Digital Marketing Trends, Part 4 of 5: Make it Stick

As part of the daily curation I do with #the5, I get a chance from time to time to aggregate all the news I collect to look for trends. In the fourth of our 5 part series, we’re going to examine some current trends in digital marketing and what they mean for you. Today, we’re looking at…

Make it Stick

Here are a few of the choice headlines in the last 7 months worth reflecting on:

Twitter to start recycling best tweets in “While you were away”
Facebook rolls out Timehop-like new feature
Should you repost your social media content all the time?
7 Ways to Stop Pogo-Sticking From Killing Your Website’s SEO
Opens, Clicks, And Blocks In The Third Age Of Email Deliverability
Does a daily social media ask help to sell more?
LinkedIn, Notorious for Sending Too Many Emails, Cuts Back

When it comes to stickiness, there are two distinct schools of thought. The first is content stickiness – how sticky is your content? How much do people remember what you have to say? How compelling or engaging is your content? Content stickiness was best described and operationalized by Chip and Dan Heath’s excellent book, Made to Stick.

Make it stick!

The second school of thought on stickiness is algorithmic. When you look at the list above, what you’re seeing doesn’t relate directly to your content. What you see above relates to the way your content is distributed and how different digital marketing platforms try to re-attract users.

Consider this: who do you get the most email from? If you’re the average consumer, retailers, spammers, and social networks – and not necessarily in that order. Social networks fall back on email to get consumers to re-engage with content. Facebook offers its “On this day”. Marketers adore #ThrowbackThursday and schedule huge quantities of content to tie into that trend. Twitter recycles tweets. Even Google’s venerable SEO algorithm measures the stickiness of your site and how fast people come back to search results.

Sticky is the new sexy, from an algorithmic perspective. Everyone is giving favor to things that bring users back.

How To Make Use of This Trend

Obviously, your content should be sticky first, in the Made to Stick perspective. Master that first. Once you’ve figured out how to make content people actually want, the next step is to become far more proactive about inciting stickiness.

You can’t wait for a social network algorithm or a search algorithm to benevolently bestow more eyeballs on your content. You can’t leave re-engaging users to chance. You’re looking to Make It Stick, proactive stickiness. Proactive stickiness means seizing the reins and driving stickiness with your own efforts before the algorithms.

Why would you do this? To incite the algorithms to work with you and not against you. If your content shows signs of trending from your efforts, algorithms that favor stickiness will reward you even more. On the other hand, if your content seems like just a flash in the pan, algorithms will pass you by because you’re not showing any signs of bringing users back to benefit them.

What can you do? In the old days, I used to advocate that any time you sent an email, you would post on social media that you sent an email in order to encourage open rates (which improve deliverability). The reverse is also true – your emails should promote your social posts and social actions.

Another simple example: a relatively small amount of paid media spend can make content appear sticky to algorithms, particularly if you belong to an ad network. Pay $500 to promote a piece of content to a very targeted audience, and native platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn will see the increase in popularity and returning visitors. The algorithms will interpret that as more popularity, and potentially give you an added boost.

Made to Stick was the first generation of stickiness. Make It Stick is the current one. Make your content stick proactively to win.

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at some of the winners and losers in 2015 to date. Stay tuned!

Digital Marketing Trends, Mid-2015 Edition
  1. Discontent Marketing
  2. Broadcast Social
  3. Video Games
  4. Make It Stick
  5. Winners and Losers

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Digital Marketing Trends, Part 2 of 5: Broadcast Social

As part of the daily curation I do with #the5, I get a chance from time to time to aggregate all the news I collect to look for trends. In the second of our 5 part series, we’re going to examine some current trends in digital marketing and what they mean for you. Today, we’re looking at…

Broadcast Social

Here are a few of the choice headlines in the last 7 months worth reflecting on:

The BBC launches Your Story, tying your Facebook timeline to news events
63% of Facebook/Twitter users get their news from social media
Facebook now lets you flag fake news
Google indexes tweets from higher social authority accounts more
Facebook’s Talks To Host Publishers’ Content Are Heating Up
FTC Puts Social Media Marketers On Notice With Updated Disclosure Guidelines

What we see here is nothing less than major social media channels attempting to become broadcast media. Users of these services now get their news from them. Social channels are the places that artists debut albums, TV shows premiere pilots and teasers, and advertisers spend like drunken sailors on shore leave.

thenewtvguide.png
Admit it, this reflects your viewing habits already.

What does this trend mean? Broadcast Social Media largely abandons the pretense of community in social media as part of main news feeds and timelines. Twitter looks more like a news ticker than it does a conversation. Pinterest and Instagram carousel ads look like catalog displays instead of conversations. Facebook’s eponymous News Feed is, well, a news feed.

There are certainly still plenty of places where community gathers; Facebook private groups, Linkedin Groups, etc. We haven’t lost those communities yet. But the main thrust of Broadcast Social is to behave like broadcast media.

How To Make Use of This Trend

Broadcast Social means rethinking where social media fits in your marketing funnel/customer journey. Instead of being lumped into one broad “social media” category, Broadcast Social means splitting your social media efforts into two different focus areas. The first area, community management, remains focused on engagement and building loyalty through conversation. The second area, your Broadcast Social team, focuses on broadcast media-like placements, advertising, and brand building/brand awareness.

Community management remains more in the middle of the funnel, behaving like email marketing to nurture and retain prospects and customers. Broadcast Social moves more towards the top of the funnel, behaving like other broadcast channels.

Finally, the change of social media to Broadcast Social changes how you measure social media. You can’t measure with one set of metrics any longer. By becoming a broadcast channel, Broadcast Social now has to be measured like other forms of broadcast media such as TV, radio, and print. It’s not inconceivable that we begin to measure Broadcast Social with something like digital GRPs (gross ratings points, how TV and radio are measured).

Stay tuned for the next trend in this series!

Digital Marketing Trends, Mid-2015 Edition
  1. Discontent Marketing
  2. Broadcast Social
  3. Video Games
  4. Make It Stick
  5. Winners and Losers

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What’s your actual social media reach?

One of the key metrics to pay attention to at the very top of the funnel is reach. How many people are you getting in front of on a regular basis?

Facebook fans, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections are all great and important as a very first step towards growing your presence. That said, how much of the audience you’ve accrued actually sees your stuff?

Here’s an example. In Twitter’s Analytics, this is the information we see by default:

tweetreach.jpg

So far, so good. Over 86 days, I accrued 1.2 million impressions. With 80,000+ followers, that works out to 14,000 impressions a day, or about 17.5% reach in aggregate.

But there are details and nuances. Above, I’ve highlighted how a recent tweet has performed. It’s accrued only 1,100 impressions. What if this is the more common scenario? How would we find out?

I downloaded my stats from Twitter (just push the Export CSV button) and plotted average impressions out on a line chart:

median_tweet_reach.jpg

It looks like the median reach of my tweets on a daily basis is actually about 2,150 impressions. This tells a very different story: my actual reach for any given tweet is 2.69% of my audience size.

Imagine, if you’re trying to benchmark yourself against competitors, and you see a particularly fearsome competitor with a million followers, how much less fearsome they appear if only reach 26,900 of them?

What’s the antidote to this lack of reach? We of course know what the various social networks would like us to believe the antidote is:

Slackershot: Money

Beyond that, what else can you do? The simplest thing is to cross-pollinate; by sharing the same content on multiple networks, you can reach potentially different audiences. For example, if we examine my Google Analytics traffic, we see that Twitter generates slightly more than 2/3 of my social visits:

Social_Network_Referrals_-_Google_Analytics.jpg

If I focused only on Twitter, I’d be missing 30%+ of my traffic from other networks. That’s why I typically will post the same content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. I also use email marketing to reinforce what I share socially, to ensure that content gets seen by as many people as possible.

If your social media program isn’t performing as well as you expect it to, take a look at your actual reach metrics. Find out just how many people are truly seeing your content, then test alternate methods and schedules to find what generates the best results for you.


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