The Four Digital Marketing Topics Your Business Should Master Right Now

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving industry, with innovative studies, reports and “best practices” published seemingly every day. Some of the top bloggers, from Neil Patel to Jeff Bullas, offer cutting-edge digital marketing techniques and dedicate their lives to mastering this in-demand discipline.

To truly understand and stay on top of the internet world, individuals would have to scour hundreds of blogs and attend top industry events around the world. This is both time-consuming and costly. Most businesses simply do not have the resources or capacity. Mastering the top digital marketing topics can drive revenue and improve brand awareness. The question becomes, is there a way to understand the most pertinent topics to drive business growth?

Yes.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s digital marketing team has scoured the internet and listened intently to the top digital marketing conversations to bring together the four most important topics for 2018. The savvy business professional can learn the ins and outs of these topics at Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed, a morning dedicated to the year’s biggest digital marketing topics, May 3. Read below for a preview of the topics that will be discussed.

The New Facebook Algorithm

In January, Facebook changed its news feed algorithm, throwing the digital world into a frenzy. Some bloggers believed it was merely a ploy for more advertising dollars, while others lauded the change in the name of more meaningful and engaging social media content. Nearly every blog has posted about the new algorithm, providing its own take on the constantly-evolving social network.

Online Reputation Management

Online reviews have existed for decades. Since the dawn of the internet, people could rate purchases and companies on their websites, chat rooms, forums or early social networks. But now, online reviews are much more organized and widely utilized – something that was not the case in the early 2000s. Ninety-two percent of consumers report reading online reviews before making a purchase, a number that has grown every year since online reviews became commonplace. In addition, 40 percent of consumers will form an opinion on a product or business based on as few as three separate reviews. This applies to both B2B and B2C companies, meaning all industries should look at their online reputation.

Influencer Marketing

Made popular by Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, brands have started using social media to promote events through community influencers. From Instagram models to YouTube sensations, influencer marketing has become a popular and effective form of marketing to consumers. This topic has been trending for years, but traditional business still has not grasped its importance or effectiveness in the marketplace. If you do not think celebrities can impact a business, consider Snapchat’s struggles in the wake of a single Kylie Jenner tweet.

How to Invest in Digital Marketing Resources

The idea of investing digital marketing resources is largely a function of the three aforementioned digital marketing topics – it would be difficult for one person to handle a major business’s online reputation, manage a network of influencers, and stay abreast of the latest social media algorithm changes. However, companies have options when it comes to investing in digital marketing resources. Marketing agencies provide full digital marketing management packages so companies do not have to worry about anything online. On the other hand, a business may also choose to promote from within or hire interns to keep a close eye on digital properties. Both sides provide pros and cons. It simply depends on the company’s needs.

To learn more about these topics and find out where your business should be focusing its digital marketing efforts, check out Digital Marketing Secrets Revealed, May 3.

5 Keys to Building a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

By Robert Courtney Collins
Founder
Robert Courtney & Associates – A Boutique Branding Agency

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

Having a digital marketing strategy is paramount to survival in today’s business climate. While many people use social media platforms daily, very few understand how to leverage these platforms and reach maximum potential. Sometimes a strategy may appear to be effective, but without exercising certain building blocks you’ll likely find your strategy breaking down. Here are 5 principles every digital strategist must use to build a solid foundation and launch a successful marketing campaign.

1. Identify Key Channels

Everybody should have a primary platform and a secondary platform that’s properly maintained every day. Depending on your industry it’s very important to pick the platform that matches your audience best. If you’re in an industry that produces great visuals you will want to use Instagram. If you’re attempting to reach a younger audience, you will want to use Snapchat. Facebook should be everyone’s primary or secondary platform because of its reach and amount of active users.

2. Create Quality Content

Never shortchange your prospective audience with content that isn’t the best quality you can produce. Whether it’s photos or videos the quality of your content speaks to who you are as a brand. Content should also be informative or creative to make your brand stand above your competition.


MORE: Hear more about building up your digital marketing strategy at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


3. Don’t Sell, Be Authentic

Traditional business practices have conditioned us to do the hard sell and pitch our product. But, with good planning, research and a service or product you believe in you can be authentic and let the selling happen naturally. Communicate your core message properly, passionately and precisely and nobody will be wondering what you’re selling or if you’re selling — they’ll be thinking about buying.

4. Establish Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is about making sure your name, logo, tag line and hashtags stay uniform across all digital platforms. Because the digital landscape is filled with different mediums, platforms, and networks bombarding millions of people every day the most effective companies know there’s an amazing power to connect consumers to a brand when marketing campaigns are easily identifiable and connectivity strategies are consistent. A digital marketing strategist would do well to examine all social platforms connected to a business to make sure brand consistency is in tack.

5. Be an Expert in Your Field

Being an expert means you not only have a deep knowledge of your own business, consumer needs and industry trends but that you are constantly analyzing your competition. When building your own marketing plan it’s essential to know what your competition is doing so you can decide exactly where to channel your digital marketing resources. The best digital strategies are often directly connected to the most well researched, and educated ideas.

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Radio Steps Up in the Digital Age

By Kevin Ketels 
President
Kyrris Marketing

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

domMedia fragmentation and digital distribution have dramatically changed the way consumers listen to music and talk radio.  In my interview with radio executive Dom Theodore, he addresses why these changes took place and how broadcasters are leveraging digital technology to help compete.

How has the radio media landscape evolved since you and I were kids in the 1970’s?

Radio is a much more sophisticated business than it was in the 70’s. Back then, FM was just finding its footing, and most of the revenue was made on the AM dial. As the audience migrated to FM, and the FCC changed signal-spacing requirements, more FM stations popped up creating more of a splintered audience. Then, in the mid-1990’s, the FCC changed ownership rules and essentially lifted the cap on the number of stations that can be owned by one company in the same market. This brought in tons of new Wall street investors to radio, and as traditional broadcasters sold stations to mega-companies, these new owners focused on cost efficiency and finding ways to operate with fewer people and more syndicated programming. Then came the ‘digital disruption’ that made so many new audio entertainment technologies available to consumers, and you now have a much more splintered audience than ever before.

How does radio compete in an era of consumer media fragmentation?

It starts with recognizing that radio is no longer just radio – we are in the ‘audio entertainment’ business. There are more content delivery systems than ever before, but the secret to effectively competing in this new world is to focus on the actual ‘delivery’ – the content – and take an agnostic approach to ‘delivery system.’ This means that radio personalities need to be multi-platform, and available in both real-time during their live shows, and on-demand anytime through other platforms. They also need a social media presence and content that extends far beyond their radio show. But it all starts with a great talent.


MORE: Hear more about podcasting and radio at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


Can you give us some examples of digital tools that are now being used in the industry to better connect talent, programming and/or advertisers with your audience? 

Terrestrial radio stations absolutely must have a presence across digital platforms – and most savvy personalities are using social media – particularly Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat – to better engage with audiences. Also, the audience expects content to be available on-demand, so you’ll find podcasts from your favorite radio personalities on iTunes, Soundcloud, etc. Radio stations also typically employ online research methods to determine what songs to play – often soliciting their listener’s opinions online and using that data to determine programming decisions. And of course, we use digital advertising campaigns to drive audience back to the radio station for contesting, special programming, etc.

And there are plenty of radio station audio streams available online, in addition to internet-only channels… like my own ‘The Blaze Radio network’ – which is Glenn Beck’s single biggest affiliate – producing a bigger audience than any one of our terrestrial radio affiliates. As the ‘connected car’ becomes a reality, consumers will soon have access to every streaming radio station in their vehicle. This will be a game-changer, and will allow real-time audience analysis and audience reaction measurement… what is now the broadcast business will really become a narrowcast business with very individualized media experiences.

Kevin Ketels is President of Kyrris Marketing, a Detroit marketing and communications agency, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. 

Read more from Kevin Ketels:

Don’t be a Social Media Bore

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Have we lost all sense of authenticity? Influencer marketing trumps passion for products

By Daniel Cherrin
Founder and CEO
North Coast Strategies 

I want Kylie Jenner to like my work as a PR professional and I want her to post it on Instagram.

jeansIt worked for Fashion Nova. Jenner, the youngest and most successful of the Kardashians, with her Kylie Cosmetic line, recently posted a picture (a pic for the Gen Y’rs) on Instagram (Insta for the Gen Y’rs) and simply said, “I love my Fashion Nova jeans,” gathering 2.2M likes.

Traditional media is great if you can get it and a good PR agency or publicist should have the relationships or wherewithal to help you determine what is news. However, influencers have followers and if they can promote your product on their Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter account, you will see visitors to your website spike.

Disney, BMW, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple are some of the most authentic brands according a recent article in Business Insider, but they too pay influencers to talk about them.

Adidas, for example, created a group of their own influencers, called the Tango Squads. These are groups of socially savvy 16-19-year-olds, in 15 select markets, creating content around soccer. According to Marketing Week, “Each group is managed by an Adidas in-house team, who share exclusive content and new products with the group, before they are even unveiled on Adidas’ Twitter or Facebook channels.”


MORE: Hear more about social media marketing strategies and tools at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


Influencer marketing goes beyond Adidas hiring Kanye West or Puma hiring Rihanna, or even Dunkin Donuts tapping Vine sensation Logan Paul to promote a donut.

This makes my job in PR much more difficult as well. Newsrooms are shuttering and the journalists that remain are working on multiple stories and being asked to post their stories first on Facebook and Twitter, even cover the event live using Facebook Live.

The trick with influencers is to find the ones who have significant followers, within the 10,000 to 100,000 range, but who also still illicit good audience engagement that drives results.

You can look for a celebrity and pay big bucks by working through their agents, you can work directly through the celebrity if you have the relationship, or you can also work through an influencer agency to find the right influencer for you.

In working with a celebrity or other influencer, you want to research their background, interest, and passions.  Make sure there is some connection between your product and the celebrity before contacting their agent. To gain an influencer’s attention, follow these four tips:

  • Find the hook. Make the connection and make it personal. Influencers are constantly being inundated with pitches. In your pitch, let them know you follow them and give an example of why you were attracted to them. This includes why they are the perfect fit for your product and how their followers could benefit from it.
  • Find the money. Influencers make a living by getting paid to promote products, so be prepared to budget for influencer marketing, but feel free to negotiate fees creatively.
  • Be prepared to give up editorial control. Influencers want to do it their way and don’t want you to tell them what to say or how to say it.
  • Know the law. There are laws now directing influencers to provide certain disclosures. Depending on the industry, such as medical devices, food and cosmetics, additional disclosures and diligence are required.

In advising companies today it is important for PR agencies to tell their clients that it is in their best interest to develop their own content and find the influencers to broadcast their message. Whether you pay them or not, it is important to find the right people to talk about you and your product.

Although I cannot offer you jeans, I encourage you to share this article, to tweet it, post it and tag me with any post at @DanCherrin (on Twitter, Instagram).

DANIEL CHERRIN | is the founder and CEO of North Coast Strategies and a partner with M10 Marketing, an integrated marketing agency. Through advocacy, collaboration and strategic relationships, Daniel Cherrin has built a successful career, as an attorney, lobbyist and public relations professional. This includes serving as the Communications Director for the City of Detroit and Press Secretary to the Mayor of Detroit, federal lobbyist for the Detroit Regional Chamber and the owner of an independent public affairs consultancy. Daniel believes the way forward is to engage! Through strategic communications, strategic relationships and something valuable to share, Daniel works to protect and enhance the reputation of organizations and people in the public eye. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCherrin or www.NorthCoastStrategies.com.

Read more from Daniel Cherrin:

Are you listening?

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How to Build a 24/7 Social Media Customer Service Program When You’re Not a Big Brand

By Steve Poole
Digital Marketing Manager
Michigan First Credit Union

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

In today’s world of instant gratification, consumers expect immediate and effective service when reaching out in any channel, including social media. Brands like Zappos, XBox and Delta offer dedicated support channels and teams to provide assistance 24/7. But, what if you’re not a big brand with fat pockets? How do you build a customer service program that scales to meet the needs of consumers 24/7, knowing that time, budget and resources are limited?

Social Media Marketing Meets 24/7 Customer Service

In 2014, Michigan First Credit Union rolled out a new program for our members to connect to a live customer service representative 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Dubbed 365 Live, this program added horsepower to our call center operations, ensuring that customers could call at any time and receive an immediate response and resolution to their issue. Our marketing team’s social media efforts needed to scale to meet this heightened level of service.


MORE: Hear more about social media marketing strategies and tools at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


We already knew that social media customer service doesn’t live within a “9-5” schedule and our marketing team was already responding to opportunities and issues outside of traditional business hours. Now, we were being challenged to create a seamless experience for our customers regardless of the channel or the time of day. Here are some of the lessons our team learned along the way:

1. Gather your stakeholdersIt sounds elementary, but ensuring that all the right parties have a seat at the table right from the beginning is absolutely essential. Departments we spoke with included human resources, IT, marketing, risk/compliance and our existing call center. We also needed buy-in from our executive team to ensure top-level support.

Gathering these teams together allowed everyone to share their questions, concerns and comments. Additionally, it allowed all teams to play a role in setting the strategy and standards for the program. Standards focused on a set response time for customer service requests via social media channels and processes for managing customer inquiries. For example, our call center determined one hour is the appropriate response time for non-call requests. While we almost always answer social media comments and inquiries much faster than one hour during business hours, we needed to determine how this service promise would impact our ability to answer questions and concerns during weekends and evenings.

2. Determine who “owns” the social customer service program

Traditionally, stand-alone customer service departments have handled all customer requests via phone, email or contact forms. However, as everyone that works in social media can attest to, the volume of customer service inquiries via social channels is increasing. This creates the question: who is responsible for those requests? Should the call center team be trained to handle social channels or does the marketing team extend their reach to monitor social channels 24/7? Is it a hybrid approach?

Determining ownership can set the direction for the social customer service program. In many cases, the program can be rolled out in phases. Initially, marketing receiving additional resources to monitor at later hours. Soon we will begin a project to train call center teams on how to monitor inbound inquiries during non-traditional business hours, eventually moving the service requests away from marketing.

3. Address any security and compliance issues right from the start

If you’re already leveraging social media for customer service, there is a good chance that certain processes are in place to ensure customer concerns are addressed quickly and archived for reference. But what happens when the customer service team “leaves” the office and answers tweets, Facebook posts, reviews, etc. from home? Do processes need to be changed?

In regulated industries, such as banking and finance, it is imperative that everyone involved in customer service issues is aware of current industry standards for compliance and security. For example, we can only answer very general customer service questions via a public forum such as Twitter or Facebook. If someone wants to know what time our locations are open, we can absolutely help them. If a customer has a question about a specific account, we need to take the conversation off-line and interact with them in a secure way. That also means that certain types of situations may not be able to be addressed while on the go and via mobile devices. While marketers are often quick to criticize brands that reply to customer inquiries with almost robotic responses, it’s often missed that companies within certain industries are required to respond a specific way. Often times, we tailor generic, yet personalized responses to customer service issues on social media to ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. What is most important is the offline follow up in these situations.

Another common issue with scaling a social media customer program is how to deal with remote access. For example, remote access to client information is often limited due to the sensitive nature of certain documents. Marketing can often be one of the teams with restricted access. In our situation, the marketing team regularly found itself answering customer inquiries outside of the office. A valuable best practice is to flesh out how certain types of customer issues are handled when addressed inside the office and from a remote destination. That way, all parties involved know the appropriate responses to different situations.

Many brands are often operating within a strictly defined box and cannot step outside without running into security and privacy issues. There is little flexibility in these areas and social media programs must be built and adjusted accordingly.

A common theme found across these lessons learned is that planning to scale a social media customer service program involves more than simply managing channels. There are certain steps required to not only better service customers, but also protect the brand and ensure digital efforts are in alignment across the company. Being efficient with available resources, ensuring stakeholders are engaged, addressing compliance issues early and assigning ownership of channels will lead to a smoother, more impactful rollout of your 24/7 social media customer service program.

Steve is the Digital Marketing Manager for Michigan First Credit Union and its affiliates Michigan First Mortgage and Michigan First Insurance Agency. Steve oversees the social media channels, web strategy, digital advertising, in-branch digital, email campaigns and more. Michigan First Credit Union is one of the State of Michigan’s only state-wide credit unions and is amongst the first in the country to offer a 24×7/365 live and local call center with online chat and social media customer service.

Steve’s expertise lies in social media, content marketing and drafting astonishingly mediocre fantasy sports teams.

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Don’t be a Social Media Bore

By Kevin Ketels
President
Kyrris Marketing

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

We all know that you don’t give somebody the hard sell moments after meeting them. “Hi, my name is Joe. Would you like to buy my premium lead generation software?” No. First, you get to know them, then build a relationship and trust.

Social media is the same way. Most people don’t use Facebook or Twitter to look for new products or services. Instead, most people use social media to connect with others, laugh, learn something new or be inspired. Social media is like a giant cocktail party. People gravitate towards the funny, light and interesting banter; they avoid the dry, stuffy or boring person just talking about themselves.

Your goal is to create a social media presence for your company that interacts with people in an entertaining and informative, but not “salesy” way. If all you do is give them the hard sell, they will tune you out. They will never see your content and you certainly won’t engage them in a way that best takes advantage of the interactive social media format.

Find your company’s online personality that reflects your brand, audience and the values/beliefs of the people who work there, and then create content that reflects those attributes.


MORE: Hear more about social media marketing strategies and tools at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


Six ways to build your company’s social media personality

  • Post smart, thoughtful or funny content not directly related to your products.
  • Highlight the people at your company. Tell their story and share your humanity. People love to see others who have worked hard and succeeded. They also like to see those who care passionately about their work.
  • Share your insight. Help your audience learn something new. It can be related to your area of expertise or simply unique to the needs of your customers.
  • Demonstrate you are part of the community. Show how you care about more than just the bottom line.
  • Interact with your customers and prospects. Show they are more than just a transaction by acknowledging their comments, responding and engaging.
  • Sell your stuff in a way that respects your online relationship. More than ever, customers don’t want to be sold. They want authenticity and meaning in their commercial relationships and purchases. You can do this by sharing benefits, demonstrating use and incorporating mentions of your product in ways that are smart, thoughtful or funny.

Here are some examples of my favorite corporate social media accounts that have developed their own online personalities: Taco Bell, Dove, Denny’s, Charmin, Old Spice, Staples and Curiosity Rover.

If you create compelling social media content, it not only creates a viral social media effect, but programs like Facebook will show content with high engagement to a larger audience. Conversely, if the engagement is low, the potential audience will be restricted.

Your social media personality should be like your smart, funny and handsome neighbor. You like and trust him. He sells insurance but doesn’t constantly ask you to buy it. He makes you laugh and he can laugh at himself. He lets you borrow his tools. He gives you gardening, and sometimes, insurance advice. You like and trust him. When it eventually comes time to make a decision about which insurance to purchase, you buy his product, because it feels comfortable and right.

Kevin Ketels is President of Kyrris Marketing, a Detroit marketing and communications agency, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. 

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More from Kevin Ketels: 

Navigating the Social Media Maze

Are you listening?

Why monitoring social media chatter can make or break your reputation

By Daniel Cherrin
Founder and CEO
North Coast Strategies

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

THE TAKEAWAY

If you or your company are not on social media, you should be. After all, just because you or your company are not Tweeting or otherwise posting pictures or updates, does not prevent others from talking about you. It is important for you to listen to the chatter, know the influencers or where the discussion got started in the first place.

Why? To protect your reputation and bottom line.

dan-cherrinNews now spreads in a matter of seconds thanks to social media and mobile technology. Whether the news is positive or negative, brands have to be able to react almost instantaneously with as much information as they can possibly assemble when their brand is mentioned. When a response is late, it is often too late. To avoid this, data from all media sources must be collected in real-time. This way companies have the ability to assess when they need to respond to inflated media exposure as quickly as humanly possible and can send out a timely message when they do.

New technologies and new business models have emerged to deal with our complex data-driven world. Across the media spectrum of social media and blog posts, online news mentions and Tweets, corporate communications teams are overwhelmed with data associated with their brand mentions, not to mention our own.

To protect your reputation, companies need to be armed with the ability to assess when or if they need to respond to inflated media exposure, “fake news,” or angry customers, as quickly as possible.

In fact, there are two billion people with some sort of social media footprint.

  • Uploading 1 hour of video to YouTube every second
  • Posting 500 million Tweets per day
  • Liking 4.5 billion posts on Facebook per day

I guarantee you or your company is somewhere in there. @DanCherrin.

Yet, 61 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs are without a social media presence.

Every day, new technologies are emerging. Just take a look at all the new and cool products emerging from the Consumer Electronic Industry (CES) show this month. In 2016, we saw

  • Facebook Live*
  • Instagram Stories*
  • Instagram Live*
  • Snapchat Memories Feature
  • Twitter Live

*Facebook owns Instagram.

In 2017, we will see more live videos, producing better content that people will crave with even shorter attention spans. We will also see more fake news posted on sites that look credible and reposted to give it even more credibility.

What does that mean for you?

  • We are becoming more active on social media
  • People are relying on it for information and taking the information as truth
  • Customers are turning to it for validation and support

Social media is no longer about what we had for dinner. It is even more than just broadcasting the latest news. It’s about creating a community and connecting with influencers to do something.

“On a typical morning, I see plenty of raw, unfiltered commentary on what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong; requests for new features, complaints & product support, event the occasional high five.” Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, wrote recently in Fast Company. Unlike most CEOs (other than President-Elect Trump) uses social media to talk directly to his customers in real-time.

So what are they saying about you? Social listening is a process of monitoring the social media chatter about you, your company, its brand and its leaders — In real-time with in-depth reporting.


MORE: Hear more about social media marketing resources and tools at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


There are companies who have created algorithms to monitor your brand, your competitors and your industry.  Companies such as Zygnal, Nuvi, Meltwater, and others. While you can set up your own Google Alerts or leverage other free systems, there is nothing like getting pinged the moment someone is talking about you.

Why is it important to listen?

  • To protect your corporate reputation
  • To monitor what your colleagues and others are saying about you
  • To enhance the customer experience
  • To identify and leverage the influencers
  • To prevent the spread of fake news or bad information
  • To keep tabs on the competition
  • Identify media and influencers driving a story; see the point of origin and how fast    the story evolves

Just because your company is not tweeting or posting, does not mean that others aren’t talking about you online…They are! When you are ready to post or are ready to respond, listening to others on social media will help you respond in ways that matter. And knowing the best time to respond.

Whether you are a big business or small, or even a solo-preneur like me, you should have someone listening for you, who are prepared to engage with data and insight.

According to Nuvi, “At the end of the day, having enormous amounts of data doesn’t mean you have all the insights you need to drive your social strategy forward. A good analysis tool is what gives your data its true value.”

It is time you understand what is being said about you and who is doing all the talking – good or bad.  You should create systems that measure, monitor, analyze and track the conversation and find the resources to help you with any planning or the response and correct and misinformation.

If you are saving lives every second everyday, then you better monitor what is being said abut you. If you want to gain your customers’ trust, then you better know what they are saying about you and make media intelligence central to your business

  • Leverage data to inform strategy
  • Monitor the competition
  • Protect your brand

Before you get started…

  • Know what and whom you be should be monitoring
  • Know who you should be following
  • Know what is preventing you from achieving your objectives

NOW LET’S START THE CONVERSATION!

DANIEL CHERRIN is the founder and CEO of North Coast Strategies, a public relations + affairs firm.  Through advocacy, collaboration and strategic relationships, Daniel has built a successful career, as an attorney, lobbyist and public relations professional. This includes serving as the Communications Director for the City of Detroit and Press Secretary to the Mayor of Detroit, federal lobbyist for the Detroit Regional Chamber and the owner of an independent public affairs consultancy. Through strategic communications, strategic relationships and something valuable to share, Daniel works to protect and enhance the reputation of organizations and people in the public eye. You can follow Daniel at www.northcoaststrategies.com and @DanCherrin on Twitter.

 

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Navigating the Social Media Maze

Factors to consider for channel selection

By Kevin Ketels
President
Kyrris Marketing

This post is part of the Digital Marketing Boot Camp series, a new set of blog posts across different mediums designed to provide intel to people and companies looking to improve their digital marketing strategy.

My 12-year-old son does not watch broadcast television. He has several favorite YouTube channels and interacts with the world through Instagram. If your company wants to remain relevant to the U.S. consumer in our evolving media landscape, you need a plan for social media.

Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching your customers, and its usage is growing exponentially. The percentage of individuals in the U.S. with a social media profile grew from 24 percent in 2008 to 78 percent in 2016 (Statista). Despite concerns about the reliability of news shared via social media, more than 62 percent of U.S. adults reported social media as a source of information (Pew Research). For better or worse, we are increasingly interacting with others and experiencing our lives through the lens of social media. For the current generation of children, it will be second nature.

As more users jump onto this fast-moving digital bandwagon, it is no surprise that many new social media channels have become available. Figuring out which channels to engage can be overwhelming.

Factors to consider when evaluating social media

With so many options, many marketing managers are asking how they should prioritize. They need to consider which channels are the best match for their target audience, product messaging, social media capabilities and capacity. Not all channels are equal, and different channels may be more or less appropriate for a particular business or message.


MORE: Hear more about social media marketing resources and tools at the Digital Marketing Boot Camp, Feb. 15.


Below are some things to consider when deciding which social media channels are the best fit for your company. Also, check out this Social Media Overview for a description and demographic characteristics from a sample of the most popular channels.

  • Number of users: Generally, you want to get the most bang for your buck. How many active users does each social media channel have? Facebook is the largest, by far. Higher numbers are better, but don’t disregard a less popular social media option that may be closely matched with your target audience. Also, is that active user number trending up or down?
  • Channel content: What type of content is shared on each channel? Personal, news, entertainment, art or business? Make sure the content and tone of messaging on the selected channel is compatible with your brand.
  • Channel format: In what format is the content shared? This can be text, pictures, video, etc. Some marketing messages are better delivered in specific formats.
  • Demographics: What categories of people use each social media channel? Consider gender, race, education, income, etc. Match this up to your target audience to find the most compatible social media option.
  • Time: Most importantly, how much time does your organization have to manage your social media channels? Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Social media marketing is much more than throwing something up on Facebook or Twitter once in a awhile. It requires strategy, planning, content creation and execution. If you don’t have enough dedicated resources internally, limit the number of social media channels you support or seek outside help. A poorly maintained social media presence, or a company that is nonresponsive when contacted via social media, can give a negative impression of your brand.

Social media isn’t the answer to all your marketing challenges. It should be one of the significant tools in your arsenal that helps establish relationships with your target audience.

Kevin Ketels is president of Kyrris Marketing and an adjunct professor of marketing in the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.  

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