10 Simple ways to keep your social media channels engaging

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Social media marketing is gaining popularity rapidly as the most important tool for digital marketing. It has emerged as an essential platform of online marketing for businesses especially for startups, SMEs in today’s digitalized business environment. So startup and SMEs need to have a strong and result-oriented social media and content marketing strategy. The social media content plays a vital role in formulating an effective social media strategy. In the absence of the right content ideas, it fails to provide the desired results. The right strategy can enhance brand awareness, customer acquisition, sales.

To cope up with the growing demand of customers or end-users of using social media platforms, small businesses and startups are required to formulate innovative, interesting, informative and value-added social media content ideas to engage with their audience consistently. The strength of content determines the effectiveness of social media marketing tactics.

So the need of the hour is to decide on what type of content should be there to engage the audience that is cost-effective, easy and can bring results as well. Below mentioned different easy and simple content ideas can facilitate startup, SMEs to maintain their social media channels engaged with their audience:

1. Social and Occasional Contest:

Posting Contests on social media platforms are one of the most effective content ideas to engage the audience and increase the customer base. This is a proven content marketing way that stimulates the interest of the audience in the products/ services of businesses. Contests generate more likes and comments from the audience than any other medium. Moreover, these are considered as a more powerful social media marketing strategy for launching new products.

A social, occasional competition can be organized on different social media channels in the form of a contest and comments, tagging friends that can be initiated from followers. For more effective results, prizes for winners can also be part of the same. These prizes can be in the form of gift vouchers or free of cost products of a business. These contests can consist of different activities for participants like tagging friends, to share a post, to tweet with a hashtag, etc.

For example, there was a big gateway or contest launched by Domino’s Pizza for its audience on the Instagram social media channel for superfans. $10000 cash prize was offered to the winner. Around 1000 entries of contestants were generated by the contest and they posted photos in proof of the reason they are superfans by using a hashtag i.e. #PieceofthePieContest.

Domino’s Pizza – #PieceofthePieContest

Domino’s Pizza Instagram

2. Suggestions and Question-answers:

Providing the audience a platform to ask queries or share their suggestions, ideas is another effective way of social media marketing to engage them. Answering the questions or queries of customers on a daily basis and also asking different questions create huge web traffic of the audience. Questions on social media channels inspired businesses for innovative content ideas and topics of interest to the audience.

To have a more engaged audience, questions can be in the form of polls as well. For example, McDonald’s used below poll related to product feedback to know what their most popular orders are:

3. Customer Testimonials:

The next important way of effective social media engagement is posting customer testimonials which are basically recommendations of products or services of a business by its customers. These are a wonderful tool to initiate a great interest in potential customers and also the existing ones in business offerings. It also helps in increasing brand reputation as customers express their trust in the brand’s offerings through testimonials in written or recorded audio/ video form. By collecting and posting different testimonials, customer stories, reviews or videos related to their experience and benefits of product/ service, a brand can enhance brand value and convert the audience into customers.

Moreover, short video testimonials of customers and live testimonials in different events can be more productive content ideas.

4. Behind the scenes:

Another valuable social media marketing idea is posting videos and images of behind-the-scenes of a business. This is one of the effective content ideas for startups and SMEs to engage their audience. By showing the hard work of employees and the workplace in the form of content, a brand can build a strong bond with customers. Different types of behind the scene contents give a lucrative advantage to businesses in customer engagement. For example:

  • Team building content is there to show teamwork of a team to customers.
  • To show the progress of a business, progress content helps in understanding the growth of the company.
  • Different fun type contents create a positive and emotional impact on customers.
  • Similarly, personal content shows that business is connected with customers.

For example, Mcdonalds celebrated the Dewali festival including different fun activities in its Ronald Mcdonalds charity house, Malaysia with NGO partners and RMH families. This shows the culture of the brand.

5. Industry fun facts:

Sharing random fun-related facts of a particular industry related to a brand is also an engaging content idea to engage social media channels with the audience.

The below post by Huskey Coffee shared on Twitter social media consists of fun fact of the discovery of coffee:

Husky Coffee‏ @huskycoffeewa Sep 29

More

Did you know?

Coffee was originally chewed. Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi first discovered the effects of coffee when he noticed that his goats began to “dance” after ingesting coffee berries.

6. Before and after:

One can find different transformed images or videos on social media of weight loss i.e. before and after photo. Similarly, sharing personal or business-related transformation content is also an important tool in engaging social media customers. Sharing can be before and after images of a brand’s website designing or improved branding, or any personal stuff as well.

7. Curate and share Content of others or third-party:

Sharing the contents of other people by adding value through content curation is also an effective way to increase more audience engagement. The third party’s relevant and innovative content promotion or sharing facilitates businesses in value-addition to their followers and also it shows that the business follows the latest trends and news of their industry.

8. Sharing statistics:

Social media marketing or content marketingcan be more effective by sharing content having interesting statistics or numbers as these are easily sharable on social media channels of businesses. Both types of posts i.e. text and image along with statistics can be beneficial in increasing more customer reach.

For example, Zomato has shown its business insights with Eat-O-Meter statistics:

9. Sharing an event summary:

Sharing a summary of different events organized or attended by a brand is also a great content ideafor engaging social media channels. It makes an impact on the audience by sharing through photos, videos, stories, keynotes of the speech given by guest speakers, etc. In fact, the upcoming events can also be highlighted in this.

10. Infographics sharing:

It’s a fact that the human mind reacts faster to visual information or communication. So sharing infographics, which are a type of content marketingallows businesses to represent complicated or detailed data into a visually appealing form for enhancing audience engagement. As per statistics published by the social media examiner of 2018, it is found that 80% of digital marketers are using visual images content in social media marketing (source). Any earlier written blog or survey by businesses can be part of infographics.

For example, Zomato has shared below infographics on Valentine’s Day:

Is your social media strategy ready for 2020?

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It is well-known fact that in today’s digitalized world, digital marketing or social media marketing is surpassing the traditional ways of marketing. Different digital marketing trends i.e. social media, content marketing, SEO, etc. have emerged as powerful tools this year (2019) to enhance the online presence of businesses effectively. As per statistics by Statista of worldwide social media usage, 2.65 billion social media users were recorded in 2018. This year (2019) it’s estimated to be approx. 2.82 billion and projected to be at approx. 3.1 billion by 2021.

To meet such robust demand, social media trends are evolving at a fast rate. Below are different aspects or trends of social media strategy that are expected in 2020 which businesses need to incorporate to attain a competitive market position. The required changes in current social media strategy of brands to meet these expectations are defined as well:

1. The boom in Video content marketing:

There is a rapid increase in social media-based video consumption by social media users. Videos are emerging as the most popular trend and content type of user’s choice. As per statistics reports published by GlobalWebIndex, in the present scenario, online videos are watched by 92% of internet users every month. That means more than 4 billion users worldwide were seeking for online video content in 2019 starting. So the video consumption is increasing at a fast rate and to cope up this demand different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc are giving more weight-age to video-based content. By looking at the above stats, it’s right to say that video marketing is likely to be on high demand in 2020 and further years too.

So being the most demanding feature next year, video content requires businesses to re-look their current video quality and video content. The focus should be on more short and great video content to grab the immediate attention of the audience and for an effective flow of video messages. Also, the use of thumbnails and captions are considered as important aspects of video marketing to meet upcoming challenges.

2. Influencer marketing:

Influencer marketing is related to word-of-mouth marketing from influential key leaders to spread the brand’s message to a large audience. Different celebrities or personalities having a large following on social media channels like YouTube or Twitter or Facebook, etc. are considered as Influencers that help market a brand or its product/ service through their social media accounts.

Influencer marketing is growing at a fast rate and digital marketers are taking it as a key social media strategy in the coming years. The future demand for this trend can be predicted through the latest statistics that Influence marketing will be $10 billion industry by 2020 and this will lead to tough competition among digital marketers to tie-up with influential celebrities. Also, the importance of influential people can be seen in the fact that 22% of the social media users in the age group of 18-34 made a large purchase by getting influenced by these influencers on different social media channels. (Source)

So, brands need to strategize their current Influencer marketing or to implement this in their social media strategy if not started yet. Also, while implementing or re-defining Influencer marketing, brands need to take care of choosing the right influencer and social media channel and micro or nano influencers can also be beneficial.

For example, the Sony brand had adopted an Influencer marketing strategy for marketing its new Sony Xperia Z5 cell phone on Instagram as it is a much better social media channel for promoting photography. Sony took services of 30 influencers who helped in spreading a highly detailed zoom photo clicked with the Xperia Z5 in the form of a competition.

This Influencer marketing campaign was very successful and generated 17 million potential audiences. (Source)

3. More personalization:

Today’s customer-oriented world demands more personalized social media marketing. Personalization is a social media strategy to provide a user-specific unique experience to every visitor and emerging as one of the most demanding marketing tactics. This facilitates the audience to build trust and increase purchases. A content personalization strategy drives a great effect if it’s well-executed. Brands who are tailoring content by using data-oriented campaigns according to the interest of their audience are experiencing much better results.

As per statistics, most of the users now prefer those brands that provide personalized experiences.

Different stats on customer’s preference for personalized marketing are as below:

  • 71% of customers get frustrated with impersonal shopping experience (source).
  • 80% of customers prefer to purchase from brands offering personalized experience (source).
  • 72% of customers influenced by marketing messages customized as per their interest (source). 
  • 80% of frequent shoppers make purchases only from brands that offer personalized experience (source). 

Major players like Coke, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc. have already shifted to personalized marketing and getting far better results. For example, Amazon offers recommended products; Netflix and Facebook offers recommended movies and relevant news respectively.

One result-driven example of personalized marketing can be seen in Cadbury’s personalized campaigns that increased brand awareness and its potential market. The company utilized the service of Idomoo’s personalized video content in 2017 to market its special section of Cadbury Glow gift chocolate among the Indian audience. This campaign allowed customers to make a personalized video by incorporating names and pics taken out from their Facebook account. This leads to a 33% conversation rate of viewers.

So, brands need to prepare themselves for an effective personalized marketing strategy to face the challenges of 2020 social media marketing. This can be achieved by knowing the target audience, building data-driven personas based on real-life, using content based on the interest of customers, analyzing preferred social media platforms by the audience, etc.

4. Artificial intelligence driven marketing:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping as next big future of human generation. Its advanced technical features can facilitate in reducing the workload and resemble human intelligence. AI is playing a significant role in both internal and external business communications by enabling automatic learning and automated business processes.

To meet the challenges of complex data management on social media, AI implementation by social media channels into their algorithms is increasing. The algorithms have a role in taking decisions on type of content to display to different users, ranking posts on social media, etc. Chatbot, speech recognition, etc. are AI-based technologies which are emerging as next generation social media strategy.

As per Gartner’s report, 25% part of customer service will integrate chatbots by 2020 across different social media platforms. Also, the share of AI will be 30% in B2B organizations by 2020.

(source)

For example, Linkedin has a powerful AI-based tool i.e. Linkedin Recruiter search to find the right candidates for companies. Linkedin is using AI technology-based algorithms in facilitating the right candidate search to fit in their requirements. The recruiter search uses the title entered by the recruiter in search portion and carry out smart search suggestions to recommend relevant skills. So the recruiter can carry further search despite remembering all required skills relevant to the role. AI technology works by looking for answer patterns that were responsible for successful prior similar searches. AI-based algorithms on Linkedin are trained on mass data and these algorithms can help in predicting the best fit for the role.

 5. More advanced Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR):

Both AR and VR technologies are becoming a great choice of most for the marketing campaigns. Coming years will witness more practical applications based on these technologies and also these will be applied in the social media marketing context. Hootsuite stated that AR and VR will be used more for increasing advertising revenue in different social messaging apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, etc.

As per Gartner’s report, 20% of large enterprises will adopt advanced AR and VR by 2020 in their social media strategy. (source)

For example, the Sephora brand had created an AR-based Virtual Artist app with Modiface that ensures app users to see how their face will look with makeup products by using the camera of their cell phones. Also, it shows the skincare effect of months on their skin.

So, the organizations need to start looking and implementing the latest trends in AR and VR in their social media marketing.

Can your business survive without digital marketing?

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In today’s era of digitalization, both consumers and businesses are leveraging the benefits of online presence for their requirements. Evolution of digital technology i.e. Internet, smartphones, social media, etc. has drastically changed the way consumers consume content. This has created a cut-throat competition between businesses to reach, retain and grow their consumers by effective digital marketing using various online channels i.e. websites, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), Google my business, e-mail marketing, content marketing, etc. Whether it’s a large enterprise or a Startup, digital marketing has evolved as the backbone of their marketing strategy and it demands every entrepreneur to be digital marketing savvy to survive in a competitive market.

Digital marketinghas various benefits that have changed the way businesses are marketing their products/services digitally and so has the utmost importance for the survival of businesses. The below mentioned such benefits along with the importance of different digital channels uncover the reasons why businesses including startup can’t survive without digital marketing:

1. Increases customer base by enhancing connectivity:

The digital presence of businesses has changed the buying pattern of consumers as today they mostly inclined towards the brands having a presence on the web. Digital marketing facilitates businesses in increasing their customers by easily reaching out to their target audience and also the audience can reach their products/services more conveniently.

2. Increases Brand Loyalty:

Businesses need to look for repeat business by retaining the customer base through increasing customer loyalty towards their brand. Digital marketing has significance in establishing a trustworthy bond between businesses and customers by using its different digital channels.

Through an online platform, customers are able to have direct communication with businesses and share their valuable feedback on products/ services. Also, their issues are rectified immediately on the social platform.

3. Enhances brand awareness:

Digital marketing facilitates startups and entrepreneurs to enhance the awareness of their brand by communicating with them effectively. Social media channel plays a vital role in this by targeting specific interests to increase brand awareness. Similarly, different other online channels of marketing like websites; are an effective tool for advertising that businesses are utilizing for selling their products and services.

4. Content development and trust-building:

Digital marketing channels like social media, email marketing, etc. are an easier, fast and cost-effective way to reach out to the customers to increase their awareness about different products/services of businesses. Using social media, e-mail marketing, and content marketing channels businesses can develop content, post different news or messages related to their business in order to build the trust factor and brand image among its customers.

5. Cost-effective marketing strategy:

Digital marketing is considered as most cost-effective strategy and due to this, it is considered as the best resource of marketing for startups and entrepreneurs who have limited resources or investment.

Below mentioned different digital channels play a significant role in the digital presence of businesses to gain the above advantages through digital marketing:

The Website is considered as one of the most powerful digital channels. Today most of the customers look for online information related to the company, its product/ services and websites play an important role in this. These offers 24/7 easy access to customers and required information of business offerings and also allow more customer traffic by posting valuable and fresh content. It helps in increasing customers and sales of businesses.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization that includes website integration to achieve a favorable position on different search engines. Being integral to digital marketing, an SEO-friendly website is an essential element for a startup also to increase their potential customers by increasing visibility and accessibility. It helps in increasing the rank of website on search engines that ultimately leads to gain more audience and customers further.

Social Media: Social media platform is also an important aspect of digital marketing strategy. It has become essential for entrepreneurs and businesses especially startupsto market their products and services through different social media sites i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc in a cost-effective way as its free of cost to create business profiles on most of these sites. This allows them to increase target customers, brand awareness and promotion, sales, and gaining competitive advantage.

Google My Business: Another cost-effective and easy to use digital marketing channel to boost digital presence for entrepreneurs and startups is Google my business. This is a vital tool that allows managing a brand’s digital presence effectively across the Google platform using search and map options. The channel helps businesses by enhancing their visibility in search results and business listing information, initiating feedback in form of reviews from customers.

Email Marketing: One more dynamic and cost-effective tool of digital marketing is email marketing that helps startups and other entrepreneurs in engaging with target customers more precisely and acquiring new customers. Businesses can effectively promote their products/services by creating impressive emails for promotion. Email marketing increases brand loyalty, customer retention, and acquisition, sales, ROI of businesses by personalizing email messages, creating different segments of prospects for more specific messages, automating email systems,etc.


Content Marketing: An integral tool of digital marketing and the essence of different online channels is a content marketing strategy. Its importance lies in creating and providing different informative, relevant and consistent content for the purpose of retaining and attracting customers for businesses to influence their buying decisions. It provides the base for online promotion of businesses. Content marketing is benefitting startups and entrepreneurs as well by educating their potential customers in purchasing decisions, enhancing the online visibility of their businesses i.e. on social media and search engines, increasing web traffic by linking content throughout the web, etc.

Should you hire an agency or built in-house team for your Digital Marketing?

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Digital marketing or social media marketing plays a vital role in business growth and its success in today’s digitalized environment. It is a very crucial and important aspect for businesses to decide whether to hire an in-house digital marketing team or an outside digital marketing agency to market their product or services effectively. A wise decision will always be surrounded by less costing and more profits.

There are different pros or merits and cons or demerits of both approaches i.e. internal marketing team and digital marketing agency. A brief of the same is mentioned below to support organizations in their decision-making to choose the best approach for digital marketing:

IN-HOUSE DIGITAL MARKETING:

In-house digital marketing is related to assigning marketing tasks to the team of employees that are hired and trained by the organization itself. That means the organization doesn’t hire any third party services i.e. freelancing digital marketing services or services from digital marketing or social media agency. In SME’s, the in-house marketing concept can be beneficial initially as comparatively a small team is able to manage all marketing efforts.

Both concepts of digital marketing i.e. in-house team and social media agency have different Pros and Cons based on the requirement of the organization that is mentioned below:

Pros of in-house digital marketing:

  • Brand understanding: In-house digital marketers carry deep knowledge on different aspects of an organization i.e. vision, customers, values, competitive market, etc. So, they are proficient in creating content to match brand value by incorporating their vision.
  • Easy access: In-house digital marketing approach facilitates a much faster approval process in a content marketing campaign through easy access to different departments.
  • Better control: Another advantage of an in-house marketing team is to have much better control over the content generated by them. The team is much aware of designing strategy at the right time and can also monitor advertisements more effectively. Also, the accountability and supervision of digital marketing projects are comparatively easier.
  • More focus: The team can focus on projects more precisely and faster as there are no more projects from different other clients.

Cons of in-house digital marketing:

  • Budget or cost overloading: In-house digital marketing demands an increase in hiring cost and further on-going cost i.e. overall recruitment cost, salaries & other benefits, etc. Recruitment cost itself includes searching required talent from different paid resources, interview and selection process cost, training cost, etc. According to the latest statistics, the average salary of a content marketing manager is recorded as $66055 and it goes much higher side with experience. The salary of content marketing expert having experience of more than 20 years can go up to $85k as well. (source)

Apart from this, other operational and maintenance costs related to the team’s workplace and working requirements are also an additional cost. So hiring an in-house digital marketing team can be a costlier decision and additional financial burden.

  • Time-consuming and challenging: The hiring process is a bit time-consuming in an in-house digital marketing approach. Having a requirement of different team members i.e. social media marketing manager, coordinator, graphic designer, etc.; it takes much time to search, shortlist, interview and final selection of a skilled team.

Moreover, there is a big challenge in finding the right talent with appropriate skills in the market due to fast technological advancements and shortage of adequate skill set.

  • Constraints of capacity: As the organization grows, the in-house digital team requires more staff due to limited capacity to meet the increasing workload. This is again a costly, time-consuming task.
  • Managing employees: Employee management is also a challenging task for any organization as it involves attritions, performance issues, regularity issues, conflicts management, etc. The same challenges are there for the in-house digital marketing team and these can also have adverse effects on the productivity of staff and organization if not handled timely and properly.

Hiring services of a Digital Marketing Agency:

A digital marketing or social media agency works on different projects for different clients and consists of a whole team of experts carrying vast knowledge, skills, and experience in their respective domains.

Different pros and cons of these agencies are as under:

Pros:

  • Cost-effective: Hiring a digital marketing agency offers cheaper services and more value of money by excluding additional costs of hiring, salaries & benefits, taxes, etc. As per stats, SMEs can hire services of these agencies on average cost ranges from $2500 to $12000 monthly in 2019. (source)
  • Better ROI: Digital marketing agencies
  • can offer higher ROI (Return on investment) as they carry expertise and experience of working on different projects for different industries and brands.
  • Meet expectations: The team of a Digital marketing agency is capable to come up with the expectations of their clients because they have vast expertise and adequate skills to handle all crux of content social media marketing and content development.
  • Creativity: Social media agency is capable of incorporating creative and fresh ideas in marketing projects of different clients due to carrying a diverse experience of working with a variety of clients. Thatswhy it can be termed as a creative agency as well.
  • Less control: These agencies don’t require much control or oversights and can work independently so that organizations are able to focus on their core areas.

Cons:

Though hiring a social media agency comes with the above advantages but they do have certain limitations like:

  • Less understanding of culture: An agency can’t get involved with the organization’s culture like an in-house team initially. It’s a bit time consuming for these agencies to completely understand the different requirements of a business. However, it may be in the initial stage only and gradually the agency is able to understand the organization’s environment better.
  • Time constraint: Though digital marketing agency works with scheduled deadlines, they also need to work for different clients simultaneously. So, sometimes it’s a little challenge for the agency to provide all solutions to clients within the timeframe. However, finding an agency having an excellent record of delivering quality marketing projects promptly is the right solution.

Final thoughts:

To conclude, an organization should look for a final decision on in-house hiring or agency hiring for digital marketing of its business by keeping in mind above pros and cons of both approaches. A smart choice of hiring an in-house marketing expert to create digital marketing strategies and further outsourcing the implementation process to a digital marketing agency can be a cost-effective and result-oriented strategy.