How to Publish for Profit – on Social Media

Social Media spreads content like wildfire.

Promoting relevant and interesting posts to your pages, followers and communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can generate significant affiliate revenue, especially if these posts go viral.

Once you’ve mastered social media and set up a regular posting schedule you’ll be well on your way to building a regular income stream from fans, followers and friends.

 

Facebook

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Log on to your Facebook account and visit your home page. Once you are logged in and on your home page, move down to the window block where you can create a post. Write a short description with a Call to Action.

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The growth of social TV viewing

Last week we spoke about how Twitter was filing for an IPO and the resultant innovation that is coming out of this is fascinating.

In essence the idea of TV as the “first screen” and other devices as the “second” or “third” screens is dead. Today, the first screen is whichever one a consumer is looking at. Twitter has turned out to be a digital water cooler with thousands of people around the country simultaneously engaging in real-time conversations on Twitter about favorite television shows or sporting events as they unfold.

In the US cable giant Comcast, parent of programming giant NBCUniversal, has struck a deal with Twitter that will make it easy for users of the social network platform to access TV shows directly from the site. The new feature, called “see it,” will allow Comcast subscribers to get to NBCUniversal content via Twitter. Comcast also said it would work with other distribution companies interested in using the service.

The company has developed a new feature, which it calls “See It,” that is designed to funnel its Comcast customers who use Twitter to the show with a click of a button.

The chart below shows that a majority of social media users, tablet owners and smartphone users have used social networks while watching television.majority of social media users

A significant portion of these users were specifically using social media to talk about the content they were viewing on television. Research of other surveys conducted in 2013 indicated that 15% to 17% of TV viewers engaged in real-time socializing about the television shows they were watching.

Facebook is further behind, but the company is expanding the use of hashtags and other features to show users how much real-time conversation is taking place on the service. It is also rolling out two APIs that will allow media outlets and ad technology companies to analyze and report on real-time activity. Facebook believes it can offer TV advertisers a one-two punch of enormous reach and deep targeting.

Whether Facebook or Twitter win the battle is debatable but what we can say that second screen is the way of the future and it’s time for marketers to start capitalising on this.


Unsurprisingly social media spending increases

Certain things in life are fairly inevitable: death, taxes and that advertisers are spending more money on social media adverts. It’s simple, users are using social networks and it’s an easy way to get your product in their face. So inevitably social media spending on ads are rising.

A recent STRATA research report shows that most advertisers are using Facebook to connect with their customers and potential customers. YouTube and Twitter came in next, at 55% and 53%, respectively. An additional 35% 0f respondents said they were likely to use LinkedIn for social campaigns, and 25% each cited Google+ and Pinterest.

While brands have a choice between using free social products and paid placements on the networks, more than twice as many respondents (25%) saw paid social media as offering greater return on investment (ROI) than free social media (11%). Still, it’s important to bear in mind, 19% said they saw no ROI from social media.

Does more social media spending mean more opportunities for affiliates?

Brand promotions led as the most common type of ad placed on Facebook, used by 62% of respondents, twenty percentage points ahead of company announcements, which came in second. Just over one-third of respondents said they used social ads announcing services, and nearly as many said they ran social ads on products.

In total, paid ads still aren’t overtaking ad budgets, but they are beginning to make a dent in the total. While 58% said social media accounted for 5% or less or clients’ ad budgets, another 42% spent between 6% and 25% of ad budgets on social. No respondents spent more than one-quarter of ad budgets on paid social posts.

The critical issue to consider here isn’t that social media budgets are expanding, this is fairly obvious. What we need to consider is that marketers shouldn’t use social media in isolation. There are many businesses trying their hand at social media marketing and it is increasing every day. This covers lead generation efforts to subscriptions and everything in between. As social media spending is still a growing industry there are still loads of opportunities for the savvy internet marketer.

The trick is to split your budgets along multiple mediums such as the OfferForge ad network as well as CPC, CPM and CPA style campaigns. You’ll easily get the hang of which medium works best for you.

Contact us today to get the best advice on how to segment and budget your digital marketing campaigns.


Do you outsource your digital marketing?

Digital Marketing Outsourcing: do you outsource PPC, social and display?

Many companies have an issue whether to outsource their digital marketing or keep the skills in-house although a recent study from Adobe shows that PPC and social are moving in-house.

However this isn’t the case for display advertising which is usually outsourced. Only a third of businesses (32%) manage their display advertising exclusively in-house, compared to 44% for paid search and 52% for social. The report found that display is the most likely to be managed exclusively by an agency with social the least likely to be outsourced.

The reason for this is fairly simple: media buying is becoming more and more integrated so needs to be considered as part of a holistic approach to marketing. Display advertising is often bought by media buyers as part of the TV, radio and print approach in order to support those traditional outlets.

There are also significant issues as to why companies are outsourcing to agencies; the primary being resources and insufficient data.

adobe's digital marketing intelligence briefing

While sometimes unavoidable for practical reasons, disparate ownership of media can present obvious problems in trying to adopt a unified approach and gaining a single view of campaign performance, especially when there is a lack of communication between different departments and teams.

It is clear that companies need to overcome the technological and people-related challenges born out of fragmented media buying, both through integrated technology platforms and shared business metrics.

You can purchase the report here.


Are you obsessed with Facebook likes?

An obsession with Facebook likes isn’t healthy

We recently spent some time with a large client discussing social media strategy and noticed how there is still a massive focus on the amount of total Facebook likes of their page.

Of course it’s important to have a high level of likes and Twitter followers but this tends to lead to a massive issue with click fraud and the buying of followers. We’re seeing the growth of “click farms”:

  1. Brand engages social media agency (although no self-respecting social media I know would do this) which promises to craft a social media campaign that will rocket the brand’s social fan base.
  2. Social media agency decides that the most profitable way to do this work is to pay a click farm to provide fake likes.
  3. The click farm employs technological solutions, and people (who really need the money) to create thousands of fake profiles and generate even more fake likes, views and even comments.

As you can see it’s often companies posing as legitimate agencies that are guilty of such dubious behaviour. However, these sort of agencies only thrive in a landscape where a company is desperate for likes.

Other metrics on a Facebook page are vastly more useful than pure Facebook likes. For example you can see your contents reach and engagement easily. This information is vastly more useful in understanding your customers than an endorsement from a fake account in Lahore.

The big problem is that many brands still measure their success on social media by the number of likes or followers they have. Not by engagement, shares, and ultimately sales (none of which a fake click is going to get you). And while brands measure by likes, agencies will be tempted to buy them. Instead of buying fans, here are some tips to grow your base organically:

  1. Encourage people to take the first step. Give people a reason to ‘like’ your page, or view your video. Maybe there’s a competition, or a promise of exclusive content. Perhaps the selling point is being a member of an elite community.
  2. Encourage them to hang around and engage. Don’t limit exclusive offers to new fans. It’s not enough for someone to simple ‘like’ a page; they need to want to keep going back.
  3. Create compelling content. It sounds so obvious but really focusing on appropriate brand content works, whether it’s witty, visually appealing or just brightens someone’s day – sticky content works.
  4. Provide a strong set of community guidelines, or house rules, for fans to follow and enforce them. Moderate content to provide the safest and most welcoming environment you can. People won’t comment on a page if they think they’ll be laying themselves open to abuse or ridicule or if it’s peppered with spam.
  5. Use a community manager who’s already a brand advocate. If it’s a game brand, it helps if the person running the page knows the culture, and understands what people mean when they say they’re having trouble collecting enough Bells to pay off Tom Nook.
  6. Be ethical. It’s one thing to ask fans to behave in a respectful manner, but if they discovered that your brand had brought thousands of ‘likes’, if they started to wonder if the Harry Smith they were responding to was a real fan, or a fake, why would they have any reason to trust the brand?

Keep it real, listen to your customers and use social media to grow your business.

You will see far greater value when you look at the interaction rates you get from your customers. The Facebook likes can be as deceiving as high visitor numbers to a site. It is flattering, but not always an indicator of digital marketing success. By getting interaction from your customers (comments and shares) you are far more likely to enhance your brand’s reputation. This is also the stepping stone to generating leads or sales from your social media efforts.


Online shopping and Generation Y

As Generation Y (the roughly 18-35 year old market) continues to grow and become more active in the workplace it’s important to discuss how web trends need to change to engage this generation. We know millennials are online more than anyone else. We also know that this is a group of people completely connected via social media and are completely captivated by their peer reviews. We’ve looked at how best to appeal to the senior, baby boomer market online and today we’re looking at tricks for e-commerce portals to entice the younger generations.

A January 2013 survey from ad agency DDB Worldwide of US web users’ attitudes toward ecommerce found that both males and females ages 18 to 34 were more likely than their 35- to 64-year-old counterparts to engage in nearly every online shopping activity, with 40% of males and 33% of females in the younger age group reporting that ideally they would buy everything online.

The interesting stat is that these shoppers aren’t trawling your online store to buy. 45% Of respondents to the survey say they spend an hour or more “window shopping”. It seems men are taking homeopathic hgh to online shopping faster than women: Men were more likely to say they spent more than 2 hours daily on retail sites, cited by 20%, compared with 13% of women who spent as much time per day online shopping.

Twenty-three percent of millennials said they liked to purchase cosmetics and personal care items online and 27% reported preferring buying shoes online. And whether or not respondents bought shoes online, more than half said they liked to consult the internet at some point in the purchase path.

Unsurprisingly discounts prove to be a major appeal. Over 60% of respondents mentioned using auction sites and around 50% follow their favourite brand on Facebook in order to keep up to date with sales and specials. Services such as comparison shopping sites are also massive and will continue to play an important part in researching pricing. It’s surprising that we’re not seeing vertical integration in online businesses but it’s surely a matter of time.

Generation Y are online, they’re using their phones to research a product. If you’re not using social media and price comparison sites to target them, you might be dead in the water.


25% of the worlds population are using social media

If you ever needed further convincing that social media is a great place to advertise then bear this in mind: over 25% of the world are now on some form of social media.

According to a report by eMarketer the number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion this year, an 18% increase. By 2017, the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion.

The major growth comes from the Asia-Pacific and Africa region. The Asia-Pacific region will make make up the biggest amount of social network users by 2017, followed by the combined Middle East/Africa market. Major population areas such as China and and India make up a large bulk of social networking users:

social network users worldwide by region

Next year, the Middle East and Africa will surpass Latin America in share to become the region with the second-largest social network audience, while Central and Eastern Europe’s share will exceed that of North America for the first time. The ranking of social network users by region will largely reflect the regional shares of the global population by 2014. This was an inevitable development, as social network usage has moved from taking place primarily in advanced markets to being a common activity for people around the world.

social network user penetration worldwide

The growth isn’t going to slow down, by 2016 over 75% of the world will be on social media. Can you afford to ignore it anymore?

Can social media work for affiliate marketing?

Social media is an exceptionally good channel to use for affiliate marketing. The challenge is growing your social media presence. With the amount of time consumers spend on social media it is the ideal place to talk to them.

Whether your affiliate marketing is aimed to drive sales or do lead generation, there are ways to achieve both.

The overwhelming evidence is there to indicate that time spent on social media will definitely be worth your digital marketing efforts. It is always important to go where your customers are. Consumers are just getting overloaded with marketing messages and it is often difficult to compete. With more and more time being spent on social media, shouldn’t you be there as well?


How to ensure social media shares

It’s a classic question: “How do we get this content to go viral?”. Using social media is a classic “go-to” answer for this question. It’s easy to try seed something out via social media but how do you actually get social media shares rolling? We found a great infographic on the topic of getting more shares via social networks and Twitter. Who would have thought that saying “Please ReTweet” rather than “Please RT” would be more effective:

infogs on social media shares


The state of social media marketing

It’s been about five years since self proclaimed “social media marketers” burst onto the scene and since then social media has become big business for these consultants and big agencies. Social media has become mainstream and so has social media marketing. It’s not just about branding as 52% of marketers have found a customer through Facebook, 43% through LinkedIn, and 36% through Twitter? Furthermore, roughly 46% of online consumers count on social media when making a purchase. Social media is a real lead generation tool in your marketing arsenal:

state of social media marketing infographic


OfferForge interview John Beale of Cerebra

As part of our series on interviewing digital luminaries in South Africa we speak to John Beale from Cerebra The Best Social Media Marketer Of The Year at last years Bookmark Award. John speaks to us today about how ad networks and paid advertising link to social media and how everything interacts.