clips on Video Shorts.

Seek and accumulate

Some companies like to take a shortcut and post fake reviews to pad their Amazon account with glowing feedback. This is a big no-no. Today’s consumers value authenticity above all else. The good news is that brands don’t have to search high and low for authentic reviewers. All that’s required is for companies to visit their own product page on Amazon and search for the “Customers who viewed this item also viewed…” tab. Next, look at the reviews for competing products and aggregate these reviewers in a spreadsheet (Google Docs works well for this). Then comes the hard labor of contacting each reviewer one by one and telling them there is a short video they might enjoy watching that features a product they have a proven interest in. Kindly request the viewer to leave a review if he or she is intrigued by the product video.

Those who don’t already have a product page on Amazon should get one ASAP. The beauty of Amazon Video Shorts lies in the potential to reach the consumer at the zero moment of truth—there is a link directly to the product on the right side of the video.

Reach for the top

While it’s certainly ideal to have a robust accumulation of reviews from enthusiastic, everyday Joes and Janes, it’s the “Top Reviewers” who are the real big fish. These are the semi-pro Amazon reviewers who have espoused enough opinions that they’ve earned a place at on the website’s “top customer reviewer” list. This carries a lot of weight in the online commerce community.

The method of seeking out Top Reviewers may be slightly different than finding those who’ve reviewed similar products—but it’s just as simple. Those who go to Amazon’s Top Reviewers page and drag the cursor over individual reviewers will find that their most-used tags appear. It’s up to the brand to find those reviewers with tags relevant to their particular product and note them in the spreadsheet. Sometimes the reviewer’s email is listed in their profile, and if this is the case then it’s time to shoot them a message. Always be polite and deferential in the quest to persuade folks to leave a review of a product.

And remember, the more the merrier, so keep adding names to that spreadsheet. Video marketers the world over will all say that having 100 4-star reviews is always better than 10 4.5-star reviews.

Leverage social media, newsletters and email

It’s also vital to utilize consumer data already at hand to drive people to Amazon Video Shorts. Anyone looking to get more reviews should have a call to action at the end of each one of their social media platforms, newsletters and email blast campaigns. These prompts should, among other things, link to the Video Shorts page and encourage satisfied customers to leave a review of the video. For brands who already have a healthy following on social media of satisfied customers and interested fans, it won’t take very much to leverage some of that goodwill in the form of a review.
One final lesson to be learned is that it’s unwise to look for an alternative to YouTube. Google’s clip site will be the big dog in town for the foreseeable future. What’s crucial is for brands to diversify video-marketing outlets, such as by utilizing Amazon Video Clips in conjunction with YouTube. Doing so will widen the audience across multiple platforms and ultimately drive more sales

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5 Reasons YouTube Trumps Facebook in Digital Marketing

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On paper it shouldn’t even be a contest. In 2007, when Facebook reached 100 million users, a new and relatively obscure video clip site called YouTube was just starting to experiment with pre-roll ads. In 2012, when Facebook boasted 618 billion daily visitors, YouTube was only just beginning to evolve from clip site to social-media platform and search engine. And in 2013, while Facebook took in a staggering $1.8 billion in ad revenue with the help of mobile ads, YouTube was still trying to decide if it was TV or Internet.

 

So what changed? Why are advertisers now focusing on branded digital-video content the same way they went after Facebook “likes” in 2011? Because YouTube achieved the one thing that is out of the control of every innovator, analyst, consultant and brain trust in the world—it became a cultural phenomenon. Does that mean it has now surpassed Facebook as the go-to platform for marketing dollars? Here are five arguments that say this is the case.

 

YouTube’s power is in the hands of the user, not an algorithm

 

YouTube has become the second-largest search engine in the world because it gives people the power to find the videos they want when they want. This is opposed to Facebook, which uses algorithms to determine what a user might like and then displays something similar on their feed. There are those bloggers who claim that neither YouTube nor Facebook has the edge in how videos are viewed—that there’s room for both search and curated videos. But this writer says that he’s almost never seen a curated video pop up in his FB feed that he’s wanted to see. And until Facebook can actually read people’s minds—instead of using algorithms to attempt the feat—that will remain the case. Marketers would do well to put their dollars in branded content people willfully engage with.  

 

YouTube viewers stay longer

 

That’s right. As a whole, YouTube viewers have longer attention spans than Facebook users. Part of this has to do with the nature of both platforms and how visitors engage with them. Whereas Facebook users tend to watch a video clip for between 20-40 seconds, the typical length of a YouTube video is around three minutes. That means those that visit YouTube do so automatically primed to experience longer content. Marketing pros say that brands can and should take advantage of this extra time to develop more in-depth content that reaches a wider audience.

 

Mobile favors YouTube as well

 

One area where Facebook still holds sway is mobile devices. After all, everyone’s always checking their FB feed on their smartphone. But this overlooks a staggering trend among YouTube visitors—that one billion of them watch videos on their mobile devices every day. Not only that, the typical YouTube session viewed on a smartphone or tablet lasts around 40 minutes. That means while today’s generation is constantly on the go, they somehow manage to take the time to watch the equivalent of an hour-long network TV show on their handheld. Hardly an inconsequential stat. Moreover, this audience is the target demo marketers crave. According to statistics, YouTube’s mobile app reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable channel.

 

YouTube is search

 

As mentioned above, YouTube evolved from clip site to social media platform and then ultimately to search engine. In fact, it is now the second-largest search engine in the world. That’s a lot for Facebook to compete with, since they fundamentally do not operate in the way Google operates. For marketers, this means greater power of optimization through YouTube and this will only increase over time.

 

YouTube has the views


To bastardize Bill Clinton’s old line, it’s the views, stupid. And YouTube’s got ‘em. By 2015 YouTube had achieved a whopping 40 billion views of branded content. Oh, and 18 billion of those views occurred in 2014 alone. This has led to certain brands, such as GoPro, successfully turning their business operation into a media juggernaut.  
The intent of this piece isn’t to suggest that Facebook is now irrelevant. Indeed, they are already putting up a robust fight against YouTube in the battle for digital-video supremacy. Now users who find that perfect Facebook video can upload it to their blog without including the supporting FB post. Also, folks can sync comments from publisher’s posts to their page and vice versa. But is this enough to stop the meteoric ascension of YouTube and its quest to deliver digital-video content to an audience voracious for imagery? Only time will tell.

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